Brownies are a true classic when it comes to delicious homemade treats equally adored by kids and adults. Including peanuts in your recipe will give your brownies that extra crunch and a salty flavor. However, before you decide to use peanuts you should know about the potential risks and consider alternatives.
1. Peanuts versus Walnuts
Brownie recipes often call for walnuts as an added ingredient. Peanuts are a good replacement for walnuts in such recipes. However, you should think twice about serving brownies with peanuts at a bake sale or other situation where allergies might be an issue. According to the University of Chicago, peanut allergy is the third most prevalent allergy occurring among young children and the most common food allergy in older children, adolescents and adults. Peanuts aren't actual nuts -- they're legumes, which are in the same family as lentils and beans. Walnuts fall under the category of tree nuts. However, because the proteins in peanuts are similar in structure to those in tree nuts, people allergic to peanuts might also be allergic to tree nuts. While allergies to tree nuts aren't as common as peanuts, it's still wise to ask about allergies before serving brownies with tree nuts as well.
Though brownie recipes vary depending on the desired taste and texture, most include butter, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla extract, salt, baking powder and either cocoa powder or semi-sweet chocolate. You will also need non-stick vegetable oil spray to grease the pan so the brownies don't stick. When adding peanuts, use coarsely chopped, roasted peanuts. Keep in mind that if your peanuts are already salted, you probably will not need additional salt.
Prepare your batter by mixing together all the ingredients. You'll need to first whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until they develop a fluffy texture. Heat your chocolate and butter together, and then add them to the egg mix. Next, add the flour, blending and then beating the batter vigorously for about a minute. Toss the peanuts into the batter last. You can also sprinkle peanuts on top of the brownies before baking.
4. Cooking Time and Temperature
Cooking indications for brownies vary slightly from recipe to recipe, but in general you should bake them for around 15 minutes at 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep a close eye on your brownies. When done, the brownies should be firm and lightly crisp on the outside. Press them with a fork to check for firmness. Remove them from the oven when done -- and let them cool before eating or handling.
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