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Peanut Butter and Caramel Brownies

Is it possible to put everything we love in a two-by two-inch square and serve it on a plate? It is now!!! These are the most wonderful, gooey, chocolatey, gooey, caramel-y, gooey, crunchy , , , well, you get the idea! The recipe has you make you own caramel which can be fiddly: make your life easier and use a good quality jarred caramel, adding the vanilla and sea salt. Oh, by the way, you are most welcome for this one!

Peanut Butter and Caramel Brownies

For the brownie:

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate
9 tbs. butter
7 oz. golden caster stage (1 cup plus 3 tbs.)
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4.5 oz. all-purpose flour (¾ cup)
1 tbs. cocoa
3.5 oz. roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped (¾ cup)

For the caramel:

3.5 oz. caster sugar (½ cup plus 1½ tbs.)
3 fl. oz.heavy cream
2 tbs. butter (2 tbs.)
½ tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
½ tsp. sea salt flakes

For the peanut cheesecake:

5.25 oz. soft cream cheese
2 oz. golden caster sugar (¾ cup)
2.5 oz. chunky peanut butter (¼ cup)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the caramel first by tipping the sugar into a pan with 1 tbs. water and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook to a deep, amber-colored caramel. Slowly and gradually add the cream, stirring constantly. Add the butter and vanilla, then stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium and cook for another few minutes, until the caramel is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the sea salt. Chill for an hour, or until thickened.

Heat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9-inch square pan, then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

To make the peanut cheesecake, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing to combine. (A small food processor is useful here.)

To make the brownies, melt the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water. Stir until smooth, then cool slightly. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth and silky. Stir in the flour, cocoa, and a pinch of salt.

Spread half the brownie mixture in the pan, drizzle with all but 2 tbs. of the caramel and scatter two-thirds of the chopped peanuts. Carefully spoon the remaining brownie mixture on top. Dollop on the peanut cheesecake in random order and swirl lightly with the brownie using a knife or the handle of a spoon. Scatter the remaining peanuts and drizzle the remaining caramel.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the brownie has set and risen slightly at the edges. It will still be slightly soft the middle. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares.

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