Just the other day I believe I was complaining about brownies. Gluten-free brownies specifically. They are here, they are there, they are EVERYWHERE! It is true that almost every chain restaurant in the land with a ‘gluten-free menu’, (for which you may mostly read, “we’ve identified the things on our regular menu that don’t have gluten in them anyway”), will also have a flourless brownie as well. My local farmer’s market will sell me a flourless brownie as well as every farm shop I’ve ever been to. It is the easiest option by far, as we all know the vagaries of gluten-free baking! On the one hand I balk at being charged the same for a ‘skinny’ burger (no bun) to make it gluten-free because I actually want a bun! I suppose I could take my own and just slap that burger in there at the table, bumping up the cost a bit more. But I am grateful really that I can eat out at all. I tried my local pizza chain the other day with their new gluten-free options. They were ok and the brownie for dessert was perfectly passable. I saw them get it out of the fridge seconds before they served it, so it was a bit chilly. Mostly I’m just really, really happy they didn’t glutenate me! But I don’t really tire of brownies per se, it’s just I like a bit of variety. I’m trying to work out how to get a lactose-free cheesecake topping on one, but in the meantime here is a peanut butter version. Much as you may have noticed I’m all about coconut at the moment, peanut butter is my first love. And when combined with a brownie you get that delicious sweet ‘n’ salty thing going on. The original brownie recipe that went with the peanut butter bit wasn’t gf and had been described in the comments as being too cakey. When I make this version the peanut butter sinks and makes a layer. This is fine by me and is probably because the flourless brownie won’t support the weight of the peanut butter bit. It’s worth trying to swirl it though, as you do get peanut buttery bits on the top as this sets quite quickly in the oven. It is worth waiting until the brownie is properly cold before eating it as the peanut butter is more solid at room temperature, so when warm this brownie is a little oily on the bottom. But they do smell really very good warm, so good luck with that!
Peanut butter layer brownies
Prep time 15 minutes Cook time 35-45 minutes Makes 16 servings
Line an 8″ square cake tin, or equivalent size brownie pan, with parchment paper leaving ‘tails’ at either end to help lift out the finished cake. Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan-assisted
- 100g unsalted butter, softened + 58g unsalted butter, melted
- 200g caster sugar
- 50g dark chocolate, melted
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp + ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 75g ground almonds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ salt + pinch salt
- 60g icing sugar
- 188g smooth peanut butter
In a large bowl cream together the softened butter and the caster sugar, by hand, in a stand mixer or with a handheld whisk. Next mix in the lightly beaten eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract, followed by the ground almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt. In a separate bowl mix together the melted butter, icing sugar and peanut butter along with ½ tsp vanilla extract and ¼ tsp salt. Pour about half the brownie mix into the tin. Now drop dessert-spoons of the peanut butter topping onto the batter about 1″ apart. Fill in the gaps with more brownie mix. Create a second layer of the two with any leftover mix. Using a knife draw lines up and down the pan as though you were drawing a picture of a snake. Turn the pan 90º and draw the snake shape again, pushing the mixture gently to the edges of the pan and levelling it out somewhat. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes depending on how gooey you like your brownie. The shorter time for a more fudgey brownie and longer for more set, but cover the top with some parchment paper if it starts to catch. Leave in the tin to cool for about 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack until cold. Cut into squares and serve.