Monday, February 21, 2011

Brandy Soaked Cherry, Chocolate and Almond Blondies

I know I have mentioned smittenkitchen before- she is just amazing at inspiring me into crazy baking adventures and keeping me from fitting those skinny jeans! I can't put all the blame on her though as this time it was a birthday party and some friends over for dinner that got me asking "What should I bake?" A quick search pointed me to this super flexible blondie recipe. I absolutely agree with her comments in this recipe, being able to use melted butter instead of a standard room temp is a wonderful time saver and these blondies are easily going to become my go-to when I need a baked good fast!

I made two batches in just one weekend using the double recipe for the 9 x 12 pan and my only criticism is it is impossible to wait for these to completely cool! I was a bit too hasty on both batches and ended up with some broken bars that were "damaged" and I had to take care of them!  I guess the diet is on hold till Monday yet again. The version pictured above used dried cherries soaked in some brandy for about 20- 30 min to plump them up and rehydrate them slightly but if you are looking for a more child-friendly dessert you can also do this with hot water. I also made a simpler version using just chocolate chips and walnuts and there were no complaints (in fact I think there was a bit of a fight over the last few crumbs)!

click through for the recipe! and if you want a million mix in suggestions head to smittenkitten's comment section

Blondie Bars Basic Recipe (for 8x8 pan - double for a 9x12 pan)
1 stick butter - melted
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c flour
pinch salt
up to 2 c of "goodies"  (chocolate chips, dried fruits, nuts, toffee bits, butterscotch chips, etc) 

1) Stir the sugar into the melted butter and using a mixer whip it together till slightly fluffy
2) Add the egg and mix completely
3) Add the vanilla and combine
4) Add the flour and salt and mix
5) Add in up to 2 c of the "good stuff" (chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, cherries, almonds, toffee crunch etc) and then pour into a greased pan (mixture will be thick and dough like)
6) Bake at 350 F for 20-25 min (it took my 9x12 pan 30 -35 min and it was perfect -- but test with a toothpick)