Recipes

peanut butter swirled brownies

I realize that you might have been expecting something green, rainbow-ed or four-leaf clover-ed or filled with beer, cabbage and potatoes today. But sometimes life presents bigger exigencies, needs that must be addressed tout de suite, wrongs that cannot wait for the ideal slot on the calendar to be righted. What I mean is: I really wanted a chocolate and peanut butter brownie the other day and realized I’ve never, in 10-plus years of showing up here a couple times a week, made time for these. This is reprehensible.


brownie batter
peanut butter batter

I found a version I’d worked on a few years ago in the mines of my disorganized laptop. I’ve always thought that peanut butter is perfect complement for cream cheese; the sharp creamy flavor brings out everything that often puts peanut butter to sleep in other recipes. But I hadn’t noted why the recipe had underwhelmed me, only remembered that it had so I had to — woe is me — make them again. They weren’t right; the peanut butter was too muted. So, I made them again sans cream cheese and they were better, but there were marbling issues. And then, fully drowning in chocolate peanut butter brownies but unable to quit now, I made them one last time and now I need you to come over and take these away. No human being should have to face down dozens of sea salt-flecked crisp-edged, fudgy-centered peanut butter swirled brownies every time they open the refrigerator — these are amazing cold, by the way, just do it — to get a grapefruit or avocado or apple, any of the other foods I used to sustain myself with before this week began.

dolloping
swirling

You will, however, have to get through my husband and kids first. They did not consent to sharing them.

peanut butter swirled brownies
peanut butter swirled brownies

Previously

One year ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
Two years ago: Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie
Three years ago: Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Four years ago: Coconut Bread
Five years ago: Carrot Cake Pancakes
Six years ago: Sally Lunn Bread
Seven years ago: Breakfast Pizza and Irish Soda Bread Scones
Eight years ago: Layer Cake Tips and The Biggest Birthday Cake Yet
Nine years ago: Almond Biscotti and Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza
Ten! years ago: Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Chocolate Pavlova and Homemade Merguez with Herby Yogurt
1.5 Years Ago: Zucchini Rice and Cheese Gratin
2.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower Slaw
3.5 Years Ago: Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake
4.5 Years Ago: Roasted Apple Spice Sheet Cake

Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Print

I always bake with a smooth commercial brand of peanut butter but I don’t see why this recipe wouldn’t work with more natural ones; you might find you want a bit more salt.

I realize that the sugar level seems high here but promise it won’t taste excessively so. Unsweetened chocolate requires a lot more sugar than sweetened would, and the peanut butter volume here is substantial enough that it needs to be sweetened as well. Don’t forget the salt, however; it brings out the flavor of the peanuts and adds a great accent to the whole pan.


    Peanut Butter Batter
  • 3/4 cup (190 grams) smooth peanut butter
  • 2/3 (135 grams) cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extra
  • A few pinches of flaky or coarse sea salt
  • Brownie Batter
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky or heaped 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour
  • To finish
  • 1/4 cup (40 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips

Heat oven: To 350°F (175°C).

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment and coat the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray or butter.

Make peanut butter batter: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

Make brownie batter: In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.

Assemble brownies: Spread a thin layer of brownie batter (about 1/3 of total batter, but no need to be exact) in bottom of prepared baking pan. Dollop peanut butter batter all over in big spoonfuls. Dollop remaining brownie batter in pan, aiming, if you can, between the peanut butter dollops. Use a butter knife to swirl the batters together in loose figure-8s. Sprinkle chips all over.

Bake: For 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free.

To keep: Brownies keep well at room temperature, in the fridge or freezer.


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202 comments on peanut butter swirled brownies

      1. Kim

        I made them yesterday replacing the butter 1:1 with coconut oil, and they turned out beautifully! I baked them for 28 min rather than 30-35 (for reference, I live at sea level – I know altitude can affect baking temps). Also, I chilled them in the freezer afterwards for cutting. For baked goods containing coconut oil, they can feel runnier/softer when hot, and then become incredibly hard when frozen — but are perfectly normal when slightly chilled or at room temp. Hope that helps!

    1. Aimee Wynhausen

      An easy way to deal with peanut butter, instead of mucking up a bunch of spoons and cups and spatulas, is to put the bowl you are putting the peanut butter in and put it in a scale that you can tare. Simply spoon the amount of peanut butter you need by weight directly into the bowl (which is on the scale) and when you hit the magic number you are done. And have a spoon to lick :)

  1. Meg

    These look awesome! I made your cocoa brownies the other day (my go-to for a treat when I don’t have anything in the house but the basics) and swirled in tahini- it was great but I wanted more tahini and I think it would have messed up the consistency of the brownies to add too much. I guess I’ll have to experiment. . . :)

    1. Colleen

      Ottolenghi has a fantastic tahini and halva brownie recipe. I think it was in his Guardian column. So rich, so delicious, and not too sweet.

  2. Pam

    I finally made the gluten-free peanut butter cookies that I had been hearing about, which are only peanut butter, sugar, and egg, and was crossing fingers you had come up with a peanut butter batter that was similar, because the peanut flavor shines better without other stuff. And you did.

  3. Deb. You’re cracking me up! This happened to me when I was figuring out dulce de leche, 4 cheese macaroni and cheese, and most recently YOUR broccoli (and various riffs on broccoli) pizzas! To make matters worse, my husband is a vegan which has me eating way more of my test recipes than any one person should. These look amazing! Way to take one (or 2 batches) for the team. Happy St. Peanut butter Patty’s Day.

