Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies
This past weekend, I traveled to Orlando to visit family one last time before I’m due to crank out this baby. At 33 weeks pregnant, waddling around the airport with a wiggly toddler and a carry-on bag full of snacks, diapers, and a well worn copy of “Goodnight Moon” made me a sight to see. By the time we arrived to the sunshine state, Aimee was covered in Goldfish crumbs and chocolate, I was covered in Aimee’s Goldfish/chocolate drool, and we both were in desperate need of a little personal space.
Winding down the last few weeks of pregnancy is a lot like the last couple weeks of school before summer break. I have a never-ending checklist of things to do, things to buy, things to make, and things to wrap up. Baby items to purchase, baby room decor to hang, and a baby quilt to finish sewing. Recipes to test, blog posts to write, photos to take, and groceries to buy. Start a load of wash, make dinner, go to the grocery store again, and do more wash. Feed toddler, bathe toddler, play with toddler, change toddler’s diaper. Go to work, work out, go pee for the millionth time, and try to remember to shave legs/ bathe/ put on deodorant sometime before my husband comes home.
Meanwhile, my pregnancy app on my phone keeps saying, “Relax! Put your feet up! Pamper yourself! You’re glowing!”
Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies
This bar has three layers that consist of a pretzel shortbread crust, a creamy peanut butter cup filling, and a rich, chocolate brownie on top. They are sweet, salty, decadent, and everything in between.
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
For the pretzel shortbread
- 4 ounces (about 2 cups) salted pretzel crumbs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
For the peanut butter filling
- 3/4 cup of peanut butter (creamy or crunchy is fine)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1-1/4 cup confectioners sugar
For the brownie
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
- 8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup of mini chocolate chips, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan (15″x10″x1″) with parchment paper and spray the sides with baking spray.
- In a double boiler or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, prep the brownies. Cut up butter and chocolate into small pieces and places these in the bowl, allowing to melt while you prepare the other layers of this bar. Be sure to check in on it every couple minutes or so, stirring as needed. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Keep on the stovetop only as long as the chocolate and butter is continuing to melt.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse pretzel crumbs until they are the consistency of sand. Add the flour, brown sugar, and salt, pulsing briefly to combine. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and pulse the food processor until a dry, crumbly dough comes together. This took about 1 minute of pulsing on my machine.
- Pat the dough out into the prepared jelly roll pan and bake in the oven for ten minutes.
- While pretzel shortbread is in the oven and the chocolate and butter is melting on the stovetop, combine the peanut butter and milk in the same bowl of your food processor. (It’s not necessary to wash it out yet- hooray!) Whiz in the food processor until smooth and combined. Add the confectioners sugar and pulse until thick, dry clumps come together. This mixture will appear similar to the inside of a peanut butter cup. Set aside in another bowl.
- Back in the same food processor bowl, add the eggs, vanilla, and sugar for your brownie layer. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and pulse to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and mix just until combined. Remove from machine and stir half of the chocolate chips in by hand.
- Sprinkle clumps of the peanut butter filling evenly over the top of the shortbread crust. Pour the brownie batter over top of the shortbread and peanut butter clumps and smooth out evenly in the pan. Your pan will be full. Sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chips over the top of the batter.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, carefully rap the pan on the rack of the oven several times to help air to escape the pan. Continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out with barely moist clumps on it. Do not overbake.
- Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes and then cool completely in the fridge before slicing.