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These brownies from "The Artisanal Kitchen: Gluten-Free Holiday Cookies" by Alice Medrich have a peanut butter bar layer on the bottom.

These very rich, very decadent brownies with a not-quite-grown-up flavor appeal to most grown-ups. As a variation, you can make hazelnut crunch brownies by substituting 2 cups hazelnut meal plus 1/2 teaspoon salt for the peanut butter.

- Alice Medrich

For the chocolate layer:

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• 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

• 4 ounces 66% to 72% cacao dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

• 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

• 2 large eggs

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon white rice flour

For the peanut crunch layer:

• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

• 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1 large egg

• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons salted crunchy natural peanut butter

• 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon white rice flour

• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square metal baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

To make the chocolate layer, place the butter and chocolate in a medium stainless steel bowl set directly in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and quite hot to the touch. Stir in the sugar and remove from the heat. Use a large spoon to beat in the eggs, vanilla and salt. The mixture should be very smooth; if it is not, place the bowl back in the water bath over very low heat for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the flour and beat with a spoon until the batter comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute. Set aside.

To make the peanut crunch layer, in a separate bowl, use a large spoon or spatula to mix all the ingredients until completely blended. Press the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the batter is slightly darker at the edges.

Remove the pan from the oven and spoon dollops of chocolate batter all over the hot crust. Spread gently to make an even layer. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the surface is dry and pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan. Cool completely in the pan on a rack. Lift the edges of the pan liner and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 25 squares. The brownies will keep in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. Makes 25 small brownies.

- From "The Artisanal Kitchen: Gluten-Free Holiday Cookies: More Than 30 Recipes to Sweeten the Season" by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books, $12.95)

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