Tag Archives: brownies

Peanut butter tahini swirl chocolate brownies

Peanut butter and tahini, two lovely, tasty oily pastes that can be great editions to baked goods. I love peanut butter, especially good stuff made without daft additives. It doesn’t need added sugar, it doesn’t need artificial sweeteners and it doesn’t need palm oil, soya oil, rapeseed oil, especially not hydrogenated oil.

Peanuts, simply ground up, make for a delicious and suprisingly nutritious product. Peanuts are actually legumes – more pea than nut – so are full of protein for starters. I remember learning about calories in biology at school (many many years ago) by weighing then burning then weighing a peanut. They’re essentially half fat, but much of that is unsaturated: 31% polyunsatuared, 46% monounsatured, 18% saturated*. Peanuts also contain fibre, antioxidants, vitamins thiamin (B1), niacin (B3), folate (B9) and others, and minerals magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper and manganese . Tahini, ground-up sesame seeeds, meanwhile contains essential fatty acids, copper and manganese.

Adding peanut butter and tahini to a brownie mix makes it especially gooey and delectable. I’d seen recipes online that used some one or the other, but as I had a jar of each, both running out, my version involved both, plus the tahini swirl. My version also involves both cocoa and chocolate, cut up into coarse chunks. If you’re making brownies, you can’t mess around with the chocolate – it has to be plentiful, rich and dark.

As for the peanut butter, I used my normal type, which is wholenut crunchy, with skins and all, no added sugar. Some brownie recipes might suggest you use a smooth type with all that sugar and extra oil but meh to that. The wholesome crunchy type adds depth of flavour and texture. I’ve also used some oats as they help keep it moist. And as I don’t have a problem with wheat – indeed, I love the stuff, especially well-husbanded grain ground into quality flour – I added some wheat flour too.

Pile of tahini brownies

This recipe is loosely adapted from Lick and Spoon, who adapted it from here, though the my tahini swirl is inspired by yet another recipe, here.

I’m not going to pretend these are “skinny” – there’s enough sugar in there for them to qualify as a properly sweet, calorific treat, an indulgent part of a balanced diet and relatively active lifestyle. They do at least contain a smattering of the abovementioned vitamins and minerals if you’re the type who likes to beat themselves up about their foods.

70g peanut butter
50g tahini
80g full-fat yoghurt
160g full-fat milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder
50g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
50g oatmeal
130g light brown sugar
100g dark chocolate (60% cocoa mass or more), chopped into chunks

Tahini swirl
1 egg
60g tahini
20g caster sugar
1/2 t vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Grease and line a square 20 x 20cm baking tin.
3. Sieve together flour, cocoa and baking powder.
4. Stir in the salt, oats, sugars and chocolate chips.
5. Beat together the peanut butter, yogurt, milk, egg.
6. Pour the wet mix into the dry, beating with hand blender.
7. Blend to a runny mixture.
8. Pour into the baking tin.
9. Beat together the tahini swirl ingredients until well combined and blended.
10. Drop blobs on top of choc mixture and swirl with tip of a knife.
11. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
12. Cool, cut and serve.


* ‘The Food Bible’, Judith Wills



Filed under Baking, Cakes, Recipes

Brazil nut, maple and white chocolate blondies

White chocolate maple Brazil nut blondies

If you’re a baking obsessive and have a bit of a sweet tooth, you’ll know that feeling when you just have to have something sweet and homemade in the house. Call it a sugar addiction, but I prefer to think of it as enthusiasm. (I’m not allowed to say I’m passionate about it though, as that’s Fran’s linguistic bugbear du jour.)

The other day, I was heading home, thinking, Damn, we’ve eaten all the last batch of cookies. I fancied something chocolately, and while some chocolate cookies are quick to knock out and conventional brownies are  easy to make (I normally use a no-nonsense Stephanie Alexander recipe I’ll post here one of these days), I thought I’d veer towards blondies instead.

For those who haven’t encountered them before, blondies are like brownies – a gooey, sweet, tray-bake – but are light in colour and flavoured more by the sugar (something rich like Demerara), and not by cocoa and dark chocolate.

White chocolate maple Brazil nut blondies

Here’s what I came up with.

75g unsalted butter
100g Demerara sugar
80g maple syrup
75g plain flour
1 t baking powder
2 eggs
1 t vanilla essence
100g brazil nuts
100g white chocolate

1. Preheat the oven 180C (160F fan).
2. Grease and line a square or rectangular baking tin. I used a 22cm square.
3. Melt together the butter and sugar, until the latter is starting to dissolve.
4. Add the maple syrup to the butter and sugar and remove from heat.
5. Sieve together the flour and baking powder.
6. Beat the sugar-butter mixture into the flour.
7. Beat the eggs and vanilla into the mixture.
8. Coarsely chop the nuts and white chocolate and stir into the mixture.
9. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth.
10. Bake for about 20 minutes. As with brownies, you don’t want to over-bake blondies, you want them to retain some moisture and squidge. Exact cooking time will depend on your oven.



Filed under Baking, Cakes, Recipes