Jan 20, 2011

Chubby Hubby Brownies

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A few days after Christmas, I was hurriedly rolling through Target with Little C, enduring her kicks to my femurs from that kid seat thing they put in shopping carts. I rounded a corner and saw an explosion of pink and red and hearts and glitter. They were putting up Valentine’s Day stuff before New Year’s, people! I was still bloated from Christmas dinner! This all felt so wrong. Like one of Those People, I confronted the staff member assembling the display and was all, “Hey, let me have my holiday hangover one holiday at a time, Target!”, and she was all, “Hey, Andy Rooney, why don’t you just chill out and feel the love?!”

(Actually, the Target staffer didn’t really say that, I think she was mostly just startled by my crazy ponytail and dowdy post-Christmas binge ensemble of Fat Pants and an unreasonably large tunic. But I felt the vibe of what she was thinking.)

A few days later, however, I did indeed get to thinking about Valentine’s Day treats because apparently I am very influenced by marketing and mortifying experiences at Target. Ergo, Chubby Hubby Brownies were born.

I’ve decided I needed to tell you about these brownies now, weeks before Valentine’s Day, just in case you’re like me and find that baked goods are a key part of any perfect gift for cheesy holidays. Chubby Hubby Brownies, in fact, are the ultimate brownies for dudes. And even if you’re not struggling to think of a gift for a dude this Valentine’s Day, you need these brownies in your life.

It all started with my very favorite brownie recipe. Then I got to thinking about the glory that is Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream. And then things got a little crazy. Like malted-cheesecake-swirl-caramel-bits-and-peanut-butter-filled-pretzels-crazy. Hoooo, boy.

But like that staffer at Target–innocently doing her job, who I questioned so fervently–ignore my craziness. Just enjoy the results. Because these are really something. And you won’t see any references to a Chubby Hubby of my own in this post, because my husband is one of those irritating high-metabolism people who can eat a whole pan of these brownies and never gain an ounce–he just stores them in his hollow leg. But he is my permanent Valentine anyway.

Chubby Hubby Brownies

I used those little cubes of caramel that come wrapped in clear cellophane, because they hold their shape well during baking. You can find several brands of peanut butter-filled pretzels out there–the ones at Trader Joe’s are great.

These brownies are especially fabulous chilled. But you didn’t hear it from me.
Makes 16
For the swirl:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup malted milk powder
For the brownies:
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons oure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour


4 ounces store-bought caramels, unwrapped and quartered
3 ounces peanut butter-filled pretzel nuggets, lightly crushed

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8- inch baking pan with foil or parchment and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, 1 egg, sugar, vanilla and malt powder until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder and set aside to cool.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the 3 eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Spread half the brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the caramel bits and half the crushed pretzels evenly over the top. Pour in the cream cheese mixture and smooth the surface with a spatula. Dollop the remaining half of the brownie batter over the cream cheese mixture in 5-6 generous blobs. Using a butter knife, lightly swirl the brownie batter and cream cheese mixture together. Sprinkle the remaining caramel bits and pretzels over the top.

Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick comes out clean when tested 1 inch from the edges (it will look a bit underdone in the middle), about 40-45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, before cutting and serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

  • Oh my gosh…these look amazing!! Caramels AND peanut butter pretzels?! Amazing, delicious!

  • too funny…
    just discussing (with good friend) target's cute v-day serve ware cuz now i have chubby hubby brownie's to display!

  • These look heavenly! What a terrific combo for brownies…now I have a use for the peanut-butter filled pretzels from costco! Fantastic blog, btw..very happy to have found it!

  • Shoot, forget perfect for dudes…these are perfect for me! They look delish!

  • I can attest to how awesome these treats are…In fact, they were so deliciously wonderful that I hid them in my bedside table so I wouldn't have to share….

  • Like the name of this brownies. Love the thought of making all hubbies chubby 😀

  • WOWZEEE! You should call these chubby Shelly brownies bc fat pants are my clothing of choice these days. I almost purchased pajamas jeans…almost 😉

  • You had me at malted milk powder!

  • It's a (sad, yet) good thing that I've never seen peanut butter-filled pretzels here….because this recipe would get made ALL THE TIME in my house. I am deeply, crazily in love with Chubby Hubby ice cream.

