Rye and peanut butter brownies

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Brownies, in my opinion, too often get by on reputation alone. I think many of us hold a platonic ideal of a brownie in our minds; it’s indulgent, rich with the flavour of chocolate, probably a little fudgy, and perfectly balanced between sweet, salty, and bitter. However a lot of brownies fall short of this, instead delivering something one dimensional. 

When developing my recipe, I thought about a way to layer flavours and enhance the central ingredient, chocolate, while offering just a little bit more. Texture is another crucial component in a great brownie and wholemeal rye flour lends itself perfectly to that fudgy bite thanks to a low protein content. Together with coffee, salt, two different types of sugar, and deep roasted peanut butter, the brownies have a rich flavour that reveals its depth with every bite. 

A small note on ingredients: during the first lockdown I really enjoyed how most recipe writers acknowledged limitations in ingredient sourcing and suggested swaps, something I do hope is here to stay. With that in mind, you can absolutely make this recipe with regular all purpose flour, caster sugar, and whatever peanut butter you have around. It will still be delicious, as long as you balance the flavour with salt, and watch your baking time.

150g dark chocolate (70%)
150g unsalted butter
3 eggs at room temperature
100g wholemeal rye flour
100g coconut or soft dark brown sugar
100g soft light brown sugar
1tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2tsp salt
1tsp instant coffee
2tbsp deep roast peanut butter
(I used Manilife)
Handful of roasted salted peanuts for the topping

  • Line a baking tin (I used a square 20cm one) and preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together over a bain marie, ensuring that the bowl doesn't touch the water, stirring until melted. Once melted, take it off the heat and add the coffee until dissolved, followed by the salt, both sugars, and vanilla. 
  • Leave to cool a little before adding the eggs, one by one, and stirring to combine. Finally, Tip in your flour and bring together until everything is incorporated. 
  • Pour your brownie mixture into the lined tin. Take 1tbsp of peanut butter and let it fall randomly in little pieces all over the surface of the batter, then repeat once more. Then take a chopstick or a knife and try to connect the dots in smooth, fluid motions until you have swirls. Finally, scatter over a small handful of your peanuts. 
  • Bake the brownies for 25 minutes, until a crust has formed on top, then remove from the oven. Let the brownies rest for about an hour before cutting into them. I personally think they taste even better the next day, when all the flavours have had a chance to hang out together and the texture a chance to properly set.