So I love mix-ins. An ice cream with a bunch of fun stuff in it is much more appealing to me than a simple flavor with no variation in textures. Ditto for most cookies and bars. So when I was watching the finals of (a past season) of one of the many cooking competitions I watch – the Spring Baking Championship on the Food Network – I was drooling over the blondies one of the competitors made with a bunch of different treats folded into the batter. These are my version of those blondies but Jane (who ended up winning her season) gets credit for the inspiration.
I love the combination of sweet and salty and the mixture of textures and fun little surprises that await you in every bite. And the fact that you mix everything together and stick it in a pan makes these really easy with minimal clean up. Another bonus is the abundance of sampling and quality control tasting opportunities that present themselves as you chop and add each ingredient!
Blonde Brownies on Steroids:
First, make some simple blondies. (This recipe comes from the Food Network Kitchen)
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks), plus more for the preparing the pan
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
½ cup each of the following:
Mini pretzels, chopped
Malt balls, chopped
Heath Bar bits
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. In a small sauce pan melt the butter. Put the light brown sugar in a large bowl, add the butter, and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, mixing just until a smooth batter is formed.
Now comes the fun part. Gently stir the fun extras (and feel free to substitute your own preferences) into the batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the blondies in the pan slightly before cutting into squares.