12 minute steam oven brownies

12 Minute Steam Oven Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

I did promise you some brownies, and I don’t think these will disappoint. These 12 minute steam oven brownies been not-disappointing me for several weeks now, and after four batches (for recipe development purposes! I promise!), I’m still not sick of them.

One of my all time favourite food bloggers, Luisa at The Wednesday Chef, posted about them recently here; she found the recipe in Ashley Rodriguez’s lovely new book, Date Night In. I’ve seen images and links to them all over the place since then, which I guess makes them the current darlings of the food-blogosphere.

For good reason, too: the brownies themselves are dark and complex thanks to the addition of browned butter and not too much sugar, and the frosting is peanut-butter-laden and sweet but with a hefty dose of softly crunching salt flakes which tie everything together (if you haven’t been converted to the trend for salt-in-sweet, I’m not sure we can be friends. It’s unbeatable). It seems at first glance as though there’s too much frosting for the brownies, but the balance is strangely just right.

Though I hadn’t intended to blog about brownies which several writers have already given perfectly good recipes for, the people I’ve fed them to recently had other ideas.

First I took some to an in-home appliance demonstration for a couple of lovely ladies and their new Gaggenau steam ovens, whereupon the recipe was requested after the first bite. Then I served them at an appliance education dinner where I had to hoard a couple off the serving plate so the staff (ahem) didn’t miss out. When we took the most recent batch to breakfast with friends over the weekend and one of them couldn’t wait until breakfast was finished to crack the box open, it became apparent the world actually DOES need more brownies.

Ashley’s original recipe and Luisa’s adaptation were written for conventional ovens. I tried that method first and they’re fabulous. Rich, dark and super fudgy. Cooked in a combi-steam, though, their fudginess is taken to a whole new level, so if you like your brownies super dense and squidgy it’s definitely the way to go. Plus, as per the title, they only take 12 minutes to cook!

With mixing and cooling time, you could have your very own batch in an hour or two. Conventional oven-ers, you’ll need to stand, mouth watering, waiting for them to bake, for a few minutes longer. I hope you can manage it.

In social media news: I have finally gotten around to putting pictures/links to all the blog’s posts so far on Pinterest! Join me there if that’s your thing.

12 minute steam oven brownies
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4.72 from 7 votes

Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting (only 12 minutes to cook!)

These amazingly deep, dark and fudgy brownies take only 12 minutes to cook in a steam oven, and they're topped with creamy, soft and salty peanut butter frosting.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time27 minutes
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brownies, brownies with salted peanut butter, steam oven brownies
Servings: 20 brownies
Calories: 255kcal
Pin Recipe


For the brownies

  • 6 oz unsalted butter cold is fine, cubed
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate chopped, or use buttons
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 3 eggs large, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour plain flour; spelt also works well, so does almond meal if you want a gluten free sub
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the frosting

  • 3.5 oz unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter Now is not the time to go all natural, salt and sugar free, people. Skippy or Kraft is just fine.
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar icing sugar
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt Maldon is my preference; use a little less salt to start with and add to preference


Make the brownies

  • Grease and line a 8"/20cm slice or cake pan, making sure your lining paper extends over two sides for ease of lifting later. Preheat your oven to 320˚F/160˚C, combination steam setting. If your oven has variable steam settings, use 80% steam. If not, don't worry! Just set to combination steam at the correct temperature and the oven will figure out the humidity for you.
  • Pu the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it melt and then come to the boil and cook, swirling the pan frequently, until it's stopped foaming and the milk solids begin to brown. It will take about 5 minutes, and you'll know it's close when the foamy bubbles on top give way to smaller more distinct bubbles. It'll smell like caramel and nuts and the solids will drop to the bottom and change colour. Take it straight off the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl to avoid burning it.
  • Add the chocolate to the hot butter and leave it to sit for a couple of minutes so the chocolate can melt. Stir to combine, then whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Leave to cool slightly, then add the eggs and mix well (adding them when it's too hot will leave you with scrambled eggs in your batter).
  • Sift the flour and cocoa into the bowl and add the salt. Stir gently until everything is combined, then pour into the lined pan.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, or until the top is set and a skewer tests clean in the centre of the tray. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely in the tin before spreading the frosting over the top.

