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Tapping peanuts for a treat

Friday, December 18, 2009

My tap dance instructor threw his year-end party today. It was a potluck which started at around 3pm with tap videos and tea and led on to dinner. I was assigned a teatime snack and after thorough discussions with my classmates (we take our food assignments seriously; something that we should do with our tap drills as well, but... you know...), one of them, Chak, suggested peanut butter brownies.He was supposed to make Soda Gembira (Malay for Happy Soda) - a red syrup drink (Malaysians know it as Air Bandung) with ice cream soda, Kahlua, Malibu and another liqueur which I forget now - as the welcome drink, but he couldn't make it to the party at the last minute so we didn't get quite as happy as we could have been. Sigh...

The brownie was supposed to come out stripier but I guess I zagged when I should have zigged (see recipe). Don't worry, that won't stop anyone from eating it.

I have provided a recipe for the base of this brownie, but you can use any plain brownie recipe (I really shouldn't say "plain" because a brownie is never plain) for it. Use a box mix if you want - some of them are really good - though with this recipe, the only extra effort you need to make is sifting the dry ingredients together.

For the recipe...

Makes a 25cm square pan

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup caster sugar
2 medium eggs*
⅓ cup vegetable oil
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup buttermilk
¾ cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

Peanut Butter Swirl
1 cup creamy peanut butter
⅓ cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or melted butter)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium egg*
  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 25cm square baking pan with baking paper. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the peanut butter swirl, mix well, then set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder together.
  • In a large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs and oil together until light (I use a manual whisk but feel free to use a power tool). Stir in the vanilla extract until blended. Stir in the flour mixture and buttermilk just until combined. Stir in the nuts if using.
  • Turn ⅔ of the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Spoon dollops of peanut butter mixture on this layer. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining brownie batter in between. Do not smooth out. Using the tip of a table knife, make a zigzag through the layers to create a marbled effect. Bake in preheated oven until the centre of the brownie appears set and the sides just start to pull away from the pan, about 28 to 30 minutes.
  • Cool brownies in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm before cutting into squares.
* I use medium eggs for ethical reasons. In this recipe, the smaller size doesn't effect the brownies. In fact, I find they add to the chewiness.


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