Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Peanut Butter Brownie Balls: Brownies From A Box

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While I do prefer to make my own brownies from scratch, I do occasionally use boxed brownie mix.  Why?  Laziness and quality control.  Homemade brownies, like many other baked goods, can be a little finicky and if any one ingredient is measured incorrectly or the batter is over-beaten, they will not turn out correctly.  Boxed mixes, on the other hand, are really difficult to sabotage - and really easy to improve.

Altering the final product is one way I like to play with store-bought brownies.  I have come up with dozens of ways to change it up and one favorite is a variation of a favorite treat of mine: cake pops.  Brownies, with their dense fudginess, do not hold up very well on a stick but the spherical shape does work.  And it only seems fitting to stuff the center with peanut butter because why not?  Then a final coating of chocolate, a little garnish and you have Peanut Butter Brownie Balls.

Peanut Butter Brownie Balls

Brownies

  • 1 box brownie mix
  • eggs (as directed)
  • oil (as directed)
  • water (as directed)

Ganache

  • 1 C chocolate chips or wafers
  • 1/2 C heavy cream

Filling

  • 1/2 C peanut butter

Garnish

  • peanut butter chips (optional)


Equipment

  • 2 bowls (one microwave safe)
  • whisk or large spoon
  • small spoon or scoop
  • large knife or pizza cutter
  • measuring cups
  • baking pan
  • cutting board
  • parchment paper

Prepare the brownies as directed; be sure to line the pan with parchment paper so the brownies are easy to remove from the pan.  When they are finished baking, pull the parchment out of the pan and allow the brownies to cool for 10-15 minutes on a baking rack or cutting board.  This breaks a cardinal rule of brownie baking, but for this recipe you will need to cut them while they are still slightly warm so that you can shape them into balls.  Using a sharp knife or (better yet) a pizza cutter to first remove the edges and then cut the rest into pieces, starting in the center so that all the pieces are an equal size.  For 8x8 or 9x9-inch pans, cut the pieces smaller (approximately 1”); if you are using a larger rectangular pan, cut bigger portions (between 1” and 2”).

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Set aside the edges of the brownies (or eat them immediately) and flatten each of the squares.  Spoon or scoop a bit of peanut butter into the center of each square and gently fold over and roll into a ball.  If the brownies are too cool they will break up and be more difficult to work with – this is why you want them to still be a little warm.

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Some peanut butter may escape but that is okay as they will be coated in chocolate.  Roll all the balls out and set aside while you melt the chocolate.

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Yes, they resemble truffles...or animal excrement.  This is why they are dipped in chocolate.

In a small microwavable bowl, combine the chocolate and heavy cream.  Microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring in between (it should only take two).  Roll each ball in the chocolate ganache and place on a plate or sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

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Garnish each ball with a peanut butter chip (or several) and refrigerate to let the ganache set.  These do not have to be refrigerated before serving but the chocolate will be softer at room temperature.

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