" When I’m in the kitchen, I like to listen to either the TV or radio (preferably NPR) for background fodder as I’m cooking. One day on the Today show, Hoda Kotb held up a package of brownies she’d bought at a grocery store as one of her favorite things that she likes to share with viewers. I made a mental note that my brownies looked a lot better, and one day I would send her some. About six months later I did, and I hoped I would get a reply from Hoda, maybe with an autographed picture. Instead, I had an email from the producer asking me if I would like to come on the show to do a cooking segment. I was thrilled, and in July 2012, some friends and I went to New York and had a blast with my 15 minutes of fame. One of the results of that appearance, however, is that I always have people at my booth asking for the Today show brownie, so as much as I like to change up my selection, this is one I always have to bring." -- Connie Weiss
¼cup1 ounce milk chocolate chips (I used Reese's Pieces)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Prepare a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil (Note: The book tells you how to do this if you don't know how). Lightly grease the foil in the pan.
Unwrap the peanut butter cups; set aside.
Cut the butter sticks into 1-inch slices. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt the butter pieces over the lowest setting. While the butter is melting, chop the unsweetened chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces and add to the melted butter along with the bittersweet chocolate chips. Use a small whisk to speed the melting process. When the chocolate is melted and completely smooth, turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the burner while proceeding with the recipe.
Using a large whisk, lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Place the sugars and salt in a separate small mixing bowl, then whisk into the eggs just until incorporated. Briefly whisk the melted chocolate mixture, then gradually whisk into the egg mixture until just combined. Briefly whisk in the vanilla.
Place the flour and baking powder in the small mixing bowl; whisk together to combine. Sift through a medium strainer directly onto the batter; stir in with a silicone spatula until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a small offset spatula. Push the peanut butter cups into the batter; do not place any within ½ inch of the pan sides. Use the offset spatula to cover the candy with the batter. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the batter, then place the milk chocolate chips evenly on the batter. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, then refrigerate the pan for 7 to 8 hours, or overnight. See page xix for instructions on removing and cutting the slab, and for refrigerated storage (up to 3 weeks) and freezing guidelines.
From Extreme Brownies: 50 Recipes for the Most Over-the-Top Treats Ever by Connie Weis/Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2014.