Monster Blondies

What’s an easy homemade treat to for Halloween? I highly recommend blondies, a versatile treat that you can customize however you like. These monster blondies feature both Reese’s Pieces and M&Ms (the plain variety), as well as some candy eyeballs. They’re on their way to my favorite little Marylanders, Mo and Margo. Incidentally, Margo’s birthday is on Halloween, so I guess these count as her birthday treats as well.

Candy eyeballs are available at most craft stores in the cake and candy section; I got these at Target, in their Halloween baking section, and used both plain white and creepy red. When you’re placing the eyeballs on top of your blondies, keep in mind your cut lines for when the blondies are baked; I definitely had a few half-eyeballs, but I guess that just ups the creep factor.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Reese’s Pieces
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain M&Ms
  • Candy eyeballs

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan completely with foil and lightly spray with baking spray.

Reserve 1 cup each of Reese’s Pieces and M&Ms for mixing into the batter; save the remaining portions for pressing onto the top along with the candy eyeballs.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and brown sugar; mix well to combine.

Add melted butter and stir to incorporate slightly; add eggs and vanilla extract and stir well to fully combine. The dough will be fairly dry, so you’ll want to use your hands to fully incorporate your ingredients.

Add candies and mix with your hands to combine well.

Press dough into the prepared pan, then place candy eyeballs at regular intervals so you’ll be able to cut your finished blondies (mostly) without chopping the eyeballs in half. Sprinkle the top with the remaining candies and press them into the dough.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes, then lift out by the foil and place on a wire rack; peel foil back slightly and allow to cool completely.

Once cool, remove foil entirely and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24.

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Reese’s Pieces Blondies

These Reese’s Pieces blondies, adapted from a recipe at Sally’s Baking Addiction, were so delicious that they never even made it out of our house. I should be embarrassed to admit this, but Mike and I ate them all. That’s right…the whole pan. Granted, this was over the course of about a week, but still, we never do such things.

These blondies are as easy to make as they are delicious, requiring simple ingredients that you probably have in your pantry (except maybe for the Reese’s Pieces) and just one bowl. I lined my baking pan with parchment paper, but you could use foil or grease the pan instead of you like.

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled for 3 minutes
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Reese’s Pieces

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk melted butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Whisk in peanut butter, then eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla until well-combined.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt and stir together using a rubber spatula; batter will be very thick. Stir in 1/2 cup Reese’s Pieces, then spread batter into the baking pan, flattening as best you can to create an even layer. Sprinkle remaining Reese’s Pieces on top.

Bake for 30 minutes, then insert a cake tester in the center; blondies are done if the cake tester comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Be careful not to over-bake these; peanut butter treats tend to dry out if they’re baked too long.

Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan; lift out using parchment paper and cut into 24 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.

Butterscotch Blondies

Last weekend I discovered three bags of butterscotch chips in my pantry cabinet. Even for an avid baker like me, this seems like quite a lot. On the back of the bag, I found this wonderful recipe for what Nestle calls chewy butterscotch brownies. Since I have a hard time calling something that doesn’t involve chocolate a brownie, I’ve decided to call my version butterscotch blondies.

I adapted the original recipe just slightly, using pecans (though they did suggest nuts) and a bit more vanilla. Next time, I’ll toast the pecans before including them; while they gave a nice crunch in the texture, their flavor got a bit lost with the butterscotch. Next time I might also include some toffee pieces as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels, divided
  • 1 cup chopped pecans 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat to combine, scraping the sides of the bowl well.

Add flour mixture in three batches, beating between each to combine. Stir in 1 cup butterscotch chips and pecans; batter will be very thick.

Spoon batter into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan and sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup butterscotch chips.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until blondies are light golden brown on top and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan; cut into bars and store, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes 36 (or 24 if you cut larger squares).

Butter Pecan Blondies

Blondies are easy to make and easy to customize. Start with a basic batter and pick flavors that you like for your add-ins, then stir it all up, pour it into a pan, and bake. Simple, low-maintenance, and delicious – three of my favorite things! Just remember to keep your stir-in portions under control; you don’t want to crowd your dough too much, and you can always sprinkle more of the add-ins on top for extra flavor and texture; that’s what I always do.

Blondies are also a wonderful option for those living chocolate-free lives like me. I’ve always been a huge fan of butterscotch, so I’ve been thinking about a butterscotch blondie for a while now. Then I remembered the amazing combination of butterscotch chips, toffee bits, and pecans from these butter pecan cookies I made a while back, and it seemed like a great idea for blondies, too. I’m pleased to say that they turned out very well, with excellent texture and flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butterscotch chips, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toffee bits, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, divided

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan completely with foil and lightly spray with baking spray.

