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I know, I know, the title of the recipe alone is a little daunting. And make no mistake, this isn’t a dainty little desert. But if you like salty and sweet, this is the thing for you. I can’t stop eating them. In fact, I cut some up and took them to Grace’s school to prevent myself from eating the whole pan and while I was packing them I took some out to leave at the house. Because I’m a pig like that.

These bars aren’t difficult, but they do require a little bit of a time commitment, just to warn you up front. You know why? Because they involved two of the most delicious things known to man: brown butter and caramel. Aren’t familiar with brown butter? Well you’ve been missing out.

Also, the recipe calls for 4 cups of peanuts. That’s insanity. Whoever wrote it must have had the munchies. If you used that many, you’d have a peanut topping about 3 inches thick. I used 2 cups (and I still thought that was a lot). You do what you want (and please, people from Bon Appetit don’t kill me for fiddling with your recipes).

Butterscotch Blondie Bars with Peanut Pretzel Caramel

Blondie

  • 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cut unsalted butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Peanut Pretzel Caramel

  • 4 Cups roasted unsalted peanuts (do not, under ANY circumstances use this many)
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 1/4 Cup honey
  • 1/4 Cup butter
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 Cups small twisted pretzels, coarsely crushed
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt. Stir butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown bits begin to form, 7-8 minutes. (NOTE: don’t leave unattended, the bits will appear suddenly and very shortly will burn).
  2. Transfer to an electric mixer and beat with brown sugar until it resembles wet sand. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until fluffy. Add dry ingredients, mix until just combined. Using an offset spatula, spread in an 13 x 9 metal baking pan lined with parchment with some overhang. I used glass, because that’s what I had. Bake until it pulls away from the sides and a tester comes out with a few crumbs, 20-25 minutes. Let cool.
  3. When the blondie is cool, heat oven to 350. Place peanuts on a parchment lined sheet and roast 5-7 minutes, stirring, until fragrant.
  4. Begin the caramel. Stir sugar and half cup water in a large, high sided saucepan until dissolved. Increase heat and boil, without stirring (swirl the pan to mix. Bon Appetit says to use a wet pastry brush to brush down the sides, but I don’t have one, so I didn’t and sure I got a little ring of hard sugar. Who cares) 12-15 minutes until caramel is a deep amber. (NOTE: your caramel will go from pretty amber to black in a heartbeat. Watch it. Don’t leave it alone.) Add honey, boil 1 minute. Add butter, whisk until smooth.
  5. Next you will whisk in the cream. Hold your whisk with an oven mitt or a hot pad. Keep your face away from the pan. When you add the cream, the mixture will steam up and burn your whisking hand. Whisk until smooth. Add peanuts and crushed pretzels.
  6. Pour Caramel over blondie, even spread out. Chill until cooled (at least 30 minutes). Using the parchment, lift entire cooled blondie out of pan and slice

    This is what brown butter looks like. It smells divine, it makes everything taste better. But this is like a millisecond before it burned. DON'T let yours get this dark.

    Mmmm, brown butter in the batter. I was sure at this point the blondie would be good on it's own. It was.

    Your caramel starts like this . . .

    . . . and goes to this in an instant. The very instant you get distracted, or answer the phone, or space out thinking "When will this ever turn color?" So PAY ATTENTION. Or you'll have a lot of burned sugar on your hands.

    Ohhhhh boy. Who wants to wait for this to cool? NOT ME.

    Finished. Let the gorging begin.

    .

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