17 October 2008

Cookie Bake-Along: Peanut Butter Blondies

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that on one of the foodie boards we've started our Christmas Cookie Bake-Along. I've gotten behind, so today I decided to make these blondies from the second week. The recipe is in The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

Batter mixed up and in the Fiesta rectangular baker

Baked and cooling

Turned out of the pan

Cut and ready to be served

Peanut Butter Blondies

Makes 24 blondies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (3 ounces)
1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped (1 1/4 ounces)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil.*

2. In a large bowl, whisk the butter and brown sugar together. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in the peanut butter until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in the peanut butter chips and peanuts.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the blondies until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. (If the toothpick comes away clean, the blondies are overbaked)

4. Let the blondies cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove the blondies from the pan using the foil, cut into squares, and serve.

Chocolate-peanut butter blondies
Although we prefer bittersweet chips here, semisweet chocolate chips can be substituted.
Add 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, with the peanut butter chips in step 2.

*Making a foil sling:
With their gooey fillings and high sugar content, brownies and bar cookies and often snack cakes can be nearly impossible to remove from their baking pans – no matter how well the pan is greased. After baking countless batches, we finally found a method that works every time. Lining the pan with an aluminum foil or parchment paper “sling” before baking prevents any casualties. Once cooled, the bar cookies may be lifted easily from the pan, transferred to a cutting board, and cut into tidy squares.

1. For a square pan, cut two long sheets of aluminum foil so they they are as wide as the baking pan (if the pan is rectangular, the two sheets will be different sizes). Lay the sheets of foil in the pan, perpendicular to one another, with the extra foil hanging over the edges of the pan. (The foil forms a cross. The centre of the cross covers the bottom of the pan, and the edges of the cross are the overhang)

2. Push the foil into the corners and up the sides of the pan. Try to iron out any wrinkles in the foil, smoothing it flush to the pan. Grease the sides and bottom before adding the batter.

3. After the brownies, bars, or cakes have baked and cooled, use the foil sling to lift and transfer them to a cutting board before cutting into squares. The foil should easily peel away.

1. I am into easy and the foil sling sounded like too much complication to me. All I did was spray my Fiesta rectangular baker with Bakers' Joy and you can see from the pics, the blondies came out of the pan with no problems. I used an offset spatula to get them out.

2. Forgot to rotate the pan halfway through baking, but I couldn't tell that made any difference in how evenly they baked. This may be because of using the ceramic Fiesta baker which would spread the heat more evenly.

3. Although the recipe said it makes 24, I cut these into 32 bars.

4. My taste is off these days due to the treatments, but I felt like these were too sweet. If I were making them again for me, I would replace the chips with more peanuts. DD#1 who doesn't like peanut butter, but does like Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, thought these would be much better with chocolate chips instead of peanut butter chips. Mike thought they were great just the way they are, but did allow that chocolate will always make things better. LOL.

5. These were super easy, particularly if you don't worry about the foil sling. DD#2 has rehearsal tomorrow and wants to take the rest of these with her. I'm sure the actors and crew will love them.
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webbie said...

I felt they were a bit too sweet also. So glad that you are up and about and feel like cooking. Amazing what a little (lot) of blood will do for you!

Becky said...

Yeah, I always feel better for a few days after transfustions. So I try to get things done on those days. Including doing some cooking! :-)

You think replacing the chips with more peanuts would solve the "too sweet" issue?