Wednesday, May 18, 2011

party desserts: peanut butter brownies

Made it.  This past weekend was absolutely crazy.  I paced myself, but you know how some things just need to be done at the very end so they either can't be undone or so they are absolutely fresh?  Sunday was the day I've been working towards for about three weeks and all the hard work paid off with a very festive graduation party for Miss Sara.  The kicker was Sunday morning Sara and I were in charge of our one-day 2 x 4 sale for Habitat for Humanity at our church.  So we were up early like a school day and then home after noon before a 3:00 party.  A true test of my dusty skills of organization, delegation (never been good at that one), triage and preparation.  A new appreciation for the energy expended on both endeavors.  And a whole new understanding of why I rarely wear heels (ouch, but I did look fabulous and no, there are no pictures of me being way too busy hostessing over 100 people).

Sara was surrounded by friends and family all important to her in so many different ways.  Sara's graduating class numbers close to 1,200 which is a very impressive number.  More impressive, however, are the accomplishments and destinations of her friends.  As I mixed and mingled with her classmates, I would of course ask where they are attending school next year and what they are planning on studying.   How many neuroscientists were in my house?  Seriously, I'm not kidding.  Micro-cellular-something-something biology.  Great things will come from those I fed pounds of queso, guacamole and brownies.

To go along with the Costco sheet cake, Kelly and I baked toffee brownies, Ghiradelli brownies and peanut butter brownies.  The peanut butter brownies are not for those of you afraid of butter and sugar, but they will disappear quickly at a party because they are insanely delicious.  I used to make these often when Kelly was a swimmer.  Swimmers can, should and do eat anything.  The frosting is like peanut butter fudge.  Extremely dangerous to spread the frosting if you are counting calories.  So don't count, enjoy some frosting and go an extra mile the next day.  Worth it.

Madison, Sara, Clay, Zane and Sig in the dining room

The grad party was particularly fun for me because so many of Sara's friends follow my blog and I have not had the opportunity to feed many of them.  They were my motivation to keep going when I was dead tired and on my feet in the kitchen for hours too numerous to count.  Three days later, the clean-up is done, the leftovers (though not many) have been incorporated into our meals and the exhaustion has passed so I can catch up with my posting.


Peanut Butter Brownies

16 oz. jar natural peanut butter, stirred if needed and divided (don't miss that last part)
1 1/2 C firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 C unsalted butter, melted and divided (again, pay attention or your brownies will be really buttery)
4 eggs
1 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
3 C confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 to 5 T milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine 1 1/4 C peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 C of the melted butter in a medium bowl and mix until smooth.  Beat in eggs until well combined.  Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and combine with creamed mixture.   Pour into a greased 9 X 13 baking pan and use a spatula to spread evenly and smooth the top.

Bake 25-30 minutes until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Cream remaining 3/4 C peanut butter, 14 C melted butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla and 3 T of the milk.  Beat until smooth and fluffy.  Stir in remaining 2 T of milk until frosting is a good consistency for spreading.  When the brownies are completely cool, spread the frosting evenly and leave a little in your bowl to treat yourself!

Oops, all the brownies are gone and I did not get any pictures.  Hmmmmm...  thought I did.  Guess I'll just have to make them again and post them later, sorry.  They are just delightful golden shiny "light brownies".

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