    1. Lex

      It’s St. Paddy’s not St. Patty’s! Oh, and Deb, a shamrock has only 3 leaves. It is not the same as a 4 leaf clover. ;-)

  4. brimirecki

    I was so confused by this post because I could have sworn you already had a peanut butter brownie recipe on your site. Then I realized that I’ve been adapting the pumpkin brownie recipe for so long I just assumed it was official! Excited to try this one though as I could never get the texture just right when using the other one. Thanks!

      1. deb

        I’ve always thought of those as blondies, to the point that I just realized they’re called “brownies” (!) and they’re delicious but can run a little dry (why the ganache is nonnegotiable). These are more like chocolate brownies with a lot of pb swirled in.

  5. Kim

    These look marvelous, Deb! Brief typo note, in the second paragraph of the head notes, you say “Unsweetened chocolate requires more a lot sugar…”

    1. deb

      I’d say either. Tahini might have more flavor coming through. Does anyone like sunflower seed butter? I think that’s my favorite peanut-free option.

        1. Tracy

          Word to the wise – sunbutter is a great pb replacement in many applications, but it turns green when you cook with it! The reason behind the color change is on the sunbutter website, as are recipies that won’t turn green

        2. Raluca

          I make my own. I dry roast raw sunflower seeds and run them in my food processor’s mini chopper while still warm. It takes a few good minutes and you might need to scrape down a few times and make sure the machine doesn’t overheat, but that’s all it takes to get fresh, 100% sunflower seed butter. It’ll smell so good you’ll never want to let the pot go for as long as there is butter left in it.

      1. Raluca

        I adore sunflower seed butter! Many people say sunflower seed butter tastes savoury to them, but even in their case it should work in this recipe, where salt is essential.

  6. Jennifer

    I want to keep these in the freezer, and sneak a (small, if I can manage) piece every night right before bed. Not sure I have that much self-control!

  7. Catherine

    These look amazing- I can’t wait to try them! Is it possible to use cocoa powder instead of the melted chocolate? Thanks so much!

      1. ouryearinindia

        You can sub in cocoa powder, but you have to add fat. Betty Crocker says 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate = 3 Tablespoons cocoa + 1 Tablespoon butter. I typically just add the cocoa to the dry ingredients and the butter to the fat already called for in the recipe. Hasn’t failed me yet!

      2. deb

        You might then start with these cocoa brownies. I find that brownie batter (good brownie batter, at least) likes to firm up quickly in the bowl, so I have us make the peanut butter here first so you use the chocolate batter right away. I’d do that with the cocoa brownie batter too.

        1. Harriet

          If you used the cocoa brownies recipe, would you make the full recipe, and still bake in an 8×8 pan? Or would you (a) scale down the recipe or (b) bake in a larger pan?

  8. Elean

    My goodness… here I sit, taking a break from doing my civic duty (sitting on a jury), and now I’m going to be thinking about making these when I get home.
    (Even though I already have plans to cake a birthday cake tonight for my boyfriend. Sadly, his traditional cake-the one grandma always made him- is lemon. Here is to celebrating Birthday Week instead of just one day. )

  9. Kristin

    Yum! I noticed you did another chocolate peanut butter recipe a year ago. ;) Any idea how much sugar you would use if you only have dark chocolate? Thanks!

  10. Bethany

    Can’t wait to make these! Do you use sweetened smooth (like good ‘ol Skippy’s) or unsweetened natural peanut butter?

    1. Bethany

      Ahhh and of course right after I press send I see your note on the recipe about using commercial peanut butter…. thanks!

      1. Evelyn

        With you on the Skippy. The best pb (imho) has rich roasted notes, and Skippy has it more than Jif and all of the natural ones I’ve tried.

      2. Sue Malone

        Team Jif here. BTW these were excellent with Jif extra crunchy. Even better the 2nd day! I used a Fiesta 8X8″ and it took about 15 minutes longer to bake than the recipe said. Maybe because of the thick ceramic?

  11. Ns

    The peanut butter batter ingredients say “1/4 teaspoon vanilla extra,” which sounds DELICIOUS and magical, but I think you mean vanilla extract! :)

  12. Jamie

    Well I had been successfully ignoring the tub of TJ’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups in my snack drawer today, but now I see that resistance is futile.

  13. Rachel

    I seriously saw the title of this post and teared up (tears of joy of course). My neighbors have already lined up to taste test tonight. How kind of them. Thanks for being awesome Deb.

  14. Amy Daryani

    Oooh… I see what you’ve done here… brownies that are swirled with, basically, the batter from the flourless peanut butter cookies. Brilliant! I might just be the only person alive who does not think peanut butter and cream cheese are good together, so this recipe makes me extremely happy!

    1. lp

      you weren’t the only one who noticed that!!! it’s one of my fav GF things to make for friends and I almost always have some dough got it in the freezer.

  15. Sarah

    I totally agree about cream cheese and peanut butter…which is why my favorite breakfast is plain Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of peanut butter…and a drop of honey :) can’t wait to make these brownies! Nothing I love more than peanut butter for breakfast and dessert!

  16. Teresa

    Strange question I’ll admit, but can I skip the chocolate chips on the top? I’m a purist and don’t like chips in my brownies.

  17. Wendy

    First fries, then this?! I live in a climate where people are already shopping for bathing suits! 😝 That said, I’m putting these ingredients on my grocery list stat.

  18. Curious

    DEB ! DEB DEB DEB DEB DEB ! You don’t have a ceviche recipe !!!!

    If you want to make one, there’s this cool nicaraguan guy that makes one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ictSgHfqaCM). Also should I suggest you to try out:
    – the tielle sΓ©toise: it’s a spicy tomato baby octopus pie
    – the shiro and doro wat: they’re ethiopian stews. Shiro is a chickpea stew with berbere and doro wat is a delicious rich chicken stew that you should have at an ethiopian restaurant
    – the yemeni grilled fish

  19. Sarah

    I just made these and my peanut batter was quite stiff and borderline crumbly. I think I measured everything correctly… I’m at high altitude (colorado) and it’s dry here so maybe that has something to do with it. They just went in the oven!

