When it comes to desserts, I do not fall into the "less is more" category. I believe the more the better - if you can cram in some more chocolate chip, nuts or candy, why wouldn't you? So it's no surprise that these blondies caught my eye right away. This recipe comes from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth, a gorgeous dessert cookbook packed with the most decadent dessert recipes you'll ever see. I got the book for Christmas and have been dying to break it in, so when Joe told me he had his monthly department meeting on Monday I would be sending in something from this book. I choose the Big Blondes because I had almost all of the ingredients on hand already, plus I needed to make something that could easily be eaten during a meeting. These blondies are amazing! They are SO rich and gooey - all the brown sugar and butter in the recipe makes them taste very pecan pie-like, and they are nice and chewy and gooey - not cakey at all. And can I just tell you how amazing my house smelled after I melted the butter and brown sugar together on the stove? My only complaint about this recipe is that you really need to let the batter cool for awhile, otherwise the chocolate chips will melt when you add them in. I felt like I waited forever, and the batter seemed cool enough, but the chips still melted a bit. Also, I felt like they came out a little too greasy - next time I might try reducing the butter to 1 1/2 sticks instead of 2. No worries though, they still came out great and people devoured them. I made a few modifications to the recipe (indicated below) and there are probably a million other things you could add to these if you desired. Enjoy!
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup pecan halves, toasted
1 cup walnut halves, toasted
1 cup whole raw almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted (I omitted)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (I omitted)
4 or 5 full-sized (1.4 ounces) toffee candy bars such as Heath, very coarsely chopped (I used Heath baking bits)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350. Spray 9x13” pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter and sugar are blended and completely melted and mixture starts to bubble gently. Remove pan from heat and let mixture cool slightly.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk the cooled butter and sugar mixture into the eggs until combined. Whisk in the flour and baking powder to form a loose batter. (Make sure the batter is cool before stirring in remaining ingredients; otherwise the chocolate will start to melt before the bars are baked.)
Stir the nuts, coconut, toffee chunks, and chocolate chips into the cooled batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until the top is shiny and slightly cracked and feels firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes. (Mine took a LOT longer than this to bake- closer to 50 minutes.) A wooden skewer inserted into the batter should come out with moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cool on a wire rack to room temperature, then cut into bars and serve.
Makes 15 large or 30 small bars. (I recommend cutting these small - they are very rich!)