These Marshmallow Peanut Butter Brownies (a.k.a. Evil Brownies) are pretty dangerous. I’ve had this idea of layering a peanut butter and marshmallow topping over a brownie base for some time, but it took hosting We Should Cocoa this month with a marshmallow theme to make me actually do it. I was initially not going to share this recipe as I thought it came out too tall, but then I couldn’t stop eating them so I think they are worth sharing after all! There’s something about that ultra sweet marshmallow combined with the salty peanut butter that really works and the dark chocolate goes well with both of those ingredients. Because the brownies are cake-like and the marshmallow is so light, they are not too rich and it’s hard to eat just one.
These brownies are a little fussy, but the assembly can be spread out over time. The marshmallow layer is the only one that is a little intimidating, and I think a jar of marshmallow fluff would work if you don’t want to make your own marshmallow.
I started with a cake-like brownie base, using extra dark cocoa powder to make it really, really dark. When that was cool, I mixed together a can of dulce de leche (caramelized sweetened condensed milk) with some peanut butter and spread that on top of the brownies (this peanut butter layer is a revelation in itself and I can’t wait to use it in other recipes!). I then made a small batch of homemade marshmallows and spread that on top of the peanut butter. After curing the marshmallow layer for a few hours, I spread a chocolate layer on top to finish it off. Then the hard part, waiting for everything to set. It was worth the wait!
I’m entering these in We Should Cocoa this month, which I am happy to be hosting! The theme is marshmallow, since I can never have too much chocolate and marshmallow. The We Should Cocoa challenge, managed by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog, is a great excuse to make a chocolate treat and to use our creativity. The idea is to make something with chocolate each month. We can use any sort of chocolate or cocoa substance and use any ingredient that we like, but we must include the special ingredient or theme selected by the host.
- For the Brownies:
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- ½ cup extra dark cocoa powder
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- For the Peanut Butter Layer:
- 1 13oz can Dulce de Leche
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- For the Marshmallow Layer:
- 1 envelope (1 Tbsp.) powdered unflavored gelatin
- ¼ cup cold water
- 6T light honey, corn syrup or glucose syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup hot water
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- For the chocolate topping:
- 4 oz chopped chocolate
- 2 T unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9"x9" square pan with foil and grease it well.
- Mix sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining brownie ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt).
- Spread batter in the prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Mix together the dulce de leche, the peanut butter and the vanilla. Spread gently over the top of the brownies. If it's too thick to spread easily, heat it up for about 10 seconds in the microwave.
- Sprinkle the gelatin in the cold water and set it aside to soften.
- In a 1½ to 2 qt saucepan, combine the honey, sugar an hot water. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until the syrup reaches 240F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage).
- Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed, adding 2 tsp of the gelatin at a time, until all of the gelatin is added and the mixture turns white. Add the vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form, 10 minutes or more depending on the strength of your mixer.
- Spread the marshmallow layer on top of the peanut butter layer in the pan. Set it aside for several hours to let the marshmallow dry up a little bit and set up.
- Melt the chopped chocolate and butter together over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread the chocolate quickly over the marshmallow layer.
- Place the pan in the refrigerator for ½ hour to set up the chocolate layer.
- Lift the brownies gently out of the pan using the foil liner and cut with a knife that has been warmed up by running it under hot water and then dried. You may need to wipe off and reheat the knife a few times to cut all of the brownies.