    1. Annabelle

      I just made this and found the peanut butter mixture quite stiff and crumbly too. Thought it was BC Australian pb is different. Ended up more spreading/mixing instead of swirling, but the end result is delicious nonetheless.

      1. Gab

        I’m in Aus but used American peanut butter (from Costco). Texture of the PB batter was very crumbly so I added an extra egg because I thought maybe the problem was that my eggs were regular rather than large size. We’ll see how it turns out!

        1. I also used Costco peanut butter (just peanuts + salt) and found the batter to be really crumbly and not all swirlable . I’m guessing this is a natural peanut butter issue–sometimes the bottom of the jar is thicker if the oil isn’t thoroughly mixed in.

          1. florapie

            I also used the Costco natural PB, and would definitely describe the mixture as crumbly, and I certainly couldn’t get them to swirl. It doesn’t matter. My ugly brownies are totally delicious, and I will definitely make these again!

            1. Kate

              I always use TJ’s roasted salted PB. When I bake with a recipe that’s designed for “conventional”PB, I add melt in a slight tablespoon of coconut oil to loosen it up a little and help it act like the emulsified kind.

      2. Olivia

        Yep, ditto on the stiff, crumbly peanut butter mixture, and since my natural peanut butter didn’t have salt in it the flavor was funky. I tried adding more but just couldn’t get the flavor I was hoping for. I think the commercial pb is the only way to go on this recipe–I didn’t notice that note until it was too late.

    2. J

      I used Skippy, and my PB dough was pretty thick too. Definitely turned out delicious & fudgy, but not perfectly swirled! Maybe it’s just my swirling technique though.

    3. Karen

      Same here. I used Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy Salted, plus a little Jif when I ran out of the natural. I couldn’t really swirl the brownies, they ended up mooshed looking.

      Also, I found these never got to the point where no batter remained on the toothpick; I ended up taking them out after 40 (!) minutes, and the edges were more done than I like, but the inside was still a little gooey. Could be my oven, it runs a little colder, I think.

      These were tasty but I don’t think I’ll be making them again; I forgot in my excitement that about 1/3 of our family is not keen on peanut butter in general. My five year old accused me, in a stern tone, of “putting peanuts in brownies,” and asked for chocolate chip cookies. I liked them well enough, but family consensus is the Best Cocoa Brownies are still the way to go.

      1. Miyo

        I had the same issue with the bake time, it took til almost 50 minutes to be batter free! My swirl was nice and my friends loved them but I prefer deb’s spiced brownies. These were far prettier tho.

    4. Talia

      I’m also in colorado and had the same problem with the PB batter. Also, my brownies never firmed up in the oven. I kept adding five minutes more and five more and I think I might have kept them in the oven too long as eventually I ended up with a big oily gooey mass. I literally had a bubbling layer of PB oil on the top of the pan. I let them cool, but no luck. They went in the compost. :( Brownies at altitude have been a challenge since I moved out here! More experimenting!

    5. Becky

      I made these today and had the same problem! I used Skippy. I tried to microwave the peanut butter batter to loosen it up a bit but it didn’t really help. I was wondering about an extra egg (ours in Scotland run a bit smaller than back home in USA) or maybe some water. Even though it was more like chunks of PB, the brownies are still delicious! A tad salty though with Maldon salt so I’ll lower that a wee bit next time. And there will be a next time…

    6. Dana

      Hi,

      I make a peanut butter swirl brownie, but my peanut butter layer is one cup of Skippy and one can of sweetened condensed milk, warmed up in the microwave for about one minute. Works really well. :)

    7. Kristen

      I used Skippy, and am in NYC (not high altitude). Mine was also crumbly and dry. I’ve also noticed that the “large” eggs I recently bought are a little on the big side, if that makes any diff. The recipe as a whole didn’t really work for me.

  20. Janessa

    These look amazing! My baby has a dairy protein allergy and I’m wondering how to adapt these to be dairy-free. Do you think shortening would work? Coconut oil? Thanks in advance!

    1. Jen

      Janessa, my (now 20 year old) son also has a dairy protein allergy. Over the years I have found Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks to be the best substitute in baking for butter. Coconut oil is good for some things but for baking, I rely on the Earth Balance sticks. Hope this helps.

      1. Janessa

        Thank you Jen! I think he also has a soy allergy and it’s hard to find the soy free sticks, but this is a good reason to try :)

  21. Sabrina

    What a coincidence! I got a hankering for peanut butter brownies today and did a google search. I recognized the blog “smitten kitchen” … it wasn’t until after I checked out your recipe that I noticed that you posted this today!!! I am GF, so I used teff flour and i did not have unsweetened chocolate, only bittersweet, so i cut down on the sugar. My peanut butter is probably more natural than yours because it didn’t really make dollops. After all that … these were quite incredible. Also, for whatever reason, i got just a hint of that chewy brownie texture that is illusive with GF brownies. So thanks for the recipe and for the awesome, trustworthy blog!

    1. Ashley A

      Deb’s “best cocoa brownies” recipe only calls for a 1/2 cup of flour. I have made it several times with cup4cup and they turn out very close to the original. My gf friend loved them!

  22. Kris

    In case anyone else is feeling lazy or looking for an easy dairy-free/gluten-free modification: I made this PB batter and swirled it into a store-bought gf brownie mix (Trader Joes) as I didn’t feel like risking a failed recipe tonight. Delicious! (…though less peanut-buttery than I was imagining; could that be my modification?) I also cut PB batter sugar down to 1/2c.

