Tuesday, November 27, 2012

browned butter blondies with pretzels and chocolate chunks.

I am working in a “hurricane edited” version of my kitchen – a version that has only one spatula and no pepper mill (which means I’ve been grinding pepper with a mortar and pestle, I feel so old fashioned).   I have a rather large box coming from Amazon this week and once that arrives, I will (hopefully!) be able to tackle a couple of the recipes from my growing pile ripped out magazine pages that have made a home next to my bed.  Until the presents I have purchased myself pour in, I will have to stick with the basics, which means many one-dish meals.  This also means that when my craving for sweets hits (which it did with abandon last night), I need to rely on simple bar cookies like the blondie.  The blondie is somewhat underappreciated; it plays second fiddle to the brownie and the chocolate chip cookie which is really a shame because I think it’s rather lovely, especially if you fancy it up with browned butter, chunks of dark chocolate, and chopped pretzels which gives it the most wonderful salty crunchy bite.  I managed to eat three for dinner last night while browsing cyber Monday sheet sales, maybe it wasn’t the healthiest of dinners, but I enjoyed myself immensely. 

Browned Butter Blondies with Pretzels and Chocolate Chunks
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

This is the first time where I really noticed the difference in the regular butter vs. browned butter, and I will be the first to tell you it makes all the difference in the world.  BROWN THE BUTTER – it gives an unbelievable nuttiness to the cookie as well as giving the cookie the most beautiful tan color ever.  The addins are optional – but the pretzels and chocolate chunks are spectacular (nuts would be lovely as well). 

¾ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup pretzel twists, coarsely chopped
3.5 ounces (100 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 pan with greased parchment paper and set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Stir butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown bits begin to form, about 5-7 minutes.  (Note – do not leave the butter unattended, the bits will appear suddenly and very shortly will burn.) 

Transfer to an electric mixer and beat with brown sugar until it resembles wet sand, about 2-3 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix until fluffy.  Add dry ingredients, mix until just combined, then add the chocolate chunks and the pretzel twists.  Using an offset spatula, spread the mixture into the pan (it will be very thick). 

Bake until it pulls away from the sides and a tester comes out with a few crumbs, about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool.  Try to avoid eating them all in one sitting. 

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