  • Caramel and salty sweet, your brownies look like they have it all. Each bite must be serious bliss. I'm starting a new linky on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by tomorrow or sometime during the weekend and link these up.

  • Oh my gosh! I don't think it's possible to cram anymore deliciousness into a brownie!!!

  • Oh Shauna…so sad that you are taken because with treats like this, I would love to have you as my Valentine.

    I am totally making these. YUM.

  • Yuuuum! Do you think plain milk powder would work? My chubby hubby is allergic to malt. 😉

  • Corrine–Just leave it out altogether, it will still be great. Enjoy!

  • Ohh, how I wish peanut-butter filled pretzels even existed in France! I should start an import business. I think these could easily become Chubby Lucie brownies, though!

  • OMG these contain so many delicious things!! LOVE the peanut butter pretzels!

  • I love when you can take a basic brownie recipe, or any recipe, and put some fun add-ins in to give it a new twist!

  • We had displays like that at all of our local pharmacies approximately two days after Christmas. I felt like I was personally being terrorized given that I shall be single AGAIN for valentine's day and thus am trying to forget it's existence as much as possible. Sigh.

    I think I need a batch of these. Maybe they'll bring all the boys to the yard. Or my apartment. 😛

  • You are a genius. Those are a work of art. I mean pretzels (salty) and caramel with brownies (sweet)? Sheer art.

  • Oh, these are amazing! My hubby is trying to be less chubby, but just one wouldn't hurt, would it? I know my co-workers would love the leftovers!

  • I made these pretty much as soon as I saw the blog post. Thank you so much for the Trader Joe's pretzel tip; I couldn't find them at the grocery stores near me and it's nice to have an excuse to make the trek to Trader Joe's! I was bringing brownies to a going-away party and debated using two of those disposable pans because I was thinking this recipe might be a bit…much…for one. I ended up doing it all in one pan and wished I would have done the two. Bakers, this is not a recipe for shallow pans. Additionally, it is not a recipe that will last long. And yes, they are simply amazing straight from the fridge. Bravo, Shauna, you've struck again!

  • Yummmmy…cant resist to have them…They look great.

  • Those look exquisite! I tried your recipe for Toblerone brownies around Christmas and they were a huge hit! I can't wait to try these!!

  • Shauna I am in love with your blog. You had me at "chubby hubby brownies" the other day at the park. I didn't even know you and thought, "now there is a girl I could be best friends with!". I love love love (need a better word here) ben and jerry's chubby hubby ice cream and I am so excited to make these. THANK YOU! So good to meet you.

  • these are INSANE.

  • they look yummy…and I want to make them just so I can repeatedly say Chubby Hubby 🙂

  • I clicked-through over from FoodPornDaily and imagine my delight in finding a creative baking blog with wonderful recipes (or is that a wonderful baking blog with creative recipes?). These look absolutely delicious. My mouth has turned to water and I will be trying your recipe out tonight.

  • I felt the same way. Earlier this month, I walked into Walgreens (not even Tar-jay) and was dumbfounded at all the pink and red. We sure do like sprinting from one holiday to the next… Love the Chubby Hubby Brownie idea Shauna. It's a flavor combo that works well in B&J and I can imagine the textures are amazing in the brownies. Great VDay idea for my not-so-chubby hubby!

  • These brownies look ridiculously good! Seriously. I've got to try them (like now).

  • Oh my god! These look sooo good. Now I wish we had PB pretzels here 🙁

  • So….I don't think one 8×8 pan of these will last very long around my office. Any recommendations for doubling the recipe? Two 8x8s or will it work in a 9×13?

  • never heard of peanut butter pretzels but it sure sounds delightful to me!

  • I don't want to pop your bubble but forget those chubby hubbies or the skinny ones, like yours, and makes these for me. How delicious they look.

    While you are at it, would you be kind enough to link this to Bake with Bizzy. This is a recipe to be shared far and wide.


  • Do you think I could skip the cream cheese swirl and still have good results? I won't have time for a grocery store run, and I don't have all those ingredients (but I have the pretzels, caramels, and brownie ingredients on hand!).

  • Yum, I can’t wait to try! I love the pretzel/chocolate combo.

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