The other day at work, my co-workers and I got into a heated debate. The topic? Which fast food chain has the best food. (It was around lunch. We’re college students. What do you expect?)
At the University of Minnesota, we have a McDonald’s right on the edge of campus. Strategically located where you have no chance to avoid it. (Their dollar menu ceases to be a “dollar” around 9pm as well. Well played, McDonalds, well played.)
I don’t know if you’ve seen their campaign recently, but the McBites are back- spicy style! Those little nuggets of pure spicy goodness are just a block away from campus and have earned a place in our hearts. So, as you might have guessed, we had people whose vote was for Mickey D’s.
Personally, I’m more of a Taco Bell fan. There is nothing better than some cheap, fake-Mexican food. (Almost.)
Seriously though, who doesn’t enjoy Taco Bell? Other than my parents, I can list off one person who doesn’t. … Or rather, hasn’t. Joe Ling. (Name has been changed to conceal the true identity of said law-breaker.)
“I’ve never been to Taco Bell. We don’t have one in Edina.”
Please, take a moment to enjoy that statement. Someone on the planet hasn’t been to Taco Bell- not even once. And there aren’t any Taco Bells in Edina. (If you’re from the cities, you might have just realized that I’m making fun of the fact that they are fulfilling their stereotype.)
Edina: “A city in the southwest part of Minneapolis that has a reputation as being “Stuck-up, rich, and snobby.”‘; cake-eaters
Cake-Eater: Rich people who think they’re better than everyone cause their rich.
(Before anyone gets any more deeply offended than what I’ve already caused with this blog, those are hyperbolic stereotypes. So please, breathe.)
You might recall that I said ALMOST nothing is better than fake-Mexican. Prepare yourself.
I know, it isn’t a fast food, but it’s in my cupboard and really easy to reach, and it’s pretty awful for you.
Playing off of this peanut butter addiction I have, this week I took a stab at Chocolate Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Brownies. Or, because that is too long winded of a title, the Baking Challenge Brownies.
Shortly after the fast food conversation, a challenge was issued. Everyone go home, make the best recipe you have, and someone in the office will be crowned the Baking Champion.
Chocolate Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Brownies
Brownies (or use your favorite boxed brownie mix)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
- 8 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate (I used 1 cup of semi-sweet choc. chips)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Easy Chocolate Covered Pretzels (or use store-bought chocolate covered pretzels)
- 25 mini pretzel twists
- 2 oz (1/2) of a Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar
Make the chocolate covered pretzels first. In a medium bowl, break up and melt the 2 oz of baking chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue microwaving in 10 second intervals until completely melted. Toss the pretzels into the melted chocolate and stir around until they are mostly coated. They don’t have to look perfect because you will break them up any way. Chill the pretzels while you make the brownies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 11 x 7 inch baking pan (or 13 x 9 inch baking pan for thinner brownies) with cooking spray. Set aside. Melt butter and semi-sweet chocolate in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly (about 6 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (about 15 minutes).
Stir sugar into cooled chocolate/butter mixture until combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour and salt. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a knife. Bake for approx 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out *almost* clean.
While the brownies are baking, prepare peanut butter frosting layer. Using an electric handheld or stand mixer, cream the butter and peanut butter on medium speed until completely smooth and no more chunks of butter are visible. Slowly mix in confectioners’ sugar, starting with just one cup. Add more confectioners’ sugar if needed. You want a very thick frosting layer. I used about 1.5 cups.
Once brownies are done in the oven and completely cooled (about 1 hour of cooling time), frost with peanut butter frosting. Chop up your chocolate covered pretzels and layer them on top of the frosting, gently pressing them down so that they stick. Refrigerate brownies for about 30-60 minutes until the frosting “sets” on top of the brownies. Cut into squares and enjoy!
*Note: Do not use “light” butter in the brownie recipe or the frosting recipe. Reduced fat butter will lend a tough, hard brownie.
Are these brownies healthy? LOL no.
Are these brownies pareve? No.
Are they sinfully delicious and about to bring me a giant blue ribbon at work tomorrow? Yes. Yes they are.