Blondies feel very retro to me. In my mind, they’re in the same category as pineapple upside down cakes or ambrosia salads. I think it’s the name. It makes me think of the ’50s, and men in suits and suspenders talking to their lady friends – “Hey Blondie, go make me a sandwich!”
You know, the good ol’ days.
Peanut Butter Caramel Swirl Blondies
Adapted from Baking Illustrated
Makes 50 small blondies
Peanut Butter Caramel:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Peanut butter caramel: In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water over high heat, without stirring. In a separate saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over low heat. Once the sugar mixture has turned an amber brown color, slowly whisk in the cream until smooth and let cook for 1 minute or until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the peanut butter and salt. Let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13 pan (or 8×8 if you want thicker blondies) with foil and grease it or spray with cooking spray.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs and sugar and mix until combined. Whisk in the melted butter and vanilla and stir until smooth.
- With a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine – do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Spread batter into prepared baking dish. Drop spoonfuls of caramel mixture over the top of the batter. Drag a butter knife through the batter to create a swirl pattern.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are just beginning to brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Store in airtight container.
Much like brownies, overbaking is the biggest threat to blondies, so make sure you keep checking on them so they don’t get too brown. If you want them really gooey and soft, pull them out of the oven when they’re just barely brown at the edges.
These taste amazing when they’re warm – that gooey cookie base with little bits of chocolate, and then the peanut butter caramel swirled throughout. When baked together, the caramel becomes completely incorporated into the blondies. It’s not a typical chewy, candy caramel – if you’re looking for that texture, go with a traditional caramel instead of this peanut butter version.
Either way, they’re delicious, and are sure to please friends, coworkers, and ’50s hubbies alike.