Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Peanut Butter Brownie Torte

I had been wanting to make this dessert for months, just thinking about it and drooling over it. Why didn't I make it sooner? I knew this was a recipe that needed to be shared. Peanut butter and chocolate together is my weakness. Add brownies to the mix, and I have no self-control. I knew I'd end up eating the majority of this decadent torte if it were made for just us. When my nephew was home from college a few weeks ago, and the family was getting together, I instantly knew what I'd be bringing.

The original recipe makes two small tortes using 4½ inch spring form pans. I don't even have one pan that small, let alone the six needed. What I did have was three 9 inch pans. I figured I could make one torte with the larger pans instead of two with the smaller. I mean, 4½ times 2 equal 9, right? Everything would be fine, right? 


The brownie layers were incredibly thin. Very tasty, sure, but so flimsy that they wouldn't hold up to the peanut butter mousse in between the layers. It was just an hour before everyone would show up at my parents' house where I was baking. The prime rib was cooking away in the roaster, the potatoes were ready to be placed in the oven, the rolls were rising on the counter . . . and the brownie layers were crumbling into pieces. 

It was at this point that I asked, "Why did I choose a recipe that I had to completely adapted for the first time for company???"

I ended up starting over - this time doubling the brownie layers. I was working frantically - leaving the used ingredients scattered around, sprinkling trails of powder across the counter, and splattering batter all over the kitchen - trying to get them in the oven before the temp needed to be changed for the potatoes.

There was one thing though that made it all ok. One aspect that made my frenzied endeavor bearable - eating the discarded brownies. Oh. My. Goodness. They were so fudgy and chocolatey. And addicting. I enjoyed entirely too many bites. Definitely a good sign for the finished product.

I finished assembling the torte after dinner. I learned something that day: it's not a good idea to take food pictures when you have a group of people waiting to eat the subject. I don't know how many times I heard "Are you done yet?"

Let me tell you, this dessert is rich - and I like rich. But this is rich. One sliver of a piece is all you really need. Unless you chill the torte first. Wow. The next day, after sitting in the fridge, this was amazing! I walked into the kitchen and found Zac sitting at the table with the entire plate just eating away. I know, that boy eats everything, but even Jake, who is not into chocolate, could not stop gobbling this up. It's that good. The only thing I would change is to leave off the chocolate ganache. It really is too much, in my opinion. But that mousse? I could eat that with a spoon!    

Please,  if you like peanut butter, chocolate, brownies, and all things delicious, make this torte!

But don't play around with the recipe when you're pressed for time. Unless you want to snack on the extra brownies.

Peanut Butter Brownie Torte
3 brownie rounds (recipe follows)
peanut butter cream cheese mousse (recipe follows)
peanut butter cup pieces (I used 1 king size bag of Reese's PB Cup Minis)
chocolate ganache (recipe follows)

Brownie Rounds
1⅓ cups unsalted butter, melted                                       ½ cup cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar                                                   1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs                                                                            ½ tsp baking powder
2 egg yolks                                                                     pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract                                                          1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Butter and flour three 9-inch diameter spring form pans. Set aside.
2. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar, about 2 minutes. Add in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Beat another minute. Pour in cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
3. Fold in chocolate chips until completely distributed throughout the brownie batter.
4. Evenly distribute the batter into the three prepared pans. Bake for 20-23 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse
½ cup whipping cream, chilled                                        ⅓ cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
5 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature               ⅓ cup peanut butter

1. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the whipped cream on high until stiff peaks form. Place into a bowl and set aside.
2. Add the cream cheese and peanut butter into the mixer and whisk on medium speed, until fully incorporated. Add powdered sugar and mix until combined.
3. Add whipped cream back into bowl and whisk on medium high until peanut butter mixture and whipped cream are fully incorporated and the texture is light and fluffy.
4. Place into a medium sized bowl and set in fridge while brownies fully cool, at least 30 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache
4 ½ ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
½ cup heavy whipping cream

1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl.
2. In a small saucepan bring cream to a boil. Once the boil starts, pour over chocolate. Let sit 5 minutes. 
3. Whisk until mixture is smooth and glossy.

To Assemble the Torte
1. Remove brownie from spring form pans. Place one brownie circle on a plate. Add 1/3 of the  peanut butter mousse. Scatter a handful of peanut butter cups on top. 
2. Place another brownie round on top of the that. Then add another 1/3 of the peanut butter mousse. Then add more peanut butter cups.
3. Place third brownie round on top of second layer. Add remaining peanut butter mousse and more peanut butter cups.
4. Pour the ganache over the top of the torte. Best if chilled.
Recipe adapted from Peabody.
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  1. I have made this before but with a different recipe. I used a boxed mix to make the brownie rounds but then I used your recipe for the peanut butter mousse. It was out of this world! So much better than the peanut butter filling in the other recipe I had tried. Thanks!

    1. The mousse is amazing! I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by. :)