Reserve 2 tablespoons each of the butterscotch chips, toffee bits, and chopped pecans for sprinkling on top of your batter; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and brown sugar; mix well to combine.

Add melted butter and stir to incorporate slightly; add eggs and vanilla extract and stir well to fully combine. The dough will be fairly dry, so you’ll want to use your hands to fully incorporate your ingredients.

Add 1/4 cups each of the butterscotch chips, toffee bits, and chopped pecans; stir very well, using your hands if necessary to fully incorporate the ingredients.

Press dough into the prepared pan, then sprinkle the top with the remaining chips/bits/nuts and press them into the dough.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for about 15 minutes, then lift out by the foil and place on a wire rack; peel foil back slightly and allow to cool completely.

Once cool, remove foil entirely and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24.

Candy Blondies

For most of my life, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were my favorite candy. Now that I can’t eat chocolate because of migraines, I’m delighted to see that Reese’s offers a white peanut butter cup. And while I’d never really been a fan of white chocolate, it’s a wonderful alternative for migraineurs like me.

The recipe below combines two of my favorites: white peanut butter eggs and miniature Reese’s Pieces. You could mix whatever candy you like into these blondies; the recipe is one of the best I’ve found, and I’ve made it with both peanut and regular M&Ms before. Next time I make these, I might melt some peanut butter chips and drizzle it over the top, just for an extra bit of peanut butter goodness, or include peanut butter chips in the batter. The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 Reese’s White Peanut Butter Eggs, chopped
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons miniature Reese’s Pieces

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan completely with foil and lightly spray with baking spray.

Reserve 1 cup of chopped peanut butter eggs and 1/3 cup miniature Reese’s pieces for mixing into the batter; save the remaining portions for pressing onto the top.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and brown sugar; mix well to combine.

Add melted butter and stir to incorporate slightly; add eggs and vanilla extract and stir well to fully combine. The dough will be fairly dry, so you’ll want to use your hands to fully incorporate your ingredients.

Add 1 cup chopped peanut butter eggs and 1/3 cup miniature Reese’s Pieces and mix with your hands to combine well.

Press dough into the prepared pan, then sprinkle the top with the remaining candies and press them into the dough.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes, then lift out by the foil and place on a wire rack; peel foil back slightly and allow to cool completely.

Once cool, remove foil entirely and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24.

Pecan Blondies

pecan-blondieHow do you pronounce the word “pecan?” I say peh-con, with a short e-sound and so the “can” part it rhymes with lawn, while others say pee-can, with a long e-sound and so the “can” part rhymes with man. However you say it, this nut makes a delicious addition to baked goods, especially when toasted.

If you’ve never toasted pecans before, fear not. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place them on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Pecans need to toast for about 8-10 minutes, but other nuts, like slivered almonds, will need less time, say 6-8 minutes or so. Stir them a few times during baking, and keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. You’ll know they’re done when they’re darker in color and very fragrant, and you want to let them cool before you use them.

This treat reminds me a bit of the cinnamon-roasted pecans you can find at Christmas and is adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Baking Book “Make-it-Mine” Blondie recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 10 2/3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted, cooled, and chopped

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the sides. Spray lightly with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar, stirring constantly until smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Add flour mixture in a few batches, stirring well to completely combine; the batter will become thick. Stir in pecans.

Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Lightly spray your hands with baking spray and gently press the dough into the pan to create an even layer.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then lift out by the foil and allow to cool for another 10 minutes or so; you want to cut the blondies while they’re still warm. The tops will crack as you cut them, but that’s okay.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes 36 bars.

Scandinavian Blondies

scandanavian-blondiesMike gave me the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion for my birthday. Next to Boarman, the stone pig that my mom gave me last Christmas for our backyard, it’s my favorite gift I’ve ever gotten.

The Cookie Companion is a cookie baker’s bible, featuring variations on essentials from sugar cookies to bars and everything in between. I can honestly say that I intend to bake each recipe in its 400+ pages; with each one I read, I learn something new that I cannot wait to try.

These bars are adapted from the original King Arthur Flour recipe; I added lemon extract and lemon zest to the batter. They are delicious, both cakey and chewy, with a wonderful lemon almond flavor. If you’re not a lemon fan, you can skip the lemon altogether and just go with the traditional almond extract in the batter, or use a combination of almond and vanilla extracts.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 square baking pan.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs until light colored and thick. Add sugar and salt, continuing to beat until shiny and pale yellow.

Add extracts, melted butter, and 1/2 cup of the flour, folding in gently. Fold in remaining 1/2 cup of flour.

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and are a very light golden color.

Remove from oven and cool in pan before cutting. Store at room temperature.

Makes 16 bars.