Desserts don’t get much more decadent than this! Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Torte is a fudgy brownie layered with whipped peanut butter and rich ganache.
Lately, all of this gloomy winter weather has given me quite the appetite for something rich and intense. For example, this very dessert. It’s like a good shake by the shoulders, waking you (or your taste buds) from hibernation. It is certainly intense and so special occasion-worthy. I drafted this recipe first as a small pan of brownies, then decided that simply would not do. I remembered the silicone pan in my cabinet that is shaped like a peanut butter cup. And with some reconfiguring, I came up with this layered torte. But you don’t have to own a peanut butter cup-shaped silicone pan to make this! It molds well in a standard 9-inch springform pan.
So. What makes up this decadent chocolate-peanut butter confection? The base is a layer of intensely fudgy dark chocolate brownie. Its center is a no-bake whipped peanut butter filling, and butter ganache tops it all off. As the author of a cookbook dedicated to salty-sweets, the garnish comes as no surprise. Maldon salt is sea salt dried into brittle thin crystal pyramids, is the perfect garnish. It offers just the right amount of salt to all that sweetness. And it won’t melt away on top of the ganache.
Step-by-step brownie mixing.
The brownie layer has a few steps, but the fudgy end result is so worth it. Start with high quality semisweet chocolate finely chopped along with some cubed butter. Melt it in the microwave at 30 second intervals in a large mixing bowl until the mixture can be stirred smooth. Cubing the butter helps everything melt evenly.
Next, add the sugars and salt. Mix this up with a whisk. You don’t need an electric mixer for this part. But if you decide to use a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. We’re not looking to incorporate any air into this batter. If using a hand-held mixer, beat on low to medium low speed.
Whisk in the eggs and a smidgen of peanut butter. Yes, even the brownie layer has a secret scoop of peanut butter in the batter!
Sift in the dry ingredients, which includes a small amount of unsweet dark cocoa powder for extra richness.
Mix everything together by hand and pour the batter into a pan coated with cooking spray. I use this pan. Its intended purpose is to protect your cheesecake pan from getting water in it, but I use it to make Peanut Butter Cup-shaped treats.
Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees F, until well set. (Check with a toothpick.) I suppose, if you are in a big hurry, that you could begin this recipe with a prepackaged box brownie mix. But as written, the brownie layer is the perfect texture and flavor with the other components.
Peanut buttery goodness.
Next, whip up the peanut butter filling. It’s an easy no-cook, no-bake affair made with butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. (Did I mention this is indulgent?) But you will need an electric mixer, or stand mixer, for this part. It takes about 3 minutes of whipping on high speed to lighten this mixture well. Spoon and spread the whipped mixture over the cooled brownie layer in the pan. Chill well before adding the ganache.
In a microwavable bowl, heat together butter and chopped semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips) to make a rich chocolate ganache. Alternatively, you can make this in a saucepan over low heat. Pour this over the chilled peanut butter layer. The amount of ganache you use can be variable. My testers all noted that the ganache layer really brought the richness. Some returned their plate with a little ganache left on it. Therefore, use more or less to your taste. I’ll include instructions for a thinner layer of ganache, should you choose to lighten things up a little.
For those using a silicone pan, like me, freeze the dessert completely. Then unmold it as a solid disk from the pan and transfer to a serving plate. The silicone edges of pan will pull away from the sides of the frozen dessert easily while keeping the crenulated edges intact. If using a springform pan, then just a chill in the refrigerator will be sufficient.
Bring the Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Torte to room temperature before serving, and sprinkle on some flake sea salt for extra deliciousness.
The butter ganache and peanut butter filling become so soft at room temperature. It’s a luscious texture with the slightly chewy brownie. It’s better than a Reese’s cup, I tell ya! Make it for the peanut butter lover in your life – even if that person is YOU!
If you’re looking for other ways to make winter cozy with peanut butter and chocolate, try my Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa Bombs!
Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Torte
- 9-inch specialty silicone baking pan
- or 9-inch springform pan
- 6 oz. semisweet chocolate chopped
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter cubed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
Whipped peanut butter filling
- 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chopped (about 12 oz.)
