In the darkest depths of my kitchen cabinet there lies a secret. It comes in convenient box form. If you opened my cupboard (and maybe rummaged around a bit) you’d see. I haven’t really had to confess until today, but too many people asked for the recipe and also I’m a bad liar. Plus I’d rather be seen as a recipe cheat than a recipe hog because good food is made for sharing.
There is not much in my kitchen that doesn’t get baked from scratch. Choux pastry, lavosh, macarons and all manner cookies, cakes and cupcakes for instance. But brownies. Brownies are the exception. I’ve never been able to allow myself to chuck chocolate into a brownie mix, mostly because every brownie that I’ve ever baked from scratch has been substandard. Not bad, per se, but not fudgy goodness that brownie packet mixes are. Yup, damned brownies are my nemesis.
As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve pretty much tried it all. I bought Mrs Fields recipe book. I googled. I tested. Somewhere along the way I became a skeptic. It’s not that the recipes are bad. They’re fine and some are even mostly delicious but they’re really just chocolate cake squares. I think we can all agree that brownies should be chewy and fudgy, not too goopy and not too crumb-y. Perhaps just how fudgy or how cakey you like them is a scale that can be used to decide upon life partners because even my favourite blog of all time has the master saying her brownies are fudgy when others say they turn out cakey.
For now, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that unless I want to waste kilos of chocolate I’m really A-OK with making brownies from a packet. As much as it goes against my food philosophy, to use real ingredients and learn to make things, packet brownie mix is cheaper, quicker and more delicious-er. And it totally counts as baking because the peanut butter layer is made from scratch.
- 1 packet brownie mix
- eggs, oil and water as per package instructions
- 2 eggs
- 180g peanut butter, smooth or chunky both work
- 80g butter
- 50g sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- ¼-½ tsp salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line the base of a 11" x 7" pan (or whatever size it says on the packet).
- Place brownie mix, oil, water and eggs in a large bowl then stir until combined.
- In another bowl, combine eggs, peanut butter and butter; beat until smooth. Add sugar, flour and salt and mix until combined. Add more salt to taste, as needed. I tend to go closer to ½ tsp as I like the salty-sweet contrast.
- Spread half brownie mix into the pan, then dollop most of the peanut butter mixture on. Top with remaining brownie mix, then finish with the peanut butter mixture. Using a butter knife, swirl the mixtures together (make sure the knife touches the bottom.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or according to the times listed on the pack.