  23. Eve

    Followup question on the smooth commercial peanut butter– those usually contain a lot of sugar as well. Does yours? Maybe with natural peanut butter (which I normally buy) one should add extra sugar too? Re: salt, some natural peanut butter is salted and some isn’t, so check the label.

  24. Merel

    My daughter turns 2 tomorrow and loves both chocolate and peanut butter. She has helped me and after I put her to sleep I secretly tested it 😍😍 Thanks to her the marble-effect is sort of diminished, but the taste and texture is so good!

  25. Johanne Rosenthal

    Let’s just say I was not in the mood for something green yesterday. This is just the thing I craved. Thank you -Hanne

  26. Donna

    Mine are in the oven now, and I had the same issue as some others – my peanut butter was more crumbly and grainy and did not integrate as smoothly as yours in the photograph. So, it did not have the beautiful swirls as yours. Any suggestions? (I’m sure they are delicious despite this aesthetic). Thanks!

  27. Sue

    Oh boy. I have been addicted to the blondies and made two doubled batches in 73 hours. They disappeared. Now, I have to try these.

  28. rebwey

    Recipe commenters tend toward the superlative but…best brownie ever.

    I have a crowd of teenagers to feed tomorrow so I doubled the recipe and put it in a 9×13 pan. Worked a treat with no baking time adjustment. I used natural peanut butter, including some of the dry stuff from the bottom of the jar. My pb batter was stiffer than yours looked to be and resisted swirling. I wound up with more of chocolate/peanut butter Holstein look. :)

  29. Linea

    Made these today and they didn’t really turn out for me :(. I think a stick of butter is too much, the chocolate batter was very greasy and would never really set up. So sad!

  30. Char

    Was very excited about these bc a) I’m pregnant and b) they’re basically a mash-up of my favorite brownie recipe (Molly Wiezenberg’s), and my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe (3 ingredient). Used natural peanut butter and, like others, found the peanut batter fairly crumbly, though this is exactly what it’s like when I make cookies regardless of whether I use natural or conventional peanut butter. Made it pretty impossible to swirl, but plopping random chunks into the brownie batter here and there basically accomplished the same thing (maybe slightly less marbled). I have heard Jiff brand is the best for baking so maybe it would make it more swirlable? I have never been able to try it as I don’t think we get it up in Canada. Also am at high altitude and mine needed 39 minutes to be done. Anyhow, finished brownies did not disappoint! Definitely prefer them cold from the fridge rather than room temp, but that’s how I do plain brownies too! Thanks for a great recipe!!

    1. Char

      FOLLOW UP: Made these again using Jif (I found some!), and also made sure my peanut butter and eggs were at room temp and left mixing the peanut butter batter until right before putting it on top of the brownie batter. It was totally swirlable! Still took longer than recommended time to bake, but I’m still attributing this to altitude… and my pyrex pan probably contributes too.
      Noticed a lot of people are commenting on wanting to cut the butter in the recipe; 1/2 cup of butter is a pretty standard amount in fudgey brownie recipes that yield an 8″x8″ pan. Maybe they’re all more into cakey brownies? (Though why????? Cold fudgey brownies all the way!!)

  31. What did I do wrong?! They looked perfect going in. Followed directions exactly. After 35 minutes, still very raw in the middle. Another 5 minutes, still raw. Another 10 minutes, still a bit gooey but OK. Took them out and the top is totally hard and chewy and the center is still not fully cooked! I have an over thermometer so the temp was accurate. Can’t figure out where I went wrong!

  32. RILnyc

    I just made this. Omitted the chips in the interest of not over-egging the pudding. They’re a hit. Only issue I had was that they took an hour to cook. Of course, this may be my oven. Thanks for another terrific recipe.

  33. Laura

    These are amazing. My peanut butter swirl (I used Skippy) was quite thick, but I wouldn’t call it crumbly. The brownie batter has been my go-to for ages, but the layered-then-swirl technique is genius!! Much better mix of flavors than I usually achieve. Previously I had combined the PB swirl from a brown eyed baker recipe and the SK one-bowl brownies, but I love the addition of an egg to the peanut butter swirl here. Also it seems more peanutty!

  34. Lisa

    I made these, but with a layer of brownie and a layer of PB, topped with brownie. I ended up with goo covered by a crispy brownie layer. Any idea what I’ve done wrongbesides spreading the peanut butter and not blobbing it about?

  35. CJ

    I made these yesterday. Only problem was the peanut butter batter was far thicker than the brownie batter, so I couldn’t really swirl it at all. I had to kind of nudge it around as best I could. The peanut butter was (spouse insists this was the only kind Target had in small jars…) the Target store brand and it was labeled “peanut butter spread”, do you think that’s why? It seemed to have the same texture as Skippy when I opened it, although the taste wasn’t as peanutty. They are tasty, even if not as beautiful as the swirly ones. My advice to anyone making this is go to the store yourself to get the peanut butter! And maybe add a tsp of milk to the peanut mix if looks like it’s going to be too solid to swirl.

  36. lizzy

    I made these the other day. They’re delicious but I encountered a couple problems. As others have noted the peanut butter part is pretty thick. I had a hard time making a “swirl” and it all sort of ended up being mushed together a little bit. I also found the chocolate part a little greasy. But, they taste good. I think if I made this again I’d cut the butter in the chocolate part a little bit.

  37. Deb these looked absolutely delish so had to make them! Just put them in the oven for a dinner party tonight and the peanut butter batter came out a little thick and sort of crumbly so couldn’t make the beautiful swirl pattern. Could I have over mixed it? Or did I not mix it enough? Thanks for the help!

