On the face of it, American inspired baking, containing chocolate, is easy - I imagine almost everyone would suggest brownies at this point, but Devil's Food Cake and Mississippi Mud Pie spring to mind too. Once I'd decided to go with brownies (as they fitted in with my baking plans), I wanted produce a brownie with flavours that couldn't have come from anywhere else but America, which is why I ended up with the idea of adding peanut butter and jelly (jam) - a delicious combination which is rarely seen in Britain.
My favourite brownie recipe involves melting 140g each of butter and dark chocolate, stirring in 300g of light muscovado sugar, three eggs and a dash of vanilla extract, then folding in 160g plain flour and 3 tablespoons cocoa. Once the batter was made, I put roughly 3/4 of it into a 20cm(8") square baking tin (lined with baking parchment). Then I dotted teaspoonsful of smooth peanut butter and 'cherries and berries' jam onto the batter, using about 125g of each. The remaining brownie batter was drizzled over the surface, covering some of the peanut butter and jam, but not all of it. Lastly, I used the handle of a teaspoon to mix the peanut butter, jam and top layer of batter together in random swirls, and scattered over 30g of chopped roasted salted peanuts. The brownie tray was cooked at 180C until firm but not too dry. The end point was difficult to determine as a probe hitting peanut butter or jam made the mixture seem underdone. I think, having given it 40 minutes, that I over-baked this batch slightly. Next time I'll try a few minutes less.
I was particularly keen to try peanut butter and chocolate together, as I recently tried a pack of peanut butter flavoured Oreo biscuits. I've seen these cropping up in a lot of blog posts recently, so was intrigued enough to try them when I saw them in stock in my local supermarket. What a disappointment! I couldn't taste the peanut butter at all, so it was no surprise to read the ingredient list and find there were no real peanuts in the biscuit filling - only 'flavouring'!
It's also been National Chocolate Week this week, so my post is just in time to celebrate that, although chocolate is part of my everyday life - I don't need a special week to celebrate it!
We Should Cocoa (rules here) is the brainchild of Choclette, who writes the Tin and Thyme blog, although she often has guest hosts to share the duties of taking in the entries and compiling the end of month round up.