- 1 cup unsalted butter cubed
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- Maldon sea salt for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Coat a 9-inch silicone pan or springform pan with flour-based baking spray
- Place the chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe mixing bowl. Heat at 100% power in a household microwave oven in 30 second intervals, until the mixture can be stirred smooth (about 1 minute 30 seconds total).
- Add the sugar, brown sugar, and salt; whisk until combined. Whisk in the peanut butter, eggs and yolk, and the vanilla.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the mixture. Fold together until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. If using a silicone pan, place it on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the brownie is well set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, or speed cooling in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes.
Whipped peanut butter layer
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the creamy peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Beat on high speed for 3-5 minutes, occasionally scraping down the bowl. Beat until lightened in color and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Scoop the whipped mixture on top of the cooled brownie and spread evenly over the entire surface. If using a silicone pan, place the pan in the freezer about 30 minutes. If using a springform pan, place in the refrigerator while you prepare the butter ganache.
- Place the butter and chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat at 100% power in a household microwave oven in 30 second intervals, until the mixture can be whisked smooth and a shiny ganache is formed (about 1 minute 30 seconds total). Stir in the salt.
- Pour the ganache over the chilled peanut butter layer and tilt the pan so that the ganache touches the edges of the pan.
- If using the silicone pan, freeze the layered brownie until completely solid, about 2 hours. To unmold, gently pull the edges of the pan away from the dessert, then remove from the pan. Let it come to room temperature before serving. If using a regular springform pan, refrigerate the dessert for 2-3 hours, or until the ganache is well set. To unmold, soak a tea towel with hot water and wring out; place around the edge of the springform pan to loosen the ganache and peanut butter from the springform collar. Unclip the collar and unmold.
- Garnish the torte with Maldon flake sea salt. Let the torte come to room temperature before serving.
Wow! That looks amazing!
OMG–I have to try this soon since I just love the combo of peanut butter and chocolate. I also happen to have some Nutella. What do you think about using that in place of the peanut butter? It’s sweet so maybe too sweet for this recipe? Thanks.
I think the Nutella would make this dessert very sweet, but you could serve it with unsweet whipped cream to cut the sweetness. And I’d reduce the confectioners’ sugar in the filling by half. I think it’s a great idea.
This looks amazing❣️ I love the shape made by the silicone pan….dumb question maybe, but how do you get the torte out of the silicone pan without messing it up?
Hi LouLou! The torte needs to be frozen first, then you can pull the edges of the silicone pan away from it without disturbing the wavy edges. It easily peels away from the bottom of the pan as a solid disk. I made sure to note this in the instructions, if you decide to make it in the silicone pan. Thanks for asking!
Holy Peanut Butter, that looks good! Any chance you could give measurements for dessert for two?
I’ll have to work on that!
I don’t have a microwave. Can I make the ganache in a double boiler?
Could these be made in individual tarts?
Hi Nancy, Yes, they can! I had this question in an email yesterday from another reader. So I’m glad you asked here in the comments section. Mini tart pans may be a little shallow for this dessert, but if you had 3 oz. or 4 oz. mini springform pans, then the edges would be tall enough to accommodate/show off those layers. Depending on how many guests you have to serve, you could even use a deep silicone muffin tin. Bake times would vary, of course. Just keep an eye on the brownie portion as it bakes. I’d start checking at… Read more »
Question — can I make this a few days ahead of time and keep in the freezer until I’m ready to serve it? (using the silicon pan). If I freeze, how far in advance should I take out of the freezer before serving?
Yes, absolutely! I’d take it out about 2 hours before serving.
I finally made this last night and it was incredibly good! I halved the top ganache layer and found it to be enough since there is plenty of chocolate in the brownie base. Lots of steps but the recipe is clear. The frosting is to die over–delicious and light peanut butter flavor. I may spring for that silicone pan because the ruffled edges would make it a more interesting presentation. The incredible combination of flavors did not detract from the straight edged slice out of my round pan. A very adult way to enjoy peanut butter and chocolate.
I made this torte for my husband’s birthday and it was a hit! I would definitely halve the ganache layer next time I make it. Love this recipe – thanks so much for sharing!
so easy to make for a delicious dessert
This looks absolutely delicious! Does the finished torte freeze well?
Yes, this torte freezes well!