Kitchen Sink Blondies

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Brownies + Blondies / Chocolate

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One of the very first desserts I ever baked when I started really getting into it was Blondies.  You might say my curiosity got to me.  You see, it’s like a brownie but, well there’s no chocolate.  I know, I know it sounds devastating but in truth they’re one of the most underrated desserts out there.  And, you can throw in anything and everything you may have laying around and, get this…they still turn out incredible.  I may or may not have gone a bit overboard but let me just tell you, the results will blow your mind.

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When I say these have everything, I seriously mean they have everything.  Because at first I was like, well obviously I’m going to have to include some chocolate but then wouldn’t toasted walnuts be amazing, and oh yes I have an over-ripe banana I can throw in there, but also doesn’t it need more chocolate, and how isn’t chocolate made better when there’s peanut butter in it?  You all can see how this turned into a bit of a smorgasbord of ingredients.  I was honestly worried as I dumped item after item into the batter this was going to be an epic disaster but I was wrong, boy was I wrong.  These Blondies are as gooey as you could ever imagine; an explosion of chewy, crunchy, so-many-textures you can’t even imagine and probably one of the richest desserts I think I’ve ended up making to date.

You’ll see I cut these into bite-sized squares because honestly I can’t imagine being able to finish one any bigger than my palm in one sitting.  Also, this is a toasted-nut enforcing blog.  Please, do yourself a favor and always toast nuts before using them in any baking recipe.  The difference is incomparable.

*recipe inspired by Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

For the Blondies
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 113 grams) butter, melted
1 cup (218 grams or 7 3/4 ounces for light; 238 grams or 8 3/8 ounces for dark) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch salt
1 cup (4 3/8 ounces or 125 grams) all-purpose flour
Optional (but like, do yourself a favor and include them)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, toasting them first for even better flavor
1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips
1 mashed banana

For the Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache
6 ounces chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
pinch of salt

Further additions, use one or a combo of
1/2 teaspoon mint extract in addition to or in place of vanilla
1/4 cup bourbon, scotch or whiskey; increase the flour by 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons of espresso powder with the vanilla
Stir 1/2 cup dried fruit, especially dried cherries, into the batter
Top with a vanilla buttercream, or chocolate peanut butter buttercream

Instructions

For the Blondies

  1. Butter an 8×8 pan
  2. Mix melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla.
  3. Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any/all of your additions.
  4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. I always err on the side of caution with baking times — nobody ever complained about a gooey-middled cookie. Cool on rack before cutting them.

For the Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache

  1. Pour chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) into a metal mixing bowl.
  2. Stirring constantly over a low flame, heat whipping cream, butter and peanut butter in a small saucepan until the peanut butter is completely incorporated into the milk. The sauce should just about reach the boiling point, but don’t let it actually come to a boil. You should see bubbles forming around the edges of the pot. If you’re using a thermometer, heat it to about 180°F (82°C).
  3. Immediately pour hot cream and peanut butter over chocolate and use a fork to beat until completely smooth.
  4. Pour over Blondies and let harden
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