  38. Jori

    AMAZING. I’m wrapping up a super stressful week and there you go for the nth time, giving me a recipe for exactly what I was craving before I realized it myself. Made these last night and my PB-obsessed toddler deemed them officially “dee-WISH-iss”. Batches will need to be made and frozen, as my family includes a long line of chocolate-PB lovers. Thank you once again for such a terrific recipe!

  39. Shilpa

    Just made this today (for a play date, but really because I wanted to eat them) and I have to say these are some of the most glorious brownies I’ve ever made. Maybe it’s the sudden craving for PB but the chocolate PB combo is awesome! Like some of the other comment’s my PB batter was a tad stiff. Probably to do with the PB brand. Rather than swirling the batters together, I was mostly’cutting through. I didn’t mind because it more like a PB cookie in the middle of my brownie yummm! Maybe I’ll try again with another brand of PB and see if it’s any different. Thanks Deb for answering my taste buds prayers!

  40. Jess

    Or you could try what we do at the bakery… cocoa brownies, minus the cocoa, split the batter in half and add peanut butter to half and Dutch cocoa to the other half. Swirl heaven.

  41. Juliet

    Interesting, i have been making a peanut butter swirled brownie for years, and assumed i’d got the recipe from you Deb! Mine uses icing sugar (confectioners sugar i think you guys call it?) mixed with the peanut butter, and no egg, so will have to try this version for a comparison!

  42. Aimee

    For those who can’t eat dairy, I made a dairy-free version of these that were delicious. Instead of butter in the brownie portion, I used 92g of refined coconut oil + 23g of cold water (to match the fat/water proportions of butter). I melted the coconut oil with the chocolate before adding the cold water, and then continued with the rest of the recipe as-written. The final product is perfection. Thanks, Deb!

  43. DaffodilKitchen

    For starters: this is my first comment ever after YEARS of reading and cooking. I’ve literally made hundreds of your recipes and have had startlingly few disappointments.

    My question: When using salt in a recipe, we’ve all seen the wide variances between different types of kosher or flaky salts. Could you please include gram weights or maybe a volume measurement using plain ol’ table salt for us heathens that really don’t keep so many salts in our kitchens? I can usually come close using 1/2 table salt = 1 kosher salt, but it would be nice to have a little more definition.

    Thanks bunches and thank you so much for so many hours of enjoyment reading your writing, the community comments, and the wonderful food! This site is a blessing!

  44. Wendy

    Made these today – SO yummy and SO rich. I feel like the PB layer cooked more slowly than the chocolate, so it’s still a bit loose while the chocolate is just right. I used Trader Joe’s creamy salted PB.

    1. Wendy

      Upon further research (aka scarfing), it seems that the edges are more done than the center, but both batters did cook pretty evenly. I guess I could’ve left them in a tad longer, but I’d rather have a brownie a bit undercooked than overcooked.

  45. I’m curious what the reasoning is behind unsweetened chocolate + sugar, as opposed to, say, 80% dark chocolate + less sugar? The darkest chocolate at my local grocery store is 85%, I think – hard to find totally unsweetened chocolate. Thanks!

    1. Karen

      Where are you from? Here on the west coast of the US, it’s pretty easy to find bars of unsweetened chocolate in the baking aisle, usually close to the chocolate chips. I use Baker’s brand because it’s cheaper, but I’m sure the fancier brands are delicious. I find that the chocolate flavor is more intense if I use unsweetened and add the sugar to the sweetness I want. I usually don’t use as much sugar as Deb does because I prefer a more bittersweet brownie. You can always just use a bar of the darkest you can get, use a bit more, and cut the sugar in the recipe.

  46. Beth Niles

    These did not swirl at all. Hmmm not sure if using natural peanut butter was the issue but laying down a 1/3 of the batter and adding splooges of pb mixture resulted in too much batter for 2nd layer and the pb mixture was covered completely and definitely not swirly. I would have suggested 50% batter on the bottom. Will use Skippy next time. They tasted great and were super light but were not anything remotely as pictured.

  47. Valerie

    I made these yesterday with smooth peanut butter and the batter was fine; looked like the photo.However, they took much longer than 35 minutes to bake. I might try a 9 x9 pan next time. They’re delicious!

    1. Beth Niles

      Yes I kept adding 7-8 min increments to the time and probably ended up at about 55 minutes. The glass pan stayed pretty hot so I’m thinking they kept cooking after I took them out. The toothpick finally came out clean ish but it was a guessing game for sure. How do we get the pb mix to be swirlable? Do you add liquid? Another egg?

        1. deb

          I’m so sorry for the uneveness in baking times; I will need to recheck. I actually had been having problems with my oven temperature (!) but it was running cool, not warm, which is even more confusing. I’m glad they ultimately baked and at least tasted good. More on baking times soon.

  48. meaganhowell

    Thank you Deb, I so often *think* about how much I love your voice (spoken and culinary) and dependably excellent recipes but rarely tell you directly. My family has been increasingly obsessed with the British bake off, and these brownies remind me of how awesome it is to be American. We’ll be baking them asap.

  49. Grace

    The peanut butter batter is lovely — sort of like a peanut butter cookie in texture — but the brownie itself is fair at best. It seems counterintuitive, but baking chocolate almost never yields that rich chocolate flavor you think it should. I almost always opt for cocoa powder varieties: much gooier, much darker, and no bitter aftertaste. If anyone tries combining the peanut butter with Deb’s Best Cocoa Brownies (still the gold standard!), please report back!!!

  50. Anita Campbell

    This was a delicious birthday cake for my husband. I used Planters (Mr. Peanut!) peanut butter, and found the batter a hit dry. I added a mix of cream cheese and buttermilk (1/4 cup) and it was perfect!

