Today is a big day—the day the second of three T-boys graduates from high school, which means my sister Heidi only has one more graduation before she’s an empty nester. Although my kids are just in middle school, I can only imagine the mixed emotions you feel when your child graduates and goes off to build their own life. The excitement of the day calls for one of Heidi’s favorite sweets. Cut yourself a big square because these brownies combine the flavors of rich chocolate and smooth peanut butter in a cross between cake-like and fudgey bars.
Garritt’s (the only middle child in the family other than me) party was last weekend so I baked baby cheesecakes, including his favorite Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Today, we celebrate with him as he walks across the stage and accepts his high school diploma. And today we celebrate with my sister Heidi who is a mom that many of us aspire to be like. (And now that I took the time to write this post this morning, I’ll be late for my lunch with her — good thing these brownies have forgiving powers!)
Do any of you empty nesters have advice for my Heritage-Softail-riding-hardworking-sports-mama sister?
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Brownies
- 1 9×13 baking pan
- 1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks
- 5 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 2⅓ cups sugar, divided, 2 cups for brownie batter, ⅓ cup for cream cheese mixture
- 6 eggs, divided , 5 eggs for brownie batter, 1 egg for cream cheese mixture
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13 pan or line with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate together, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of sugar, 5 eggs, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until fluffy. Slowly beat in the chocolate mixture until combined.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. Gradually add it to the chocolate mixture, beating until well combined. Spread into the prepared pan and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 egg. Beat on medium speed until creamy.
- Drop the peanut butter mixture onto the chocolate mixture and spread until smooth or gently marble with a knife.
- Bake for 38-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with minimal crumbs. Cool completely before serving.
All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets