While spiced lattes, pumpkin layer cakes, and cozy sweaters are some of the best reasons to say goodbye to summer with a smile, diving into brand new fall-release cookbooks just might be the best of one all.
One of the books I am super-excited about is Jessica Merchant’s first book called Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food. Amazing. True, I expected it to be, but I don’t know . . . there’s something extra special about this book when you hold it in your hands. Of course, the first thing to jump out at me was how incredible her photographs are–stunning yet real (much like Jessica herself).
But more than just incredible food photography, Seriously Delish is filled with enticing-but-approachable recipes you want to make over and over again. There are gorgeous cookbooks sitting in my collection, and just knowing they sit in my house is comforting, but Jessica’s book is the kind of book that ends up with tattered pages and chocolate smudges. Much like on her blog, How Sweet Eats, the book is laced with Jessica’s unique humour and warmth, which just makes the whole awesome-food-and-photography thing that much better.
And while this girl knows her way around sugar and butter like crazy, the book also offers homey-but-innovative salads, healthy (and not so healthy) snacks, sandwiches, breakfast (for dinner), pizza, burgers, and so much more. The recipes are notably diverse (imagine parmesan-pistachio kale chips only pages away from fleur de sel caramel bourbon brownie milk shakes), which celebrates Jessica’s distinct recipe style.
So, as you can probably guess, I hit the “Celebrations (for times when calories don’t count)” chapter first thing, which is when I came across the recipe for these Chocolate & Peanut Butter Lover’s Brownies. Needless to say I was sold.
While brownies are likely one of the most-baked treats from book sand blogs alike, these are in a class of their own. Who knew that something as classic as brownies could offer so much wow-factor, yet be whipped up in flash. First off, we triple the chocolate in the brownie batter with melted dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips, which is just an indication of where this recipe is going, right? Then we top the brownies with a sweet peanut butter filling, much like a peanut butter cup filling, and then we top it with a rich, glossy ganache and chopped up peanut butter cups. (This recipe came at the perfect time and totally solved my dozens-of-leftover-Halloween-peanut-butter-cups dilemma–not that that is typically a dilemma, but you know . . . )
Jessica’s voice rings through her easy-to-follow instructions, making this recipe, and all of the recipes in her book, feel like a day in the kitchen with your BFF, which is what I love most about it.
Here’s the recipe for these killer brownies, just to give you a taste of the awesomeness that awaits you in her book:
Jessica Merchant's dark chocolate brownies topped with peanut butter filling, ganache, and chopped peanut butter cups.
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cups chocolate chips
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups chopped peanut butter cups
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
- For the brownies, add the butter and chopped chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, 30 to 60 seconds. Once the chocolate is semi-melted, stir constantly to melt the rest. Set aside and allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter-chocolate mixture and granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, stirring until a smooth batter form. With a large spoon, mix in the dry ingredients until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Add the batter to the baking dish. Bake until the brownies are set and no longer jiggly in the middle, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes.
- For the peanut butter filling, stir together the melted peanut butter, powdered sugar, and coconut oil until smooth. The peanut butter will be warm and melt the coconut oil, so stir until melted. Pour the filling over the brownies, using a spatula to spread it around the top. Let cool completely and firm up, 20 minutes.
- For the ganache, add the chocolate to a large bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over heat just until it bubbles around the edges. Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 30 seconds, then stir continuously until the chocolate melts and a smooth ganache comes together, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour it all over the top of the brownies, then cover it with the chopped peanut butter cups. Let the brownies sit for 30 minutes before cutting.
- The brownies will stay fresh to 2 to 3 days at room temperature if covered with a layer of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. I like to keep mine in the fridge--they keep a few days longer (says Jessica).
*recipe written as printed in Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food
- I used an extra dark cocoa powder for the brownies (Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder Extra Brute but, as always, you can use any good-quality dark cocoa powder you prefer.
- For the ganache I used a Callebaut Semisweet Callets (54% cocoa solids) because it’s what I had in the cupboard (and they’re my favourite), so I added an extra 1/3 cup heavy cream to ensure that the ganache wasn’t too thick.
- I topped the brownies with Reese’s Minis Peanut Butter Cups (I happened to have a ton after Halloween and thought they’d look kind of neat nestled into the ganache, but of course chopped full size peanut butter cups would be awesome, just as Jessica calls for it in the book.
See you soon with another dose of sugar!