  51. mae

    I saw this posted and knew it had to be made TONIGHT. The only things holding me back were (1) a lack of unsweetened chocolate, and (2) my 8×8 pan had been lent to a friend. I wasn’t about to let this stop me, so I made the following adjustments:
    (1) subbed ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cacao) and reduced the sugar in the brownie batter by half (used 125 grams)
    (2) baked in a 9×13 metal baking pan for 25 minutes

    The brownies are very good (husband says he can’t imagine what would make them better), but I need to try them again when I have everything I need to correctly follow the recipe. For science of course :)

    My only other comment is that, like others have noted, the peanut butter batter was somewhat crumbly and did not swirl well. It still tastes great, but I was hoping for more defined brownie and peanut butter segments. Maybe my egg was too small? Or the peanut butter was a different consistency (I used natural Jiff – not the kind you need to stir)? I’ll try it with Skippy next time and see what happens.

    1. mae

      Follow up:
      Just made this a second time and used Skippy. The peanut butter batter seemed more spreadable when it was first mixed, but by the time I had the brownie batter prepared, it had stiffened and become more crumbly like it was on my first attempt. So maybe try having all the ingredients in a bowl ready to go but don’t mix until the brownie batter is ready?

    2. mae

      And wanted to add that the 2nd making of these (where I actually followed the recipe instead of subbing dark chocolate and lowering sugar) was definitely better than the 1st. Much richer and more fudge like, which I like in a brownie.

  52. meginfrance

    I made this this past weekend for friends— and it was a hit. The dark chocolate was perfect, the peanut butter delicious. I did not have a problem with the pb being too chunky— as some have reported. I used Trader Joe’s brand, but I also mistakenly left it on the stove while the oven was heating, so it was soft and creamy. This will definitely be an evil edition to my cravings. Thank you!

  53. Rachel

    I went and made these on Friday night after the recipe was published. There wasn’t much left by Monday and everyone who ate one hoovered it and then promptly asked for more. This recipe is a keeper and great for making with kids.

  54. Melanie Simpson

    I had a little trouble with this recipe. I used organic peanut butter and I found that my peanut butter batter was very thick. When I tried to swirl the spoonfuls of batter, the batter crumbled up rather than swirled. I essentially had to roll it into little logs and cover them with brownie batter. Help!

  55. tucsonbabe

    Oh my. I made these to bring to my grandchildren in DC . Although i have only tasted the edges that I cut off, I pronounce these divine. I think the key is to use Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter.
    Why try to make them healthy using an organic or TJ’s or Whole Foods or any other peanut butter than the sinful Skippy’s. Brownies are never going to healthy. They are always going to be artery cloggers, so why not go all the way ?
    Mine turned out beautifully and I had no problems with the peanut batter. It was smooth as silk. Thank you Skippy and thank you Deb. I am no longer a brownie virgin.

  56. kimberlydstewart

    I baked these tonight, but they didn’t turn out. Any suggestions? The PB batter looks similar to yours, but the brownie batter looked a little light in color, and was much thicker than your photo. Even after baking for 45-50 minutes, they just didn’t set. I’ve been over and over the recipe and can’t figure it out.

    1. deb

      Did you use unsweetened chocolate? Was it just baking time? I am definitely hearing from others in the comments that it’s taking longer than my estimate for them to cook through.

  57. sharaun

    My daughter tells me she made this with cookie butter. I died, because I was 200 miles away and couldn’t taste them. She tells me that the cookie butter caramelized, and that they were fabulous.

  58. Christine

    I made these, but halved the recipe and put it in a loaf pan. I intended to do half an egg for the peanut butter part but wasn’t paying attention and put the whole egg in and the filling seemed fine so I went with it. Baked at 325 for 25 minutes and they were set at the edges so I took them out. They were perfect, my whole family loved them.

  59. teresanarey

    I’ve seen a few people mention gluten free. . . will it work to substitute gluten free all purpose flour? It’s what I happen to have in the pantry right now.

    1. Karen

      Absolutely! If you have a scale, it’s always best to measure by weight rather than cups, but you can definitely make these gluten free!

  60. Kristen

    Hi Deb,
    I live in Germany, and can’t seem to find bars of unsweetened chocolate. They have chocolate for baking, but it has sugar in it. They do have unsweetened cocoa powder. Any suggestions? There are several recipes of yours that I would love to bake if I can find a solution to this. Thank you for your help! :)

    1. deb

      I haven’t personally tested any of the unsweetened swaps out there (usually with cocoa powder and butter) so I cannot say with authority how we’ll they’ll work in my recipes. But I’d like to. Can you get anything really bitter like 95% or 90%? If you can get something almost more bitter than anyone would enjoy eating, I think it will work fine. The magic of unsweetened to me — I say this not to rub it in but to explain what I’m going for — is that I find the chocolate flavor way more intense without having to use as much of it or ending up with a really sweet baked good. For this recipe, however, you might try using the best cocoa brownies instead; they’re the favorite of at least half the people who read this site. :)

  61. Erin

    I made my own peanut butter in the blender (dry toast a cup of peanut pieces in a frying pan then put in the blender with a pinch of salt, 1tsp honey and 1tbsp vegetable oil). Perhaps because it was warm from the toasting I found it easy to spread and swirl the peanut batter. Baked in a muffin tray (I got 11) because I like lots of chewy edge on brownies and because it’s faster – 20 minutes. They’re perfect! But then the brownie part of this is my most-used recipe on this site so I knew they’d be good.

  62. M

    For some reason I went to make these thinking surely I wouldn’t suffer the same problems as other folks who made them, but I found I am merely mortal, too : ).

