It will come as no surprise to you that I cook a lot. The recipes on my blog and in my cookbooks represent only a tiny percentage of the recipes that get planned, tested and cooked. Some recipes I save for another post or to go in a future book, some just don’t work no matter how many times I cook them. Others are nearly there but still need work, while there are some that I cook so often that I make them completely on auto-pilot. Out of the many recipes that I cook, the one that gets requested the most often is also one of the very oldest. A recipe that I have been cooking as far back as I can remember. New Zealand Peanut Brownies.
The humble New Zealand Peanut Brownie is probably baked in every household in New Zealand, and I think, one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. With origins in the Edmonds cookbook, first published in 1908 they are quite different to the famed American brownie, despite sharing a name, though they are both salty, sweet and deeply chocolatey. Peanut Brownies are more of a cookie (that’s a biscuit where I come from) and while some people like theirs extra crunchy, I have perfected my recipe over the years to make them soft, chewy, and utterly moreish.
This sort of food is pure nostalgia for me, and the smell of warm Peanut Brownies, fresh out of the oven transports me straight back to childhood. Like all warm cookies, best enjoyed with an icy cold glass of milk. They are quick and easy to make and are ready to eat in around half an hour after the cookie-craving strikes.
I hope you are all taking care of yourselves and each other out there, keep sending in those photos of all your amazing creations! x J
New Zealand Peanut Brownies
- 125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200 g sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 200 g plain flour
- 50 g unsweetened cocoa
- 150 g peanuts, roasted and salted
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 and line an oven tray with baking paper. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale, 3-5 minutes. It is possible to do this by hand, but you will need to use a bit of muscle and have very soft butter. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice so that everything gets mixed in.
- Add the egg, vanilla and the baking powder and beat until well combined.
- Add the flour and cocoa and mix on low speed until well combined. At first, the mixture will look dry and pale, but it will get darker and moister as the ingredients are incorporated. When the mixture looks dark and crumbly add the peanuts and mix thoroughly to make sure they are well distributed through the dough.
- Divide the dough into 10 even-sized pieces, roll each into a ball and flatten slightly, then place, well-spaced, on the prepared baking tray.
- Use a fork to flatten the top of each peanut brownie, then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until risen.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before using a spatula to transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before storing, but enjoy at least one, warm from the oven with a glass of icy cold milk.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I don’t eat peanuts. Can I make peanut brownies without?
These brownies will work with all nuts, though I try to use roasted and salted nuts for the flavour. Macadamias, cashews or almonds would work well, walnuts would probably get a bit lost. If you are using unsalted nuts you’ll need to add ¼ – ½ tsp salt to the mixture, to taste.
The peanut brownies are soft when I take them out of the oven! Is this right?
Yes! They will set further on cooling, but you want them to have a lovely, soft, chewy texture. If you like a very crunchy cookie you can bake them a further 5 minutes.
Can I make peanut brownies gluten-free?
I don’t see why not! They may be a little crumbly but still good. Use your favourite gluten-free flour mix.