Just judging by the sheer number of desserts I have shared with you over the years, it’s clear I have a bit of a sweet tooth.  As much as I enjoy multi-step cupcakes or a rich, indulgent cheesecake, brownies and/or cookies are my constant craving.  To me, they are the comfort foods of the dessert world.  Usually no frills and little fuss, just a square of dense chocolatey goodness, you can never go wrong with classic fudge brownies.  But occasionally I’m in the mood for brownies with a little bit of flair.  That was the case last weekend and the next thing I knew, I was spreading a layer of silky smooth peanut butter frosting over brownies and then sprinkling them with sea salt.  I know.

These are particularly awesome given that they are made with pantry staples, so even if you find yourself out of actual chocolate bars (as I often do), you’re still good to go.  You can make them in not too terribly much time, and as a result these will be added to my list of oh-boy!-we’ll-be-having-unexpected-company-SOON desserts.  (I should probably make that list a real thing to prevent future spazz attacks.)  Aaand, I’m off to enjoy a brownie.


For the brownies:
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
½ cup all-purpose flour

For the frosting: 
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt

To finish: 
Additional sea salt, such as fleur de sel, for sprinkling


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with lightly greased parchment paper.  Cut the butter into chunks and place in large heatproof bowl.  Add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt to the bowl.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water so that the steam from the water heats the contents of the bowl (double boiler method).  Stir occasionally, heating until the butter is fully melted.  Whisk until evenly combined.  Set aside and let cool briefly until just warm to the touch (not hot).

  • 02

    Stir in vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, whisking just until smooth.  Fold in the flour just until incorporated and no streaks remain.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes, until just set.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before proceeding.

  • 03

    To make the frosting, combine the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar and salt on low speed, then increase to medium-high and whip until light, fluffy and completely smooth, about 3-4 minutes.

  • 04

    Spread the peanut butter frosting in an even layer over the cooled brownies.  Sprinkle with additional sea salt.  Slice into bars and serve.

  • That frosting looks fabulous! Such a great brownie recipe :)

  • Beth

    Oh look. I DO have everything in the pantry for those. May have to whip some up this weekend…

  • I’ll take one right now please! Looks amazing….


  • I am always down for a brownie with some flair. Especially when it’s peanut butter

  • These look delicious- my hubby is a huge fan of all things chocolate/peanutbutter. You are inspiring (and funny)! Thanks Annie!!

  • These are most definitely dessert comfort food. Love the sea salt at the end!

  • I just want to face plant into that frosting right now. Ugh, so delicious! :)

  • Liz N.

    Goodness gracious! The perfect combination of the dense brownie and creamy peanut butter frosting can’t get much better. I think I will be making this for my hubby’s birthday on St. Patty’s Day. He loves chocolate and peanut butter (who doesn’t?!) and this will be right up his alley. Perfect timing! Thanks Annie!

  • jabmorris

    We love peanut butter and these look so good. I will be making these brownies soon. Thank you.

  • yanksgurl613

    yum yum yum! not such a fan of peanut butter maybe ill try it with almond butter. xx. gigi

  • Kathy

    I love anything chocolate and peanut butter!

  • marcie @ flavor the moments

    I love how over the top these brownies look, but how simple and straightforward the recipe is. Nobody needs to know! Very nice.

  • Wow, these look phenomenal! That peanut butter frosting – the texture – it looks so fluffy! I’m always impressed by the recipes you share.

  • JanetFCTC

    I’m not a huge PB fan but for some reason I have a thing for brownies with peanut butter frosting and yours look delicious, Annie!

  • Louann Zundel

    Had everything in the pantry and made them for dessert tonight – deeeelish!

  • What’s you secret for cutting so perfectly? These look awesome!

  • Julia Casta

    this looks so yum! I have an open jar of peanut butter that someone needs to take care of so I might pick up some eggs and sea salt tomorrow!

  • Anne @The Cooking Campaign

    I love anything with chocolate and peanut butter! These look amazing.

  • I just made these and they are amazing! Crazy rich but so, so, so good.

  • I made this the day after you posted about it – it was simple, and it was unbelievably delicious. I had so many compliments!

    Shirly from Israel

  • Yum, these look totally delicious!

  • Kendra | apartment302

    Why have I never thought to include peanut butter with brownies!?!? Brilliant!

  • Leslie Green

    Lord..that frosting! I can’t even!

  • Rahaf

    When I saw this I knew I had to make it. I mean come on, if Annie wrote “I know” in italics, it is definitely something to make asap. I added a dash of cinnamon to the frosting and it made it that much better. This is a peanut butter and chocolate lover’s dream dessert ladies and gents. All of the ingredients are pantry staples- making this recipe quite dangerous. You may or may not find me making these in the middle of the night every night for the next week or two ;)

  • Love these. It’s actually the specialty of a little island in the Chesapeake – Buckeye Brownies. Which, is weird considering it’s nowhere near Ohio. They look great!

  • Steph in Lex

    These look AWESOME. I also love brownies with caramel (sometimes known as browned butter) frosting. Brownies + frosting = can’t go wrong.

  • How do you make it look so beautiful?

  • Shelly

    Just made these ridiculously delicious brownies! Love your blog.

  • Caitlin

    Over the past week I have gone over every dessert recipe on your blog and pinned most of them. Thank you for sharing such amazing stuff, your blog rocks! Now I just need to decide which recipe to start with…

  • annieseats

    I just use a large chef’s knife and wipe the knife off between slices. Works every time!

  • Hannah Horecka

    The frosting was amazing. It was so light yet so peanut buttery and the brownies are the perfect texture. Sadly they were too bitter for me. I am more of a milk chocolate person and these were definitely dark chocolate. I will be making the frosting again though! I could eat it with a spoon.

  • Rosie

    These are amazing! And I can report they freeze beautifully, baked and iced.

  • I needed something quick to make and bring to my brother’s a couple of weeks ago. I doubled the brownie batter and baked in a 9X13 pan. I also doubled the frosting recipe but that wasn’t necessary, there would have been plenty with a single batch of frosting. They were delicious! My brother declared them the best brownie he’s ever had. Thanks for sharing your fabulous recipes!

  • Crys

    I made this a week ago and they came out great! Pretty rich, but oh so good! I rediscovered my love for peanut butter!

  • 2Charlot

    I made these yesterday and my collegues in the lab loved them! I’m really glad to know such a neat and quick treat now. Thanks!

    I used a round 28 cm pan and used chunky peanut butter for the frosting, people like the extra nuts.

  • Guest

    I was looking for an awesome peanut butter frosting and I found it! I used this frosting for my husband’s birthday cake, and it was easily the best frosting I’ve ever paired with a chocolate cake.

  • Dena

    Hi Annie! I love your blog and this recipe looks AMAZING! Did you use or recommend a particular cocoa powder? I have dutch process, regular and special dark…

  • annieseats

    Regular. Enjoy!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    What a simple yet impressive dessert! I whipped this up with ingredients on hand for a lunch get-together with the girls and it was enjoyed by all!

  • Cassie

    Absolutely wonderful! We added a tablespoon of espresso powder and some chocolate chips, and I ran out of regular cocoa, so we subbed some Dutch cocoa – they turned out great!