    My peanut butter batter was super stiff and crumbly (I used half Skippy and half Trader Joe’s organic creamy salted). I added maybe 4-5 tbsp vegetable oil to soften it and this made it swirlable. I used an 8×8 pan and it took 1 hour to cook through (at 35 minutes it was still soupy in the center…this might have been because of the vegetable oil I added), and the edges are a little burnt. Weirdly, my brownie batter was exactly to the recipe, but it was also stiff, at least not pourable like your photos! The taste is okay – kinda marred by being overdone on the bottom and sides.

    I adore the idea of these brownies and am a huge fan of the one-bowl brownie, which are in regular rotation in our home. Will have to keep experimenting!

    1. deb

      I’m sorry there have been so many problems marbling. I hoped my photo made clear that this isn’t a loose swirly batter. It’s a dolloped one which, for me, worked better because the brownie batter is also thick and they can be marbled together with a knife.

  63. jaxqui

    Since so many people are having trouble with crumbly peanut butter batter, I’m wondering if a liquid sweetener, like honey, light corn syrup, or even golden syrup, would help the cause. Any thoughts/has anyone tried?

  64. Alyssa Rossodivita

    Deb, love your blog and have finally made something from it before you’ve posted the next recipe (so proud of myself)! These are just to die for. However, I did end up baking them for closer to 45 minutes, and the middle was still raw-gooey the next day! Do you think my oven is way off, I’m doing something wrong, or something else?

    1. deb

      Thank you and it definitely sounds like it took longer for other people too. They’re definitely soft inside (intentionally) but should not be raw. I’ll make note of an adjusted cooking time if this is a consistent pattern.

  65. Mary Beth

    Subtract 1/4 cup of sugar from the chocolate batter (down to 1 cup). You will not notice the difference . I also used half white flour and half whole wheat pastry ( a sub I make often). Brownies came out fine at 35 minutes. Need to work on my swirling technique, though!

  66. Jo M

    I made this tonight! Very tasty. Some issues that have come up in the comments:

    1. Oiliness: This is basically Deb’s “favorite brownie” recipe, with the addition of the peanut butter swirl. I always make that recipe with a half stick of butter instead of a whole stick–just as tasty but reduces the oily-greasy factor by a ton. I did the same here and highly recommend it.

    2. Baking time: Mine took forever to bake too, and the edges were overdone when the middle was still liquid. I assume this is because, as above, this is two recipes crammed into one pan. This would benefit from using a larger pan or by shaving down all the ingredients by 1/3.

    3. Peanut butter swirl: If you use a commercial non-natural peanut butter, it will be real thick but still swirlable. Do yourself a favor and don’t add any extra oil–the top can be swirled to be pretty but the brownies themselves are actually tastier when there are bites of mostly peanut butter and bites of mostly chocolate! No need to totally swirl the batters together.

  67. freyahanz

    Since I love peanut butter and brownies, this is surely a “heaven” for me. :) I’ll definitely try this and get back to you for updates. :)

  68. Thea

    Made these yesterday – absolutely delicious! Only had crunchy peanut butter (I used Kraft, an Australian brand that is creamier and less sweet than the American brands I’ve tasted) but I think that made it even better. The peanut batter was fine, easy to swirl. Mine took 10 extra minutes to cook. I’ve been keeping it in the fridge, cold fudgy brownie is the best.

  69. marcella

    Made these today. I had natural style peanut butter so I fully expected that batter to be quite thick-which it was but it did still swirl with a knife. I skipped the chocolate chips on top. They baked up perfectly in 35 minutes. I ate three in a sitting. This is a problem 😊

  70. Kate

    I made these twice. The first time I measured the peanut butter using measuring cups. The second time I measured by weight and put it directly into the bowl (I tared the bowl first). The PB swirl was much creamier the second time! Even though I thought I was diligently scraping out all of the peanut butter from the measuring cup, I would definitely recommend weighing the PB as the mixture was far less crumbly the second time and swirled more easily. Like other commenters, mine also were a little raw in the middle at 35 minutes. Absolutely delicious!

  71. Mary Beth

    I made these brownies over the weekend, following recipe exactly. I did make sure my eggs were room temperature, but still felt it necessary to microwave the peanut butter batter about 15 to 30 seconds to soften it for ease in swirling. It also took a full 45 to 50 minutes to bake and they came out very fudgy. Next time (oh, there absolutely will be a next time), I will use bittersweet chocolate and less sugar. As written, I felt the finished product was way too sweet. I prefer the depth of bittersweet. Also, I will top the brownies with additional flaky salt.

  72. Cary

    These were perfect (especially cold from the fridge). I even went a step further and sprinkled on some peanut butter chips I had as well. Never too much, right?

  73. Christina Eaton

    OMG are these delicious! PB and Chocolate are always a winning combination.

    I have a theory on why some people’s PB mixture is more crumbly than swirly. I mixed together the PB batter and it was smooth and perfect. But I had a couple projects in the works and it was a little while before I actually made the brownie part and swirled them together, and by that point, it was much thicker. Sugar is hygroscopic, right? So it it possible that while the mixture sits, the sugar is pulling some moisture out of the peanut butter? Would it be advisable to make the brownie batter first, then the PB batter and swirl them right away? I guess someone will have to test this theory…

    Full disclosure I bought Skippy creamy for these, but I did double the recipe and bake it in a 13×9. Baked a little longer than the recipe indicated but is absolutely delicious!

  74. ellen

    I suspect the crumbly-ness of the peanut butter portion is from the vanilla extract. This happens to me when I add vanilla to other peanut butter mixtures, like granola bars.

    I made my batch without the vanilla in the peanut butter portion and it came out like a thick batter, not crumbly at all. I used a natural peanut butter, to boot.