Make the frosting

  • To make frosting, put all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 3-4 minutes on medium speed, until the frosting is light and fluffy. I'd recommend starting out with 1/2 tsp salt in there and gradually adding more to taste if you want it.
  • Serve cut into squares or bars; I cut into 20 pieces but you decide how big you want yours to be! The brownies will keep, covered, at room temperature for a couple of days, or in the fridge for about 5 days.


  1. A note on browned butter: if you haven’t been introduced to the joys of nutty, toasty browned butter in baked goods yet, you’re welcome. Also, I’m sorry, because if you’re like me, once the discovery’s been made you won’t be able to just leave things alone and will be substituting it for regular melted butter in all sorts of delicious places. Namely: brown butter chocolate chip cookies, brown butter pound cake, spiced pumpkin cake with brown butter, brown butter cookies...
  2. A note on the frosting: I suspect thanks to life in a warm climate, I found my first batch of frosting soft to the point of melting off the brownies. I’ve revised ingredient quantities to stiffen it up somewhat but didn’t want to lose the lovely soft texture altogether. Because of this I’d recommend not stacking the cut brownies on top of one another for serving/storage (unless they are fridge-cold), or you’ll end up with a brownie layer cake. Also, if you want nice clean-cut pieces, you’ll need to chill the whole slab before cutting with a hot knife to prevent the frosting smudging.
  3. Though a lot of baked goods are best served at room temperature, I actually prefer these slightly cooler so the brownie is almost like a piece of fudge in texture.

*But I don’t have a steam/combi-steam oven! Easy conversion today: make everything as per the recipe, but bake your brownies in a conventional oven at 160˚C for 20-25 minutes. They’ll be dense and gorgeous.

8 thoughts on “12 Minute Steam Oven Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting”

  1. 4 stars
    Just delicious. I make it with almond meal.
    Always very well received.

  2. Love this recipe and so does my whole family! I make it regularly now. I use a ceramic dish, because that’s the only 20cm one I have, so it takes about double the time to bake (as per Emily’s response to the previous comment). I reduce the amount of peanut butter frosting because we felt it was not in proportion to the base after making it the first time. I do 75g butter with 110g peanut butter and 90g icing sugar, so about 3/4 the original amount, and I still feel like it is borderline too much frosting for our taste. I use a mini chopper for the frosting, so I begin by grinding the peanuts into a peanut paste, then I add the remaining ingredients. Sometimes there will be a chunk of peanut that didn’t grind properly and the crunch is actually quite yummy. So if you only have crunchy peanut butter, I think it would still work. Definitely a fantastic recipe.

  3. Emily Rhodes

    Thanks for your feedback Luke, I’ll add a note to the recipe. Glass vs metal definitely makes a big difference in cooking time, it’s something I’ve mentioned frequently elsewhere regarding steam oven cooking, particularly for dishes which don’t take a long time to cook. The glass/Pyrex takes much longer to heat up and transfer that heat through to the food, so it will extend your time by probably double in this recipe.

  4. 4 stars
    I used an 8 inch square Pyrex baking dish, and I increased the combination steam oven cooking time by 9 minutes, and it was still wet in the middle. I finally pulled it in fear of it overcooking. I’m not sure if cook time change that much between a metal and glass dish, but if so I would make a note about that.

    I would also recommend in the ingredients list to put “1/2 to 1 tsp flaky salt” so that one doesn’t add the 1 tsp into the mix before reading the next sentence after “put all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric stand mixer” (speaking from my over zealous experience).

  5. Really yummy! The browned butter adds a nice twist. My Wolf CSO does not have a "combination steam" setting so I figured "convection steam" would be the closest. I had to bake it 4 more minutes but it was a wonderful success! Last night I made your potatoes/salmon/asparagus when i used my new oven for the first time and was blown away! keep these recipes coming! 🙂

  6. Emily Rhodes

    Thanks Lisa.
    Do you just substitute the same weight of this blend for the plain flour?
    I bet the buckwheat gives a really nice nuttiness and structure to the mix. 🙂

  7. You might want to try this flour mix for gluten free ones too:
    700g fine white rice flour
    200g potato flour
    100g tapioca flour
    100g buckwheat flour
    1tsp xanthan gum
    (Add 1 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder & 1/2 tsp salt if you want SR flour)

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