How to make fudgy brownies
This is not a cakey brownie recipe! Fudgy brownies are more my thing. Luckily, these peanut butter cup brownies are easy, require no mixer and can even be made in one bowl.
To start, I line my brownie pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on 2 sides. This helps to easily remove the brownies from the pan and create clean slices.
If you spray the pan with cooking spray first the parchment won't slide around. I have a set of metal binder clips that I use to clip the parchment onto the pan on the two long sides so the parchment stays as well.
Next, melt unsalted butter and chopped bittersweet chocolate in a small saucepan. Do this over low heat and stir it frequently to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn.
If you don't want to use the stove, you could do this in the microwave too. Melt the chocolate and butter together in 30 seconds increments, stirring each time until it's melted. Be careful though as chocolate can scorch quickly in the microwave.
Add the sugar to the chocolate and butter mixture and stir well. Then the eggs one at a time and mix well. Next comes the cocoa powder, flour and salt. Stir until it's just barely incorporated.
Last, half of the chopped peanut butter cups get added to the batter until they are evenly incorporated.
How to layer the peanut butter filling
The peanut butter filling is simply peanut butter, a little unsalted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. The peanut butter and butter are melted together in the microwave and then the sugar and vanilla is added.
The mixture is really thick and you'll need to mix it by pressing a spoon or spatula into the mixture and smushing down repeatedly to get it mixed thoroughly. It's almost a cookie dough consistency.
Once mixed, dump out the crumbly mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll the peanut butter filling out into a flat 8 inch by 8 inch square.
Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan and then carefully peel the peanut butter filling from the parchment and lay it on top of the batter. Pour the rest of the batter over the peanut butter and smooth the top.
Finish off the brownies with the rest of the chopped peanut butter cups and they are ready to bake!
Tips for the best brownies
While brownies are pretty easy to make and tough to mess up, there are a few tips to ensure you make the best peanut butter cup brownies ever.
- Don't overmix- After the flour is added, be careful not to overmix. You want to mix the flour, stopping just after the final streak of flour is visible.
- Two types of chocolate- For extra rich and fudgy brownies, both cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate is added. Any cocoa powder is fine in this recipe however for extra chocolatey brownies, consider using Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder. Because there is no leavening agent in this recipe, the type of cocoa (natural or dutch-processed) doesn't matter. To easily chop the chocolate, consider using a serrated knife (or bread knife) to chop it. It's much easier than a regular knife!
- Don't overbake- One of the main keys to achieving fudgy brownies is not overbaking them. Start checking them at 20 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the middle. If the toothpick comes out with shiny batter clinging to it then it needs more time. You want moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick. It's better to underbake these than overbake. As they cool, they will firm up more.
- Chill the brownies-Chill in the fridge for a few hours before cutting into them if you want neat, clean slices. Use the parchment overhang to lift the entire block of brownies out of the pan. Use a really sharp knife that ideally is as long as the pan of brownies so you can cut in one slice. Cut without sawing through the brownies, making one clean slice down them. It also helps to wipe the knife off after each slice through the brownies.
How to store the brownies
Store any leftover brownies in an airtight container. They will last for 3-4 days stored on the counter or a couple more days if refrigerated. The pretzels will lose their crunch a bit after a couple of days but the brownies still taste delicious!
If you will have a lot of leftover brownies, consider only cutting the ones you need and leaving the rest as a slab of brownies.
Can you freeze the brownies?
You can also freeze these peanut butter cup brownies if needed. Wrap the brownies tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil.
For extra security, place them into a zip-top plastic bag. They will last for a couple of months stored this way. Defrost them in the refrigerator overnight.
Check out these other bar recipes:
- Browned Butter Nutella Blondies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats
- Fudgy Espresso Brownies with Espresso Buttercream
- Salted Peanut Bars
Tag me on Instagram @themarblekitchenblog if you make this and leave a star rating and comment below! Thank you and enjoy!
Fudgy Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Peanut Butter Filling
- ¾ cup peanut butter not natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 tablespoon unsalted butter cubed
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup peanut butter cups chopped and divided
Peanut Butter Filling
- Melt the peanut butter and butter in a microwave safe bowl for about 1 minute until the butter is melted. Stir well.
- Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until combined. It will be a thick, crumbly cookie dough-like mixture.
- Turn the peanut butter filling out onto a piece of parchment paper and flatten it into a 8 inch by 8 inch square. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on 2 sides or spray the pan with cooking spray.
- Combine butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat until melted, stirring often.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl and let cool for 5 min.
- Add the sugars and stir to combine.
- Add the eggs and stir until combined.
- Add the cocoa powder, flour and salt and stir until combined. Stir in ½ cup of the chopped peanut butter cups.
- Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Peel the disc of peanut butter filling off of the parchment and place it on top of the brownie batter, and then pour the remaining batter over the peanut butter filling, smoothing the top.
- Sprinkle the rest of the chopped peanut butter cups over the top of the brownie batter evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until set in the middle.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled remove the brownies from the pan (if you used parchment paper) and cut into squares or cut into squares in the pan.