Easter

Sunday, April 24, 2011

For those of you who have followed my blog over the last few weeks, you’ll know about my giving up baking for Lent.  I had no idea what an important part of my life it was until I had to quit.  From Ash Wednesday through this morning, I didn’t bake a single sweet good.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult.  It truly felt like forty days fasting in the desert.  I queried the spiritual leaders in my congregation to find out precisely when I could start baking again.  (The consensus was sundown on Saturday, but as I was at church until 10:00 last night, it was a moot point.)

My commitment also meant I was mostly giving up dessert, too, as store-bought sweets just don’t cut it for me.  Twice I broke down and begged my oldest daughter to bake a batch of cookies. I also found myself wondering what would happen if I googled “wild honey and locust dessert”.  But only if I could find an unbaked version. 

More than a few of you asked what my first dessert would be when I started baking again. Whatever I made would please my husband, who had heroically given up my baking for Lent.  But it had to involve a lot of chocolate to placate my 13-year old, who gave up chocolate. And it had to be something my whole family would love.

In the end, choosing the first dessert was the easiest part of my resolution.  I’ve been eyeing the Peanut Butter Brownie recipe on Smitten Kitchen for a while, and this was the perfect dessert to break my fast. 

By the way, I now plan to bake up a storm to make up for those lonely, barren Lenten weeks.  I’ve already made promises to my youngest daughter’s classmates, to my church’s hospitality committee, and to my neighbour’s church fundraiser.  My work is cut out for me – and I couldn’t be happier.

Peanut Butter Brownies

For brownies:
2 sticks (one cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs plus one egg yolk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

For ganache:
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan and line with parchment paper.

Beat together butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until mixed.  Beat in whole eggs, egg yolk and vanilla.  Stir in flour until just combined.  Mix in 1 ½ cups chocolate chips, then spread batter in baking pan, smoothing top.  Batter will be quite thick.

Bake until brownies are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on a rack.

To make ganache, put 1 ½ cups chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.  Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate chips.  Gently stir in butter until it is incorporated, chocolate is melted and a smooth mixture forms.  Spread ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set, about 15 minutes.

42 comments:

justine said...

yum! welcome back to your oven! I made something similar, which I'll post soon ... peanut butter oatmeal fudgies. delicious!

allieksmith said...

Great job on making it through and the PB brownies sound so great and WELL worth the wait ;) ;)
Happy Easter!!

Valerie said...

I'm looking forward to the coming baking storm. :D Congrats on following through with your baking fast!!

These brownies are spectacular!

Xiaolu said...

Mmm chocolate and PB are so good together. Happy Easter! Welcome back to the world of baking =D

laxsupermom said...

Yum! Those look delicious! Peanut butter brownies are WD's favorite, too. Thanks for sharing. Happy Easter!

thejoyofcaking said...

Excellent choice for your first post-lent baking project. PB and chocolate is my favorite combo.

Rita said...

You just brought the humble brownie up a few notches. Enjoy your sweets; lent is over.
Rita

Claudia said...

But you did it - you did it! And have earned those delicious brownies (as has your family). I changed weekly what I was giving up - all in all - not a successful Lent. However, I still would love those brownies.

Lena Coakley said...

Brava for making it through to the end of lent. Planning on making your scones recipe for the royal wedding on Friday morning! I'll tell you how they turn out.

michelangelo in the kitchen said...

What delicious looking brownies! This should be a hit for everybody at home who loves peanut butter and chocolate! The ganache is a super idea for topping! We've got to try this incredible treat pronto! Cheers!!!

Belinda said...

Congrats for making it! What a great way to bake again.

shaz said...

Bet those brownies tasted good. Happy belated Easter and welcome back to the land of the oven.

Carol said...

Great choice, they look amazing! Glad you are back to baking, looking forward to seeing what's next!

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

great brownies and great job for giving it up happy easter

natalia said...

Ciao ! Happy Easter , and happy future baking !

girlichef said...

Oh delicious...that's the way to jump back in! I'd eat one for breakfast ;)

Annie's Dish said...

The peanut butter brownies were a great choice! I hope you and yours had a wonderful Easter!

comfortablydomestic.com said...

Honestly, Beth! I'm not sure if I would have the strength to give up baking for over a month. Congratulations. Excellent choice for your foray back into baking.

Tasha said...

Kudos to you for giving up something so dear to you. These look amazing and the perfect recipe to get back into the kitchen!

Ann said...

What a great recipe to break your fast with. These look wonderful. There's no better combination than peanut butter and chocolate.

Heather said...

These sound so delicious! Now that Lent is over, I'm looking forward to more of your baking posts! :)

Angela Felsted said...

This looks amazing!

Katerina said...

I think there was no better treat than these bars to end your lent! They look delicious!

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

Beth! I am SO impressed that you actually made it through Lent! Those treats you baked looked delicious (and I truly had never heard of them before this) and the chocolate bunny in the background looked like a perfect accoutrement.

Medeia Sharif said...

I don't like peanut butter by itself, but I love it baked with something else. These look scrumptious. I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.

Meagan Spooner said...

Ohhh my god, these look amazing! We just got our new oven up and running, and are ready to jump back into the baking. These may have to be the first things Amie and I go for. *drools*

Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane said...

What a great choice for your first bake, peanut butter is yummy! Looking forward to seeing your bakes for all of those upcoming events!

Joanne said...

I truly can't imagine giving up baking for that long, but I'm impressed that you got through it! And don't you feel so much stronger for it? These peanut butter brownies seem like the perfect comeback recipe!

Jess said...

These sound absolutely gorgeous~ yum, yum, yum!

I'm so impressed that you supressed the baking bee within! Congratulations on such an accomplishment, Beth. Well done :)

danasfoodforthought said...

This sounds like the perfect first recipe to make! Sounds deliciously decadent!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

You did it! Congratulations. :)

Those look delicious ... as usual.

Amy

Manzanita said...

I love a woman in an apron with flour on her face. Happy baking.
Love and peace,
Manzanita

Barbara said...

Now you're going to be baking up a storm, Beth! These are a great start! Delicious!

5 Star Foodie said...

A wonderful dessert and a great way to come back to baking!

Raina said...

Wow..peanut butter brownies covered in chocolate! That is surely a fitting way to make up for all of those nonbaking (and eating treats) days:) These sound incredible.

Fresh Local and Best said...

These decadent brownies are a spectacular way to reintroduce baking and desserts to your life. What dense and chocolatey treat!

Jude said...

That...looks...DELICIOUS! I'll have to try it :) I love Easter treats.

Julie Musil said...

What an accomplishment! Holy cow, peanut butter and chocolate is my absolute favorite, and your brownies look divine :D

Reeni said...

These are incredibly delectable looking! Great choice and great job for giving it up.

Kristen said...

Welcome back to baking! You picked a great treat to start with. PB brownies sound delicious right now.

Deborah said...

I don't think I'd do very well at giving up baking! These look delicious - I wish I had one right now!

Catalina said...

Peanut butter brownies? Sounds amazing! I love the chocolate on the top and the Lindt bunny is really lovely :)

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