Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookie Brownies
Imagine a cookie. Okay, now imagine a brownie. Which one do you want? If you answered one of each, then this recipe is for you.
In high school, when my sister Kate and I baked a lot, the cookie-brownie debate extended beyond what we felt like eating. It was more about what we were in the mood to bake. Cookies promised a little more of an activity–you had to cream the butter, choose the mix-ins, and roll ball after heaping-tablespoon-sized ball to place on cookie sheets. They baked quickly, however, and didn’t require much rest time in between baking and downing that first bite. Brownies came together miraculously quickly but baked for longer, and, technically at least, needed to cool some before becoming sliceable into neat squares. Back then, I wish we’d thought of this hybrid: if you’d like to make both cookie and brownie, this chocolate & peanut butter recipe is for you as well.
The chocolate chip cookie is the classic recipe, rich in brown sugar and chocolate chips. Instead of making cookies, you press all the dough into a pan and par-bake. This is the first layer.
The second layer, the brownies, almost acts like an icing–a peanut butter-studded icing. I poured rich, creamy REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips right into the brownie batter. The chips, to me, look like the yin to the cookie layer’s chocolate chip yang.
Before I give you the recipe–which was a huge hit with peanut butter lovers, chocolate lovers, cookie lovers, and bar cookie lovers–I wanted to share a note about Hershey and the company’s support of Dr. Mark Manary’s Project Peanut Butter. In Ghana, which maintains big peanut and cocoa production, malnutrition persists among children. Project Peanut Butter’s goal, therefore, is to distribute packets of nutrient-packed Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods. The core ingredient in the packets is the peanut; they also contain the vitamins needed to help kids survive malnourishment. Founded in Malawi in 2004, the project has been recognized by the United Nations, World Health Organization, and World Food Program as the standard of in-home care for malnutrition.
Then, in 2012, with funding from The Hershey Company, Project Peanut Butter announced an expansion into Ghana, where not only did it plan to distribute the remedies but to source the peanuts and produce the packets too. Over the summer, PPB’s Ghana team began test runs of the local factory they’d built along with Hershey’s manufacturing expertise, and hopes to feed two-thirds of Ghana’s hungry kids. You can get updates about the Ghana project here.
Thanks for reading!
This post is sponsored by The Hershey Company. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep Big Girls, Small Kitchen delicious!
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookie Brownies
Makes 80 small squares or 24 larger ones
For the cookie layer
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour–poured in
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
For the brownie layer
2 ounces HERSHEY’S Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Make the cookies: Mix sugars and butter in a large bowl. With a mixer, hand-held beater, or very strong arm, beat until creamy. Then beat in the egg until the batter is fluffy and light.
Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
Press dough into a parchment-lined 9-by-13-inch baking pan with high sides, making it a little higher around the edges.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until just golden and set but not thoroughly cooked. Cool for 5-10 minutes on the cookie sheet before adding the brownie batter to the top.
As the cookie layer bakes, make the brownie batter:
Melt the chocolate with the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars. Stir in the eggs and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add the flour, salt, and peanut butter chips, and stir until smooth. Pour into the pan on top of the cookies.
Lower the heat to 325°F and return the pan to the oven for 22 to 25 minutes, until the top is crackly and the brownies are set but not dry. Cool slightly, then put the whole pan in the fridge for several hours, or overnight. For small squares, cut 7 lengths the short way and 9 the long way; for large squares, make 3 cuts on the short side and 5 on the long side.