Raise your hand if you absolutely LOATHE taking tests of any kind.
*raises hand* Oh, me me me me me!
And how come whenever I have to take a test, my anxiety swells to infinity and beyond?
Like, for instance, when you’re taking a test and you want to look up because your neck is cramped from looking down for an hour straight but you fear that by looking up, the proctor may interpret that as you looking at other people’s answer keys. Because when I look up, I swear it’s only because my neck doesn’t have the ability to be in the downward position for a long time and unless they start giving us tests on computers, which would be WAY more modern and efficient than a stupid scantron, I can’t not look up. Yet I’m always super afraid everyone thinks I’m being suspicious by looking up and around. Can’t a girl look around a room full of test-takers without being persecuted?! It’s NECK PAIN, yo.
Or when you are both angry and relieved to see multiple choice as it both helps you and doubts you. So I recently had to take a competency test for a county job and they ask you definitions of certain words. And being an English major and a self-proclaimed grammar freak, I am always like “oh, this is totally easy. I totally know what ‘mandate’ means!” and then I’ll see the options and be like, “OH MY GOD IT COULD BE ALL OF THESE” even though the options are like, A) an authoritative command; B) a pineapple; C) your face; D) a fancy, legalish word that you could SWEAR you’ve heard on Law and Order before but can’t for the life of you picture Goren OR Eames using it in the courtroom. WHY CAN’T YOU USE MORE LEGAL TERMS, LAW AND ORDER? Aren’t you supposed to teaching me about not getting murdered in New York and acing the legal terms portion of my county test?
Or like when you’re doing the math part of the test and suddenly forget how to subtract. Life gave us calculators. Let’s use them. Also, it was embarrassing that I forgot how to subtract. Like, brutal. I promise I’m competent.
So then I came home and buried my test anxieties deep inside of a decadent cake that wouldn’t judge me if I looked around the room or forgot to subtract. Actually, I didn’t subtract much from this cake: it’s fully-loaded with delicious add-ins and sugar. No shortages here, people.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cake *inspired by Shelly’s Cake Batter Brownie Snack Cake recipe
1 box chocolate fudge brownie mix, plus ingredients on back of box
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
24 Reese’s peanut butter cups, unwrapped
Peanut butter frosting (recipe and ingredients follow)
Reese’s Pieces (about 1 cup)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the yellow cake mix, eggs, oil, and peanut butter until combined. Spread the peanut butter mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Place the peanut butter cups gently into the peanut butter dough base, 4 rows of 6 each. Top with the prepared brownie batter.
3. Bake for approx. 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean, and center is set. Cool completely.
4. Frost with the peanut butter frosting and top immediately with Reese’s Pieces. Cut into bars and serve. Store leftovers airtight, for a couple days in the fridge.
Peanut Butter Frosting
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Splash vanilla extract
About 3 cups powdered sugar
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter, peanut butter and vanilla until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar until frosting is fluffy but still soft (it won’t be stiff like regular frosting but rather more soft like dough). Spread onto cooled bars.
These bars are INSANELY chocolatey, sweet and salty, and totally YUMMY. When Shelly posted her version, I couldn’t get over the combination of a fudgy brownie mixed with a sweet and sprinkly cake and immediately thought of different versions for this. Of course, chocolate and peanut butter came to mind. Hello, best pairing ever! The peanut butter cups in between the layers add yet another layer of gooieness to these irresistible bars. Or are they cake? Dense, chewy, fudgy and tasty, they’re kind of a hybrid between the two. And the frosting almost takes on qualities of peanut butter cookie dough, amping up that salty peanut butter bite even more. You’ll love these!
Have a wonderful weekend!!