You wouldn't think a plate of blondies could bring tears to someone's eyes, but I'm here to prove you wrong. You see, a couple of Saturdays ago, I had a rotten cold and was relaxing in bed--it was a definite" no-cook" night for me. We'd brought in a pizza for an early dinner and everyone was in the house doing their own thing--me blowing my poor nose and watching TV. All of sudden, my daughter Annabel, appeared with a plate of these amazing Peanut Butter Blondies, all gooey and warm, straight out of the oven--her first solo baking attempt! Knowing my fondness for things chocolate, peanut butter and chewy, she'd made them especially for me, saying, "Mom, you're always making things to help us feel better. I thought someone should do it for you!" Hence the tears (mine) at the aforementioned plate of blondies.
I know my own daughter made these out of love for me, but these are truly fantastic! Do not make these if you are watching your calories--you will not have the willpower to resist them (I speak from experience.) You take them out of the oven slightly under baked so these are moist, chewy, rich and studded with an abundance of chocolate chunks and roasted salted peanuts throughout. You're supposed to let them cool to room temperature before cutting them, but we just couldn't resist!
They're also might tasty when chilled. We've made them once more since that fateful night and brought them to my sister's house to be used as the base for ice cream sundaes. Unfortunately someone (me!) forgot the camera at home so no photos of that experience. You'll just have to trust me when I say they are divine--better yet, whip up a batch and test them out yourself! As for me, maybe I'll have to fake a cold soon and see what my little baker whips up next!
Annabel's Peanut Butter Blondies
Makes about 24-28 bars
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes; Bake Time: 25-28 minutes
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup all-natural smooth, salted peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan. Set aside.
2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, starting on low speed, mix together the butter and sugar. Then increase to medium speed and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the peanut butter. Mix well. Scrape down the bowl again and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the vanilla and salt and mix again.
3. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture, starting out by doing little pulses of the mixer so that the flour doesn't fly around everywhere. Then mix on low until the flour is barely incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and add in the chocolate chunks and chopped peanuts and mix on low speed, just until combined, being careful not to over mix. The batter will be very thick. Spoon it into the prepared pan and press it into the corners. Then smooth the top.
4. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until blondies are golden brown around the edges and just starting to show a bit of color in the middle. Don't over bake! You want these to be slightly underbaked. The center should jiggle a bit when shaken and when you press on the surface, it should feel slightly underbaked. The blondies firm up as they cool. Place the pan on a rack to cool to room temperature. Once cool, the center should have sunk a bit, leaving slightly raised sides. Cut the blondies into thin bars and serve.
5. Blondies last for a few days, stored airtight, at room temperature or up to a week in the refrigerator.
Note: Recipe adapted from Wintersweet by Tammy Donroe Inman.