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chocolate peanut butter brownie cups

Sometimes recipes don’t turn out the way you expect. Our original plan was to have a red velvet cake ready to post today, but it turned out to be somewhat of a disaster. We tried replacing the artificial red food dye with puréed beets, but the result was a soggy, tasteless mess. While we continue searching for other natural alternatives, we have decided to instead share one of our all-time favorite desserts: a rich, gooey, chocolatey treat that is decadently delicious, with no beets in sight. Allow us to introduce you to chocolate peanut butter brownie cups.

These heavenly bite-size chocolate brownies are easy and fun to make. The secret technique here is to use a cupcake pan, which gives them more crispy-chewy edges than a traditional square brownie. The fudgy chocolate chip-filled batter puffs up as it cooks, leaving a small crater in the middle of each one, which is then filled with warm, melted peanut butter that oozes into every nook and cranny, before being topped with semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips that slowly melt into the creamy center.

This simple recipe uses just one bowl and ten ingredients, all of which are kitchen staples: flour, sugar, an egg, a little butter, vanilla, baking soda, peanut butter, and two kinds of chocolate chips. The semi-sweet are intensely rich while the milk chocolate adds a sweet creaminess. This is an easy dessert to serve since the brownies are the perfect portion size with no cutting required. These luxurious baked treats are best hot and fresh from the oven, irresistibly melty and gooey. With a crunchy top and creamy center, these moist and chewy brownies are pure peanut butter chocolate perfection.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cups
makes 12

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
1 1/3 cups (8.5 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup (6.5 ounces) milk chocolate chips, divided
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cupcake pan, and set aside. In a medium heatproof mixing bowl, combine the sugar, unsalted butter, and water, then place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir until the butter has melted, then add 3/4 cup (4.5 ounces) of semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate melts. Remove bowl from the pan of water, and allow to cool to room temperature. Once the mixture is cool enough, add the egg and vanilla, and stir well to combine. Then add the flour and baking soda, stirring just until blended. Then fold in 3/4 cup of the milk chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the semi-sweet chips, stirring gently to combine.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 prepared cupcake cups, and bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the tops are set and a toothpick inserted in the center of a brownie comes out slightly wet. Remove the pan from the oven, and wait for the centers of the brownies to fall, which happens as they cool. If they do not settle on their own, you can use the back of a spoon to tap a small hole in each one.

Place the peanut butter in a small bowl, and heat it gently until it has a pourable consistency (you can do this in about 45 seconds in the microwave, or in a small pan on the stove if you prefer). If you are using an all-natural peanut butter, feel free to stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar if desired for a sweeter filling.

While the brownies are still hot, spoon about a tablespoon of warm peanut butter into the hole on top of each brownie. In a small bowl, combine the remaining milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips (1/3 cup of each), then sprinkle the mixed chips over the warm peanut butter, dividing the chips evenly between the 12 brownies. Serve warm, and enjoy!