I’m fairly certain that I have never made a brookie.
I’ve heard of them before, sure. But for some reason, last week when I was trying to think of some kind of chocolate dessert I could make for the blog that was Valentine’s Day-ish, the thought of a layered dessert led to a brownie, led to a cookie, led to a brookie.
I have a history of grand layered dessert ideas failing me. Orange slices on cakes tend to get swallowed from view when baked. And fillings or layers? Let’s just say they are a lot like socks in the dryer. They exist when I place the pan in the oven only to mysteriously disappear when the timer buzzes.
So needless to say, I wasn’t quite sure how these would turn out.
I took my go-to shortbread-ish cookie recipe, Scottish Ale Shortbread Squares, from my book Food on Tap, took out the beer and added melted, unsweetened chocolate. I debated about making a peanut butter filling, but after remembering my past with disappearing layers, I decided to go with a crumble that went over the top.
I worried a bit that it too might get swallowed up during baking, but it ended up being a huge success!
It all came together in a chocolate shortbread crust, topped with a dense brownie and then a peanut butter crumb topping. I like to bake it in a loaf pan so you can easily slice off bars.
The serving size is based on a full bar for a served dessert. If these are going on a cookie tray or as part of a potluck, you could easily get away with cutting those bars in half for double the servings as smaller pieces.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brookie Bars
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
What you’ll need:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon milk (any variety)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 large egg
1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup unsweetened peanut butter*
1/3 cup powdered sugar
*Note. Use previously opened peanut butter that has been stored in the fridge. A new jar with thin, oily natural peanut butter may not be thick enough to form the crumble.
How to make it:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a non-stick, 8.5-x-4.5-inch loaf pan with parchment so that the paper extends over the long sides of the pan by a few inches. It’s okay if the parchment only covers the bottom and long sides of the pan (leaving the two short ends uncovered). The purpose is for it to allow you to lift the brookie out the pan and slice.
For the cookie, beat the butter, powdered sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer for about 2 minutes until blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Mix in the vanilla and half of the melted chocolate (reserve the other half for the brownies). Next, blend in the milk, the salt, and then add the flour a little at a time. Let mix on medium to medium-high until the dough goes from crumbly to a thick cookie dough that holds together. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the loaf pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
For the brownies, stir together the sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a large bowl. Stir in the egg. Then stir in the reserved cooled, melted chocolate. Toss together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl and stir until all ingredients are combined. Pour the brownie batter over the partially baked cookie layer.
Use a fork to stir together the peanut butter and powdered sugar. This takes a bit of work, but once combined it will resemble a crumble topping. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the brownie.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Run a knife along the two short ends between the brookies and the pan, if necessary. Grasp both sides of the parchment and lift the brookies out of a pan and place on a cutting board. Let cool completely before slicing to serve.