Last weekend was my mother’s birthday. Us six kids wanted to plan it and do something fun. My mom makes every birthday super special for us. She makes us whatever dinner and dessert we choose and there usually is a party involved- when I say party that could just mean the immediate family attended, which makes it 18 people (kids and adults). So pretty much it is always a party. My family likes their birthdays and there are lots of them! So we wanted to return the favor and have her get pampered for her big day. However, I have to say my mom is one of the most difficult people to throw a birthday for. It was like pulling teeth to find out what she wanted to do and eat. We pretty much had to plan it all and pick the menu. We knew if she got too involved she would try to do the whole thing herself. She kept offering to do a grocery store run, make something, and she insisted on helping clean the house. I eventually had to allow her to do something just to keep her occupied 🙂
When I first asked her about what dessert she would like, she mentioned wanting to try these Peanut Butter and Jelly (Jam) Brownies. As grandma, she watches four of my nieces regularly. There are lots of peanut butter sandwiches involved and so I was not completely surprised by her dessert choice. Also, even though she is a gourmet cook, she loves her peanut butter and jelly (or honey). She will often prefer it over some rich, extravagant dish. I have never seen someone so delighted and satisfied by this simple sandwich. She makes a pretty mean one though- I do not know if it is just the love she puts into it, the melted butter in addition to peanut butter, or the big heap of honey that soaks into the warm bread, but hers always taste a 100 times better!
Needless to say, she is an amazing mom. If the “worst” thing about my mom is that she has a hard time being pampered because she is always caring for others needs, I would say I have a pretty sweet mom 😀 So with that I want to also dedicate this post to Mother’s Day. If you’re still looking for a dessert to surprise mom, brownies are always a good option and these are a little extra special 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful Moms and Grandmas!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Brownies
~Adapted from Jamie Oliver
250 ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod
2 large free-range egg yolks
50 g sugar
1 T heaped cornflour
20 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 T (heaped) smooth peanut butter
230 g (1 c) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
250 g (3- 85 oz bars) quality dark chocolate (70%)
230 g (1 c) sugar
4 large free-range eggs
150 g (2/3 c) flour
2 T (however much you like) jam
Notes: Jamie uses skim milk but whole milk seems the most appropriate for brownies! The recipe says golden caster sugar but I just used regular granulated sugar. Fresh fruit is an option but I did not want this included. For the jam, I used an incredible seedless black raspberry jam. I literally could eat it by the spoonfuls! I used a sea salt dark chocolate.
To make the custard:
- Put milk into a pan, halve the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add both pod and seeds to the pan and lightly simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, use a whisk to combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and soft butter.
- Whisking constantly, gradually pour the hot milk into the bowl. Return the custard mixture to the pan. Put on low heat and stir gently until thickened.
- Stir in the peanut butter, then leave the custard to cool completely.
To make the brownies:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Grease (and line if desired) a 8in x 11.5in (20cm x 30cm) baking dish.
- Melt the butter in a non-stick pan on a very low heat, then snap up and add the chocolate.
- Stir regularly until melted and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.
- Let cool slightly. Then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until silky smooth.
- Add the flour (sift if you like) and mix well.
- Pour the brownie mix into the prepared dish.
- Swirl through the chilled custard (discarding the vanilla pod). Note: Jamie keeps his custard beautifully on top. I got carried away swirling and it ended up all mixed in. I am sure both are delicious!
- Erratically distribute little spoonfuls of jam over the surface.
- Bake for around 25 minutes, or until cooked on the outside but still a bit gooey in the middle.
- Leave to cool for 1 hour.
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