Butterscotch Blondies with Peanut Pretzel Carmel

Seriously? Just the name of these babies makes my sweet tooth perk up and believe me, the cookies don’t disappoint! While down at my in-law’s for the holidays I was struggling to get into the Christmas spirit. Being a Northwestern girl from Washington State, Christmas time = snow and cold weather. Even though I’ve been in California for almost 10 years, it is still hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit when you can go outside with flip flops on. So, in an effort to bring a little Christmas cheer into my life, I decided to embark on a marathon cookie baking extravaganza with my mother in law. We looked at tons of recipes and when I asked for my husband’s input he saw these and said, “Make those ones right now!” He is a sucker for sweet and salty combinations and these cookies hit the spot

First things first. Bake off the blondies. The butterscotch flavor comes from cooking the butter until browned bits form on the bottom of the pan. Make sure to stir frequently so the “browned bits” don’t become “burned bits”!!

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Then, bake 4 Cups unsalted peanuts in the 350 oven for 7 min until roasted and smelling like peanut butter. Set aside to cool. Then, crush up 2 Cups of pretzels – just crush coarsely, you still want big chunks for your carmel.

Now comes the fun part. 

Making the carmel! Now, first let me say, I am notorious for burning carmel. It always seems to be the case that I turn my back for ONE minute and my beautiful amber carmel turns into black tar in 60 seconds flat. But if at first you don’t succeed try, try, try, try, try… you get the idea. Luckily, this carmel is delicious AND easy.  It starts off with just a simple mixture of 1/2 Cup water and 2 cups sugar. Boil the dissolved sugar for 12-15 minutes until it turns deep amber. Just like this…

Once your carmel reaches the perfect color you add 1/4 Cup honey. Quick tip, pour some oil into your measuring cup, swirl it around and dump it out before adding the honey. Your honey will slide right out without sticking! After adding the honey still continuously for one minute. Then add 1/4 Cup butter and stir it in. Now comes the most exciting part – add 1/2 Cup heavy cream. Your mixture will bubbly like crazy!

Next up, add your roasted peanuts and pretzels. Stir until everything is coated in the delicious carmel. Then, pour over the cooled blondies. I sprinkled and extra 1/2 teaspoon over the carmel to enhance the sweet and salty-I’d highly recommend it!

Can you tell it is important to have a non-stick skillet for this recipe???

Now comes the most excruciating part…cooling the cookies for 30 minutes! Try to resist the urge to stand in front of the refrigerator and open the door every three seconds. I did that. I does not make them cool any faster. But when they are done you end up with this fantastic, crunchy, salty, sweet carmel on top of these gooey buttery blondies. It makes the prefect combination.

The only thing I would change next time I make these sinful salty bites of heaven is to make double the batch of blondies and divide the carmel between them so the carmel wasn’t so heaping on top of the bars, making them easier to eat (I particularly suggest this if you have grandpas eating these bars!). I suppose this could be achieved by halving the carmel, but that would just be silly.

These babys will go fast. Let me know what you think!

Butterscotch Blondies with Peanut Pretzel Carmel

Recipe via Bon Appetite

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Peanut-Pretzel caramel

  • 4 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2″-wide thin twisted pretzels, coarsely crushed

Preparation

Blondie

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking pane with parchment paper. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Stir butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned bits form at bottom of pan 7–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined and mixture resembles wet sand, 2–3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients; beat until smooth (batter will be thick). Using an offset or regular spatula, evenly spread batter in prepared pan.
  • Bake blondie until golden brown, edges pull away from sides of pan, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20–25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Peanut-Pretzel Caramel

  • Prehead oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread peanuts over sheet in an even layer. Bake, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Set aside.
  • Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring, occassionaly swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until caramel is deep amber, 12–15 minutes. Add honey; return to a boil, stirring often, about 1 minute longer. Add butter; stir until blended. Add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously); whisk until smooth. Stir in peanuts and pretzels. Pour over cooled blondie. Chill until cool, about 30 minutes.
  • Run a knife around short sides of pan to release blondie. Using parchment-paper overhang, lift from pan. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 10 bars.
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