Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Biscoff Brownies with Candied Peanuts

When my mom was young, her family lived in Bolivia. My grand-daddy was an engineer, so they moved where the jobs took them. This included South Dakota, which my mom still counts as her least favorite state. (Sorry, South Dakotans!) So when they lived in Bolivia they had these neighbors who were alligator farmers. Um, what? They also had an ocelot as pet. When my mom and her sister would walk to school, the ocelot would stalk my Aunt Mandy. And when they were over at the neighbors' house, it would go insane if it saw her through the sliding glass door. True. Story. According to my mom. My grandmother disputes this some.

I love a good non sequitur. I've been dying to make brownies with Biscoff spread since I bought a jar. Biscoff spread is essentially...cookie butter. HOW is something like this allowed to exist?! Cookie. Butter. Like peanut butter but with cookies. Add in some candied peanuts and BOOM. Mega brownie.

Brownies start with: Brown butter (totally makes everything more mega-awesome), Biscoff spread, brown sugar, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, sugar, an egg, baking soda, and salt. If you have a Trader Joe's nearby I think you could substitute their cookie butter with good results. Don't hold me to it though.

The brown butter and sugars get friendly in a big ol' bowl.

Something about the light makes me love this picture. Or maybe it's my undying devotion to brown sugar and brown butter mixed together.

Now it's time for the egg, Biscoff spread, baking soda, and salt. We're about to make some magic.

We're so close. P.S. Does that look like a cursive J to you in the middle or is it just me?

The flour is the last addition. Stir it in to make a thick batter.

I used my hand mixer for just a second to get a couple of big lumps out. And maybe just so I'd have something to lick off the beaters.

Spread it in a pan. It'll look impossibly thin, but just work it a little to make it even.

 I promised you candied peanuts. You need: unsalted roasted peanuts, flaky sea salt, brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream. If you have salted roasted peanuts, you can use them but just make sure to omit the sea salt.

Give your nuts a rough chop. We don't want lots of itsy bitsy pieces. Just break them up a little.

Melt the butter and brown sugar together. A whisk is probably a good idea.

Bring it to a boil and whisk it until it's lovely and smooth.

Whisk in the cream and salt to make it...well, creamy and salty.

Lastly, add the peanuts. Toss them around to coat them, then take it off the heat to cool slightly.

Spread the cooled peanuts over the brownie batter. They're going to sink in and become really lovely. Bake them until a toothpick comes out clean.

Buh-bam. You can see some of the peanuts peeking out. Like hey, this isn't all about the cookie butter.

 I happen to think a warm brownie and vanilla ice cream will always be a good decision. Always & forever.

The salty candied peanuts keep this from being overly sweet. It's also a nice textural contrast.

You have to seriously like some brown sugar. Which I do. It supplements the caramel-y nature of the cookie butter. Do yourself a favor and grab a jar of Biscoff spread. When you're done eating it with a spoon, makes some brownies! And stay away from ocelots.

Biscoff Brownies with Candied Peanuts (makes 16 brownies)

1/2 c brown butter, cooled
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c Biscoff spread
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c all-purpose flour
Candied Peanuts, slightly cooled (recipe follows)
  • Preheat your oven to 350º. Grease a 9x9 pan. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine brown butter and sugars. Beat them until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Add the Biscoff spread, egg, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt. Beat until well-incorporated and smooth. Stir in the flour.
  • Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Top with the candied peanuts and spread evenly over the brownie batter. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 5-10 minutes before cutting. 
Candied Peanuts (makes enough for Biscoff brownies)

3 tbs unsalted butter
2/3 c brown sugar
1 scant tbs heavy cream
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
1/2 c unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped (If using salted peanuts, omit the 1/4 tsp sea salt)
  • Melt butter and brown sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk and bring to a boil until mixture is smooth. Whisk in cream and salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add peanuts. Stir to coat the peanuts and remove the pan from the heat.

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