Chewy Nutty Toffee Blondies

I am a certified blondie lover.

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Some people might say they are simply a chocolate chip cookie baked in bar form.  But one bite of these Chewy Nutty Toffee Blondies and I dare say that you won’t be thinking about chocolate chip cookies.  Blondies have a buttery, caramel-ly wonderful warm flavor.  It’s a different ratio of flour, butter and sugars that give you that deliciousness.

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I’d even venture to say they’re kind of butterscotch-y but not like butterscotch chips, which I used to love as a kid and can’t tolerate as an adult.  Not sure what happened there, but the last time I used them in 7 layer bars, I regretted it.  I still love butterscotch candy, but the chips?  They’re a no go for me. But I digress…

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I have a friend who tells me that her favorite thing I make is Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Even during Christmas, when I’m making tons of different kinds of cookies, she always tells me to skip the variety, she’ll just have a plate of the chocolate chip cookies.  And I’m always like, what?!? What about the Raspberry White Chocolate Blondies?  What about the Italian Biscotti? What about the buttery Spritz?  Those are fine, but she’d just like the chocolate chip cookies, please.

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So, I’ve been working on blondies off and on over the past year or so.  Just like my Brownie Odyssey, I’d say they were pretty much all good, but it was hard to get both the flavor and the texture I was looking for…you know, chewy but a bit cakey.  It’s been pretty elusive for me.  Add eggs, subtract eggs, change flour and butter ratios…it was the typical drill.  I’d land on the right flavor, then lose the texture.  Sometimes the texture was right, but I’d lost the buttery caramel notes.  I kept coming back to a classic blondie ratio that many recipes are based on.

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Last Friday, I sent in blondie trial number 132 (just kidding) for my chocolate chip cookie fan to try.  I didn’t hear back right away.  Normally she would text me.  She’s a regular tester for me, so I always like to get her feedback.  The next morning, she called me and said, “I don’t know what you call that bar you gave me yesterday, but move over chocolate chip cookies.  THIS is my new favorite thing you make.”  She told me she cut a piece off to try it and then cut another, and then it was gone. (I think this is code for, “Next time, please give me more :)”

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We had the same experience when we dove in to try them.  Originally, we were just going to have samples because we had just had a big dinner and there was really no room for dessert.  So I cut one of the big bars in quarters and everyone got a bite.  It was really good…so I asked if anyone wanted another piece knowing what the answer would be.  I cut another bar in quarters and we shared it again.  We stopped after that, but everyone easily could have downed one of the large blocks alone, big dinner or not.

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The blondie was chewy and chunky and nutty and buttery and caramel-ly (I don’t think that’s a word, but I need it to be, so I’m using it :)  Then there’s the perfect amount of chocolate running through it.  I’ll be honest, when I went to measure out my semi-sweet chips, I had enough for half a cup.  Ugh!  Really?  Let’s see, I have 4 bags of milk chocolate chips, 4 bags of peanut butter chips, 2 bags of white, 1/2 bag of bittersweet, 1/2 bag of semi-sweet minis but only a partial bag of semi-sweet?!?  So, in the recipe, I listed 3/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I really had to get there with semi-sweet, bittersweet and minis. My husband told me to write that ratio down, because he wants me to make it exactly like that the next time.

Then, a quarter cup of toffee chips, mini chips and chopped walnuts is sprinkled on top.  The toffee adds a caramel chewiness when mixed into the blondie but gives it a bit of crispiness when sprinkled on top. The nuts and chocolate add more texture and nuttiness. So you bite into a crispy top and then you get chunky, chewy, buttery, caramel chocolate yum.

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The other thing I love about these? (Outside of the fact that they mix up easily in one bowl?) Well, I think those Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies just aren’t the same without toasted pecans.  I almost never make them with the nuts because my family prefers them without.  I think the nuts MAKE that cookie.  But this blondie?  I added lots of walnuts and no one complained a bit. So this is one recipe that I can make just the way I like it.  My husband said I could stop testing; this one is his vote for the perfect blondie.  Is it my ultimate?  It’s really close. I’m sure I’ll keep tweaking it to see if I can make it better.  It might have been a tad too chunky for me.  I think I might reduce the amount of added chips and nuts a bit next time.  I’m not sure.  I think I’ll have to try another one…

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Just to make sure :)

 

Chewy Nutty Toffee Blondies

Ingredients

For blondie:

  • 8 Tablespoons 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup bread flour or all purpose
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup toffee chips I used Heath

For topping:

  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips I used mini chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup toffee chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8" x 8" square pan with heavy duty foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter in a large mixing bowl in the microwave. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk in sugars, then egg and vanilla until fully combined and creamy.
  4. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Switch to a spoon or spatula and stir until just combined. I leave streaks of flour at this step, since it will be further combined in the next.
  5. Add in chocolate chips, walnuts and toffee chips and stir until evenly distributed.
  6. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  7. Sprinkle each of the 1/4 cups of chocolate chips, walnuts and toffee chips on top of the batter.
  8. Bake for about 22-27 minutes or until top is lightly golden. Be careful not to overbake or you will have a dry blondie. Mine was done in 25 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool completely. Use foil to pull blondie out of pan. Slice and serve.

Recipe Notes

*You can use a 9 X 9" pan if you need to, but I think the texture is partly dependent upon the smaller pan, which makes for a thicker blondie.

*I didn't toast the walnuts that I sprinkled on top since they were exposed and would toast in the oven anyway.

*I mentioned I might like to try a little less chunkiness next time. For that, I would probably reduce the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup and nuts to 1/4 cup for the part you mix in (keeping toffee the same.) Then, for toppings, I would reduce nuts and toffee chips to 2 Tablespoons each, keeping chocolate the same. If I try that and like it better, I'll report back. Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

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