Lately, I've been totally digging the whole blondie thing. I've done riffs that include pumpkin puree, chia seeds and flaxseed, and another one that incorporates dark chocolate, dried cranberries and almonds. I have designs on more, too. These crazy sweet and salty blondies are basically variations on the breakfast blondies I posted a while back, with granola and fresh raspberries. They're whiz-bang fast to throw together, impart an eating experience that's similar to brownies but a taste sensation more like cookies. Talk about a fantastic compromise when you want a more hands-off baking experience, one that allows you to do other things. And for this version, which was going to my sister-in-law's as a treat for everyone who was helping to move her into her new house, I wanted to make it as crazy as possible. I think, however, I held back, but that's only because I ran out of mix-ins!
For this version, which I baked in a 9x13-inch pan, I doubled most everything except the sugar, as I am always looking for ways to cut back sugar and see how noticeable it is, or isn't, in the end result. This move is especially on my mind when I'm mixing in items that are sweet enough on their own, whether naturally or otherwise. I don't think this suffered too much in terms of taste or texture by cutting back a bit on the sugar; normally, it would be 2 cups for a pan of this size.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 2/3 cups brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp coffee extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups crushed pretzels
- 1 1/2 cups toffee bits
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- Coarse salt for dusting the top
Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan and preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the melted butter and sugar. If the mixture seems too hot, set it aside and let it cool for a moment before whisking in the eggs, vanilla and coffee extracts; otherwise you'll end up with scrambled eggs, which isn't really what we're going for here.
Whisk in the flour and baking soda, and add in the pretzels through almonds, which should total about 3-6 cups of mix-ins. Pour it into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-27 minutes until it's lightly browned around the edges and a few moist crumbs stick to a cake tester or skewer that's been stuck in the middle of the pan.
Cool on a wire rack, in the pan, completely. As it's cooling, I like to grind a few rounds of coarse pink Himalayan salt over the top, but if you've got Maldon or something else coarse, flaky and/or flavorful in the world of salt, go for it.