While cooking, listen to this: Heart of Glass - Blondie
Do you ever see a recipe and just, like, die a little?
Like maybe it shows up in your Instagram feed, totally unannounced. Or perhaps it appears in an email newsletter, taking your focus away from the seventeen meetings you have going on that day.
You see that recipe, and you know at first sight that it is yours, and you will love it until the end of time.
Think I’m being over-dramatic? Read the recipe title again.
SALTED. CARAMEL. PRETZEL. BLONDIES.
A friend of mine had a birthday party this past weekend and we realized that no one was making her a birthday treat. I remembered the recipe that infiltrated my brain and made me aggressively dissociate during a meeting, and knew that she would be getting birthday blondies.
I brought them to the party and they were gone in maybe 20 minutes. Like, the entire tin, minus four I saved for my sister and fiance, was gone in 20 minutes. We brought an unreal amount of snacks, and someone brought an entire container of homemade spinach artichoke dip (don’t be surprised if that pops up here in the next few months), and still the blondies prevailed.
It was at one of those paint and sip places, and the evening continued in a very drunken, paint-splattered fashion. I’d like to think that the blondies gave everyone a nice sugar rush to paint their hearts out to Lizzo and the Spice Girls, but it was probably at least mostly the crate of wine that got demolished over the course of three hours.
Blondies by nature are always delicious and stupidly easy to make. These are also delicious by nature, and even though they have some homemade salted caramel in there, they are just as easy to make. They just take a little more watching and focus, but other than that the method is the same. They also come together really quickly, which is great when you need to make something the day of. Make these blondies, cut them up into tiny squares, bring them to some people you actually enjoy being around and lean into the perfect gathering you’ve just created.
Love and meows, Rina
SALTED CARAMEL PRETZEL BLONDIES
Yield: 16-24 brownies
Active Time: 10m | Inactive Cook Time: 40m | Total Cook Time: 50m
Category: Sweet, Bars
Source: smitten kitchen
Special Equipment: candy thermometer (optional but helpful), parchment paper
Note Part 1: these are rich af, so cutting them into smaller bars is the way to go.
Note Part 2: we were able to get the blondies out of their pan without parchment paper because we used a disposable aluminum tin (I was taking them to a party don’t at me) and we could push them out, but if you’re using a reusable container I highly recommend using the parchment paper method for your pan.
⅓ cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Pinch of flaky sea salt
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
8 Tablespoons (1 standard stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt OR ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 cup all purpose flour
⅔ cup dark chocolate chips/chunks*
½ cup thin salted pretzel sticks, slightly broken up
* I imagine these would also taste amazing with some white chocolate thrown in there as well.
Prep your pan: place some parchment paper on a a small plate and spritz with cooking spray. Make sure you carve out some room in the freezer as well.
Make the salted caramel: pour the sugar into a small saucepan and place on medium-high heat. Cook without whisking until it turns a nice copper color. I find that swirling it around a little towards the end keeps it from burning. Take off the heat and whisk in the butter, followed by the salt and cream. Return to medium heat and cook without whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until the caramel reaches “hard-ball” stage, 245-250 degrees. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, drop a tiny bit into a bowl of cold water. The caramel should form a malleable yet sticky shape in there. I found that this took closer to 2 than 3 minutes - it happens VERY quickly so keep your eye out. Pour onto your parchment-lined plate and stick in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, until it’s firm enough to be cut into squares.
Prep oven and pan: preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 X 8 pan or line the bottom and two sides of the pan with parchment paper and butter any exposed parts. We didn’t use parchment paper and just greased the pan VERY well and they came out of the pan great.
Make blondies: melt the butter in the microwave or a double boiler until it’s mostly melted. Melt the rest of the way by whisking it up until it’s fully melted - this keeps the butter from being too hot to work with. Pour in the sugar and whisk to combine, followed by the egg, vanilla and sea salt. Add flour and stir until just combined (don’t overmix!). Pour in the chocolate and pretzels but don’t combine yet. Take the caramel out of the freezer and cut into 1-inch squares. Leave a few out and add the rest to the batter. Fold into batter gently to evenly incorporate. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and add the leftover caramel squares to the top.
Bake blondies: bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are a deep golden brown and the top is mostly dry. If you want to be extra bougie, at the 15-mark you can swirl the caramel pieces on top with a knife or toothpick. Allow to cool for ten minutes before removing the blondies from the pan. Stick them on a cooling rack to cool down some more before cutting them up and devouring them.
To keep: these can be left out at room temperature for three days, and about a week in the fridge and I presume even longer in the freezer.