Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Peanuts

Kathleen Davis brought these to a recent holiday gathering at our house. She cut them into very tiny, elegant squares, which everyone seemed to appreciate. I’ve noticed that at parties, the smallest cookies on the plate are the ones that disappear fastest — people want to sample many things without stuffing themselves.

Brownies
3/4 C (1-1/2 sticks) butter (unsalted)
7 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 C sugar
1-1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
4 eggs
1 C flour
1 C roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Frosting
1 C chunky peanut butter (the processed kind with sugar, not the natural kind)
1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 C powdered sugar
1/8 t salt
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1 T whole milk
1 t vanilla extract

Ganache
1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
7 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

For the brownies: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 F. Line a 13×9 inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving foil overhanging the ends, and butter the foil.

Place 3/4 C butter in heavy large saucepan. Add both chocolates, stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour, then the nuts. Spread this mixture in the prepared pan. Bake until a tester in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached — about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack, let cool.

For the frosting: Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter and 1/4 C butter in a medium bowl. Beat in the powdered sugar, salt, nutmeg. Then beat in the milk and vanilla. Spread this frosting over the brownies.

For the ganache: Stir the chocolate and 1/4 C butter in a heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Drop ganache all over the frosting, spread to cover. Chill until set, about an hour and a half.

Using the foil as an aid, transfer the brownie cake to work surface and cut into small squares. Bring to room temperature before serving.