Chocolate-Peanut Butter Blondies

My friend Jessica turned 30 this weekend, and we drove up to Santa Cruz for the day to hang out on the beach and celebrate.  I wanted to bring some sort of dessert that would travel well, and unfortunately I don’t have any boxes to put cakes in (a serious problem that needs to be remedied!)  I was browsing some blogs when I came across these at Smitten Kitchen. I immediately knew they were the perfect option, #1 because who doesn’t like chocolate and peanut butter? and #2 I could decorate them and not worry about frosting sliding around or melting off or somehow getting ruined over the course of the 2 1/2 hour drive.

So I made them, unfortunately slightly over-baked them, and people still loved them.  That thick layer of chocolate ganache really made up for my inability to set a timer.  I used a little peanut butter frosting to decorate. 

(Adapted from Gourmet, October 2007, seen at Smitten Kitchen)

Makes 32 small blondies
For blondies
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (9 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt, see note

For ganache
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (9 ounces)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Make blondies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan.
Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until incorporated. Beat in whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Reduce mixer sped to low, then mix in flour until just combined.
Mix in chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) then spread batter in baking pan, smoothing top. (It will be thick, almost like cookie batter.)
Bake until blondies are deep golden, puffed on top and a wooden pick inserted in center come out with some crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Make ganache: Put chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) in a heatproof bowl.
Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate chips and let mixture stand for one minute.
Gently whisk in butter until it is incorporated, chocolate is melted, and a smooth mixture forms.
Spread ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set, about 15 minutes.

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