Hello, hello, hello! The blog has been a bit quiet this week...much too quiet for my personal liking, but this little thing called life has been getting in the way. You see, work has been busy and I've been getting home late. Then, since we're getting closer and closer to summer and I happen to run a blog that features desserts that emphasize the use of real butter, sugar, and chocolate in generous amounts, I've been kicking it into high gear at the gym during the week after work. My attempts at getting to the gym after work have me coming home sometimes at 9:30 at night, and after I scarf down a quick dinner, it's time for my favorite activity of all, GRE prep. I can't even tell you how many irrelevant new vocabulary words that I will never ever use I've had to learn, and how much I can't wait until this stupid test is finished with. There's literally only four weeks left until it's over and done with, so the end is near! After doing an hour of GRE prep a few times a night, I'm usually pretty pooped and ready to just go to bed, meaning that my blog work has been taking a back seat. Good thing I also caught the spring cleaning bug and have been doing lots of random projects in my bedroom, as if work, the gym, and GRE work weren't enough. But I digress. I've been busy, and I've missed getting to work on the blog.
Fortunately, there's only a month left until the GRE is over with, so by then I'm sure that I'll have some more free time on my schedule and things around here can be a little more lively and dessert-filled. Until then, just bear with me. Recipes and photos will come up sporadically, but if they're a little far apart or my writing is reading a little wonky, just rest assured that this is only a temporary phase. For now though, let's focus instead on these PB+J blondies. When life gets too busy to handle, you need easy desserts to keep you sane, and these blondies are the simplest of desserts!
Blondies are a bar cookie that I have only recently begun to appreciate. Like I've written before, I typically find blondies to be nowhere near as enticing as rich and fudgy brownies. Maybe I've just been having bad blondies my whole life, because my now go-to blondie recipe is anything but blah. Made with brown butter and a generous helping of brown sugar, these blondies are moist and have a delicious depth of flavor in every bite.
I shared a variation of this blondie recipe on the blog some time ago, and since I've been so busy lately, I figured now would be a good time to revisit the recipe and make some updates to it. I didn't think the blondie base needed any work itself, as it is really quite delicious, but I did want to introduce some new flavors. I had a good amount of peanut butter and raspberry preserves in my fridge at the time, so a PB+J brown butter blondie seemed like the perfect direction to go in. Incorporating the peanut butter and preserves into the blondie was easy. I simply stirred in some chunky peanut butter (feel free to use creamy, if that's what you prefer) into the batter, and I loved how that blondie batter tasted. The only change I made to the original blondie base recipe was the addition of one more egg, because the peanut butter made the batter just a little too thick for my liking. The extra egg made the batter a little less dense and much easier to spread. Once the batter has been poured into a square baking pan, spoonfuls of raspberry preserves (or your other favorite flavor) are dalloped all over the top and then swirled with a knife. Easy, right? All it takes is one bowl, a spatula, and a wooden spoon and you have some killer blondies!
If you're a blondie person, then you'll love these, for sure. If you're not a blondie person, but are more of a chocolate brownie kind of person, you'll still love these, I promise. The peanut butter flavor really comes through the taste of the blondie batter, and the scattered bites of raspberry preserves add a nice hint of additional sweetness. This is a blondie recipe that is so simple to make, it's impossible to mess up. It's a simple bar that's reminiscent of a favorite childhood flavor combination, and is the perfect snack to make and enjoy when life just starts throwing thing after thing on you. Enjoy the blondies, and I hope to be back with a recipe and photos really soon! Stay tuned!
recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup peanut butter (chunky or creamy is fine!)
1/4 - 1/3 cup raspberry preserves
Begin by positioning an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line an 8x8-inch pan, leaving about a 2-inch overhang of parchment paper on at least two sides.
In a saucepan or skillet, melt the butter, and allow it to cook over medium heat until it begins to brown and smell nutty. Keep an eye on the butter, as it can go from brown to burned in a matter of a second! Once browned, remove the butter from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Once the butter has cooled a bit, add it to a mixing bowl along with the brown sugar. Mix together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Mix in the eggs and the vanilla extract.
Mix in the salt, followed by the flour, taking care not to overmix. Stir in the peanut butter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Drop dallops of raspberry preservers all over the top of the blondie batter (you may not need to use all the preserves). Use a knife to swirl the raspberry preserves into the bondie batter. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the blondies are set in the middle. Allow the blondies to cool on a wire rack before cutting them into squares. Enjoy!
Makes 1 8x8-inch pan