These cookies have to be one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets! New Zealand Peanut Brownies are a seriously delicious cookie from my homeland and are completely irresistible.
are these brownies? Or cookies?
Don’t let the name fool you! Though these are called brownies, New Zealand Peanut Brownies are actually a chocolate cookie, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and filled with crunchy peanuts.
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. While they were traditionally quite a crunchy affair I have perfected my recipe over the years to make them soft, chewy, and utterly moreish.
This recipe is tried and tested
Out of the many recipes that I cook, the one that gets requested the most often is also one of the very oldest. I’ve been baking peanut brownies quite literally as far back as I can remember.
Humble Peanut Brownies are probably baked in every household in New Zealand, possibly even more often than our famous national dish pavlova!
To make Peanut Brownie Cookies, you’ll need the following main ingredients:
- Butter, Flour, Baking Powder, Eggs and Sugar: The building blocks of all baking! I use European Large eggs (that’s a U.S Extra-Large) and unsalted butter so I can salt the recipe to my tastes.
- Peanuts: When I was a kid these were always made with plain, blanched peanuts. They are MUCH tastier with roasted and salted peanuts, so use those instead.
- Cocoa Powder: For the most deliciously dark and chocolatey cookies, use unsweetened, Dutch-Processed cocoa. Hershey’s makes one in the U.S and Donovan’s sell one in New Zealand. Trust me, it makes all the difference.
- Vanilla Extract: Use a good quality vanilla extract for the most flavoursome and aromatic results.
Cookies should be quick and easy to make and Peanut Brownies definitely are!
- First, heat your oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 and line an oven tray with baking parchment paper.
- Next cream room-temperature butter and white sugar together until light and fluffy. I used to do this by hand when I was a kid, but it is FAR easier with a stand mixer.
- Beat in the egg, vanilla and baking powder, then add the dry ingredients. First the flour and sifted cocoa powder, then the peanuts, running the mixer on low. It will look too dry ant first, but keep going, it will come together.
- Lastly, divide the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces, roll into balls and place on the prepared tray. Squash gently with a fork, then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until risen (your kitchen will smell AMAZING at this point.
- Cool on a rack, then dig in!
The complete ingredient list and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
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 an extra 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.
Can I freeze peanut brownie dough?
Yes! This is a brilliant idea so you’ll always be prepared for a cookie emergency! Roll the dough into logs, wrap in a double thickness of cling film and put directly in the freezer.
Slice and bake directly from frozen – they won’t spread out as much but they are equally delicious! Add a couple of minutes to the baking time for perfect results.
New Zealand Peanut Brownies
- 125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200 g white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 200 g plain or all-purpose flour
- 50 g unsweetened cocoa powder, about 3 generously heaped tablespoons
- 150 g peanuts, roasted and salted
- HEAT THE OVEN: Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 and line an oven tray with baking paper.
- CREAM THE BUTTER AND SUGAR: 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: Add the egg, vanilla and the baking powder and beat until well combined.
- ADD THE DRY INGREDIENTS: 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.
- SHAPE THE DOUGH: Divide the dough into 12 even-sized pieces, roll each into a ball and flatten slightly, then place, well-spaced, on the prepared baking tray.
- BAKE: Use a fork to flatten the top of each peanut brownie, then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until risen.
- COOL AND EAT!: 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.
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Looking for more classic Kiwi baking recipes? Why not try: