Monday, March 3, 2014

"Not Your Average Blond-ie"

I call this recipe "Not Your Average Blond-ie" because it's so much more than just a regular blondie. It's big, it's bad, it's bodacious, packed full of butter, dark brown sugar, 2 types of nuts, 2 types of chocolate, toffee bits and coconut. How can you go wrong with that combination?

I adapted this recipe from one of my all-time favorite Cook Books, Sticky, Gooey, Messy, Chewy: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O'Connor. I bought this book several years ago at a signing at William Sonoma. I just happened to walk into the Fashion Valley store (just to browse) when I saw Jill giving samples of her Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies. Seriously, a single bite of that cookie changed my life. It was as if the clouds parted and the Cookie Gods shone down from heaven. No exaggeration....
Now, I'm not trying to sell the book, but if you are looking for a great baking cook book, this one needs to be on your book shelf for sure. First of all, the name. Who can resist it? Second, the book is super cute and has lots of pictures. Third, the names of the recipes alone will make your mouth water - Chocolate Caramel Pecan Souffle Cake, Cinnamon Donut Bread Pudding, Double Crumble Hot Apple Pies....I mean, come on now people....
Needless to say, I bought not one but two autographed copies of the book (one I gave to Yvonne). Each and every single recipe I have tried has been mind blowing and this one was no exception. Take it from me, this is "Not Your Average Blondie".
"Not Your Average Blond-ie"
Makes 24 square bars
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar (be sure to use dark brown, it's essential to the flavor)
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup whole raw almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup toffee bits (I used Heath Toffee Bits)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)


Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350f

Line a 13"x9" metal baking pan with non-stick foil or spray regular foil with non-stick spray.

Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Cook stirring constantly until the butter and sugar are melted and starting to bubble gently.  Remove from heat and allow to cool approx. 10-15 min (stir occasionally to help cool the mixture down).

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk in the cooled butter-brown sugar mixture whisking just until combined.

Whisk in the flour mixture to form a loose batter. At this point, make sure your batter is cool to ensure you do not melt the chips when they are added.

Stir in the nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and toffee.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth to an even layer with a rubber spatula.

Bake approx. 30-40 minutes until the surface is glossy and golden brown, slightly cracked around the edges and feels firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted should come out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove and place the pan on a wire cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before cutting.

Store leftover bars tightly covered for up to 3 days.

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