If there’s one recipe that basically sums up 2020 in a nutshell, it’s this one.
You know, a comforting recipe that’s quick and easy to make, indulgent, with chocolate, and just the right serving size because let’s be honest, we couldn’t share even if we wanted to.
So when I thought about how I was going to celebrate my birthday this year, this brownie skillet was it. It was a no-brainer. And while I’ve been eating it for the past 9 months, I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Scratch that: ever.
It’s peanut buttery, rich, fudgy, and chocolatey with chewy edges and a gooey center. It’s all things you want in a brownie, but better, because you can easily scoop on the ice cream, drizzle with chocolate syrup, and grab a spoon, digging immediately in.
No waiting for it to cool, no set-up time needed to slice and serve, just a good ol’ fashioned spoon and an appetite (or not. there are no dessert rules).
About that birthday…
If we take a look down memory lane, there have been some delicious birthday eats over the years.
Then there was the year I turned 30 and ate an entire Mini Chocolate Cake myself, came to the realization that I was actually 30 years old now, and reflected on my 20s.
And last year: Yellow Cupcakes filled with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. A childhood favorite taken up a notch. It’s a post reflecting on year 30, growth, healing, and shifts.
Now, here we are, at 32. My 31st year looked a lot different than I would’ve pictured it if you’d asked me at my last birthday what it would be like. Mainly, because of the obvious (hi, 2020).
But also, some really incredible things happened despite all the (out of my control) challenges the past year brought. And yes, there were a lot of challenges globally and personally.
This past year taught me that, without a doubt, I do have what it takes to run my own business, to grow in things I’m passionate about, and to shift my mindset to benefit my well-being. And damn straight I’m doing it! Disclaimer: that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been hard at times!
I left teaching to run my own business. To pursue photograph and recipe development. And as bittersweet as it was, and as much as I miss the kiddos (like, SO much), it’s been an incredible growth opportunity knowing that I can work for myself, follow my dreams, and create the life I want.
I moved in with my boyfriend and a pup who most definitely has my heart. We started an epic garden and spent our summer of “lockdown” walking all over the cities (like, ALL over). We renovated the kitchen. We had bonfires and did puzzles and enjoyed the slow pace of this season of life.
And we ate a lot of Small Batch Peanut Butter Skillet Brownies. A lot.
So yes, 31 was another one for the books. Bring it on, 32, I can’t wait to see what you have in store. Now onto this skillet brownie…
The older I get, the more I SO appreciate easy recipes with minimal ingredients that can be made in one bowl (my happiness has started to correlate with the number of dishes in the sink).
So it’s a no-brainer that this year’s birthday dessert had to meet all the requirements. I won’t be doing dishes or running to the grocery store. I’ll be in my cozy clothes, with a glass of red wine in one hand and a spoon with peanut butter brownie in the other.
The only ingredient you might not have in your pantry is peanut butter chips. If this is the case, I highly recommend you stockpile them because let me tell you: GAME. CHANGER.
There is a generous (and when I say generous, I mean real generous) amount of peanut butter chips in this skillet making it a glorious combination of peanut butter and gooey chocolate.
Is there anything better, really?
Otherwise, there’s some cocoa powder, the basic all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, egg, neutral oil (like vegetable or canola), and of course some chocolate chips.
How to Make A Brownie Skillet
Remember when I said it’s a super easy one-bowl recipe? Well, it sure is!
Now you could be extra and sift together the dry ingredients to make sure they’re tip-top incorporated together. If you want to be an A+ baker, I won’t be stopping you.
But this recipe is for those moments of desperate chocolate craving when it’s after dinner and you can’t fathom having extra dishes and need something warm, gooey, chocolatey, and peanut buttery STAT.
So, we’re keeping it all in one bowl.
First, whisk together the egg and sugar. The longer you whisk, the more crackly your brownie topping will be. Keep whisking for a minute or two until light, pale yellow, and almost fluffy-like. This step also helps “dissolve” the sugar, resulting in a luxurious brownie texture.
Next goes the oil, for added moisture.
Then gently fold in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. You don’t want to ruin all those air bubbles you whisked into the egg and sugar.
Save a few chips to top on the top before baking (for beauty and of course who doesn’t want extra chips?!).
Bake away until the edges are set and the center is still gooey (if you’re into that kind of thing, and I mean, of course, you are, right?). I mean, LOOK AT THAT CENTER:
Why a Cast Iron Skillet?
This mini skillet brownie bakes in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet.
Why a cast iron skillet? Because cast iron retains heat so well, the crust of the brownie gets extra chewy and oh-so delicious, while leaving the center soft and gooey still. It cooks so evenly, and alternatively cools quickly, meaning your brownie is baked to perfection.
If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, I’d recommend making these in a small baker or a loaf pan.
You can also use a 6-inch cast-iron skillet, just know the brownie will be thicker and may require more baking time.
Ways to Enjoy
Oh, let me count the ways!
My absolute favorite way to eat this peanut butter brownie skillet is right out of the oven, so it’s still warm and gooey, with vanilla ice cream on top with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and maybe even caramel sauce. There’s nothing that compares to a warm chocolate dessert with cool, creamy ice cream on top, is there?!
Of course, you can also enjoy it without the ice cream and still eat it warm.
If you’d rather have a brownie slice, then wait for the skillet to cool completely, and you can slice it up and enjoy.
There’s really no wrong way to eat it, except, of course, if you’re not eating it.
That being said, I’ll leave you there, my friends. Enjoy the heck out of this brownie skillet and its beautiful bites of peanut butter and gooey chocolate. It’s indulgent in all the right ways.
More Brownie Recipes to Love
- Better Than a Boyfriend Brownies
- Mocha Brownies with Espresso Ganache
- Peppermint Brownies
- Bailey’s Cheesecake Brownies
Get the Recipe Small Batch Peanut Butter Brownie Skillet
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch cast-iron skillet.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar for 1-2 minutes until light and pale yellow. Add in oil and whisk to combine.
- Gently fold in the remaining ingredients just until combined. The batter will be thick. Reserve a few chips to place on the top of the batter if desired. Spread evenly in the cast-iron skillet.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes until edges are set; the center will still be gooey. Let cool for 2-3 minutes then top with ice cream and serve (right out of the cast-iron) or let cool completely before slicing to serve.