Before I had children I had no notion of just how different boys and girls really are. Not in the stereotypical ‘girls play with dolls’ and ‘boys play with cars’ sort of way – not always the case anyhow – but the difference in temperament. My daughter Anya and little boy Sam are 4 1/2 years apart. By the the time Sam arrived we were used to Anya who was happy to amuse herself by playing with toys, drawing or watching the same Disney film over and over again. Turns out little boys are very much like puppies however. Unless they are taken out and exhausted, they will run around in circles (literally) and paw at the door (again, literally).
On rainy weekends Sam runs around the length of the house and makes it very obvious just how bored he is. The local museum has sadly lost its appeal, there’s only so many times we can visit the library… so the ‘keep Sam busy’ solution is baking. So was the case yesterday and the kids chose brownies as our recipe of the day. Thankfully brownies have all the elements that make them perfect for baking with children – easy, quick and absolutely delicious. Just please don’t teach your 5 year old how the kitchen timer works. Unless you want them to count down 30 minutes in real time.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies
I wanted to make pretzel brownies since I had a bag of salted pretzels knocking around the house. The kids refused to let me put any in the batter but I think that would work quite nicely. You can use smooth or crunchy peanut butter – I think a bit of crunch would be lovely.
Makes about 30 small squares
200g | 7oz unsalted butter, cubed
200g | 7oz dark chocolate minimum 70% cocoa solids
200g | 7oz (caster) sugar
100g | 3.5oz light brown sugar
2-3 heaped tbsp unsweetened peanut butter
1 tbsp honey
4 large eggs
125g | 4.4oz plain (all purpose) flour
7 level tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
handful small salted pretzels
pinch coarse sea salt (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C | 350F. Line a deep a square pan (9x9in) with baking paper letting the paper hang over the edges.
- Chop the chocolate into small chunks. Place the chocolate and butter into a small pot and allow them to slowly melt over very low heat. Add the peanut butter and honey and stir together until smooth. Take off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Put the eggs and sugar in large bowl and use a electric hand whisk to mix together until frothy. You can also whisk by hand.
- Add a little of the melted chocolate into the eggs and gently whisk together. Gradually add all the chocolate and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
- Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into the chocolate and fold together with a spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Add pretzels over the top in a neat pattern and sprinkle with a pinch coarse sea salt if you like.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. The brownies are ready when mostly firm on top with a slight ‘give’. Test after 30 minutes – a skewer inserted in the centre should come out with a few moist crumbs attached but if batter is still too wet bake for a further 5 mins.
- Pull the brownies out of the tin using the baking paper and allow to cool on a wire rack. Cut into small squares using the pretzels as a guide.