  75. First of all-THANK YOU SO MUCH for making an “I Made it” column!! LOVE THAT!!
    Second-I Made these!! I agree the outside cooked much faster and the center is much softer BUT-as a combo scooped into a bowl (and topped with vanilla ice cream as my son did!) it’s total package. I would serve to company.

  76. Kerri

    Omg! So good. I did make a few tweaks to the recipe based on some of the reviews. Used a Jumbo sized egg in the peanut butter filling and added a little extra vanilla and salt. Also baked for an extra 5 minutes. They came out PERFECT!

  77. Amy

    I made these tonight using creamy Jif and everything spread/swirled fine. I used a Goldtouch 8″x8″ pan and it did take me a little longer to bake – about 42 minutes. These brownies are incredible!

  78. Jeannine DiBart

    I’m not sure why people are having trouble with this recipe. I followed it exactly and they were amazing. I weighed all my ingredients, so that may make a difference if you are not weighing. They are unbelievably delicious brownies!

  79. Sarah Pawliuk

    Was concerned brownies were still raw after 35 mins but made the call to pull them out and not risk overcooking. They were very soft (sagging) and a bit oily-looking as others have noted. We ate a few and they were ok, but not great.
    but then.. after a night in the fridge… WOW. All problems solved. Fudgey with an amazing flavour.
    So my suggestion is cook until they are as done as they can be in the middle without overcooking the edges, let them cool, and hide them in the fridge.
    I used Skippy and had no problems with that batter. Easy to work with. I wouldn’t use natural for these, it needs that silky commercial texture IMO.

  80. Ruth Chin

    I just had a thought re: the crumbly pb batter. I’ve experienced this also while making Bakerella’s Coraline cookies, which are basically pb, brown & white sugars, egg, and maybe vanilla (doing this from memory). I remember that there is no flour in that recipe either (for the pb cookies). What I found is, if you put the eggs and vanilla in the bowl first and then the sugars, the liquid in the egg helps dissolve the grains of sugar and then it all mixes together with the pb much more smoothly. I wonder if that would help in this case. My guess is that the oil from the pb prevents the sugar from dissolving into the egg so it stays crumbly. This is my guess. (I’m not Christopher Whatsizname from Cooks Illustrated.)

  81. Amy

    These were amazing, and I didn’t have any issues w spreadability of the pb batter (maybe bc I used store brand pb?). I made these for my son’s birthday party and the adults and kids loved them. I did need to bake them about 40 min to set, and they were still plenty moist and borderline gooey in the middle, but perhaps I have a cool oven as I often find my baking times are longer.
    Anyway, I loved these so much, thanks Deb!

  82. i made a batch of these brownies and they were absolutely amazing!!! fudgy and the perfect balance of chocolate and peanut butter. fortunately i didn’t have any of the issues others have reported. this recipe is a winner!

  83. Alison

    Well damn if I didn’t surf my way over to SK to find a good brownie recipe…and here’s one that’s practically brand spanking new!

    I don’t know why, but I’ve had a SERIOUS brownie craving lately. Don’t think I’ve had one in a decade but last week I impulse bought (and made immediately) a boxed mix. Didn’t cure my craving, so here we are. Thanks for anticipating my every need and craving, as always!

  84. Nancy

    My batters looked just like your pictures and I”m an experienced baker, but my outcome was awful – nothing like your final picture. Timing was off. I did read many of the other replies so tried to adjust my timing, but after 45 mins, center was still gooey and outer edges were hard – and I mean like hockey pucks. I had to trim all of those off – not easy to do – and just use a few brownies from the middle. I used Jif pb and followed recipe to the tee. The taste from what i could salvage was good, so I might try again in a 9×9 pan rather than an 8 inch and perhaps lower the temp just a bit, or maybe try in my convection over.

  85. Kristen

    This did not set up for me :( I ended up leaving it in for 45-50 min (checking every 3-5min past 35), and the toothpick never came out clean in the center. What did i do wrong?? I’m an experienced baker; the “favorite brownie” recipe, which seems to be the base of this one, is my absolute favorite (it is perfection and never fails me).
    Do I need a new oven thermometer? (it read exactly 350) Were my ‘large’ eggs too big? I followed the recipe to a T and double checked everything after the fiasco. I know some prefer a softer, fudge-like brownie, but this was essentially raw, and the crinkly top turned into a thick crust from the extra time in the oven (though it looked splendid). Has anyone else had this issue? If not, can anyone think of what might have done me in?

  86. Lori

    God bless the comments section which make me less alone. My peanut butter was very crumbly and didn’t swirl. I did enjoy the taste though even though it was a peanut butter brownie mash and not a swirl.

  87. I’m just wondering…I’ve been through the comments and didn’t see any. All of the peanut butter batter recipes i’ve used in the past have some flour in them but these don’t. Is that correct?
    Thanks much.
    Eric

  88. firemedicandy

    I made them this weekend and they were amazing! My batters were both pretty thick, but it looks like your peanut butter batter was pretty thick too. They baked perfectly but the funny thing was they were even better the next day. They seemed to get “lighter” and a little more crisp over night. Even one of our friends made the same comment. So just as good if not better made a day ahead.

  89. Madeleine

    you mentioned you use a commercial brand of PB but that natural might work. Does your commercial one have sugar in it already? Some ‘natural’ ones do and some don’t so I’m confused about what to use. I have no problem using non-natural, just don’t want it to end up too sweet if I’m supposed to start with something unsweetened!

  90. Suzanne

    Not food related – I clicked on the link to your flickr account and OMG HER HAIR. It’s amazing. It’s exactly what I wish mine looked like.