sweet and salty caramel blondies
Tender, buttery blondies are delectable on their own. However, add a little crunch, a little salt, and a little caramel and the results are mouthwatering. Look no further than this recipe for an upgrade to supremely scrumptious. A golden blondie base is topped with honey, peanuts, and crushed pretzels for a perfect union of gooey, salty, and sweet. The peanuts and chunks of pretzels make for a dramatic presentation, so these are always bake sale bestsellers—be sure they are in an easy-to-grab place on the table. Of course, a little chocolate never hurt anything, so I usually drizzle some over the top.
- 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter
- 1½ cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup honey
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2½ cups roasted skinned peanuts
- 1½ cups thin pretzel twists, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″ × 9″ baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
2. To make the blondies: Melt the butter in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Pour the melted butter into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, and stir until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt and sift directly into the butter mixture. Mix until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only moist crumbs, not batter, on it. Cool in the pan on a rack for at least 1 hour.
4. To make the topping: In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar and water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil without stirring for 10 to 12 minutes, until the mixture is amber colored. Add the honey and return to a boil, stirring for about 1 minute. Add the butter and stir until melted and well combined. Whisk in the condensed milk, then stir in the peanuts. Pour the topping over the cooled blondies. Sprinkle with the crushed pretzels and salt.
5. Put the chocolate chunks or chips, if using, in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on medium power, stirring every 45 seconds, until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove the bowl from the microwave oven and stir until completely smooth. Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over the blondies.
6. Chill the blondies in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Cut into squares. Serve at room temperature.
Storage: The blondies will keep longer uncut. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil and store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
Individual containers are a pretty way to display sweets and make them easier to transport