Guess what, readers? One of my dearest blogging friends, Annie of Annie's Eats fame, is going to have a little girl this spring! Isn't that wonderful news?!? I am just so overjoyed for Annie and her family to be adding a precious new baby girl. She and her husband already have one adorable little boy and I cannot wait to see pictures of him being a big brother to his sweet new little sister.
Over the years I've known Annie, I've learned some things about her. First of all, she is a complete sweetheart. Second, the girl can cook. And bake. Period. Third, she loves butterscotch. Fourth, she loves chocolate. Finally (and no, this isn't all I know about her), Annie rarely meets a dessert too rich for her tastes.
So when I was asked to participate in her virtual baby shower, I was so excited. I immediately knew I wanted to do a dessert for Annie, but I didn't want to rush the decision. I wanted to find something just right. I went through blog after blog, website after website, and stack and stacks of cookbooks. Nothing. Finally, I found this recipe. Butterscotch? Check. Chocolate? Check. Uber rich and decadent finger food dessert perfect for a mom-to-be's cravings? Check check. In fact, these were so rich that I might only make 2/3 the ganache next time. I've left the original amount here, though, so you can decide if you want to make this to Annie's level of richness or mine :-)
I'm not the only one who brought something yummy to this shower, though. Courtney, of Cook Like a Champion, organized the shower and so many wonderful bloggers pitched in. To drop by the shower and see the full spread, please visit either Courtney's or Annie's roundup. When you visit Annie's blog, be sure to leave her some congratulatory love!
Butterscotch Blondies with Chocolate Ganache
seen on Cakespy
originally from Julia M. Usher, Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year
8 oz. caramel candies (about 27 cubes--but they now sell caramel bits!)
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 TBSP unsalted butter
4 1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3⁄8 tsp. salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chopped into TBSP-size pieces
2 1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 TBSP dark rum (optional)
2 c. pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
16 oz. premium semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 TBSP light corn syrup
1. Make the caramel topping--Combine the caramel candies with the cream and butter in a small nonreactive (stainless steel or coated) saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring regularly to prevent scorching, until the caramels and butter are completely melted and the mixture has boiled. Remove from the heat. Stir in the flour, mixing well to break apart any lumps. Add the vanilla extract and set the topping in a warm place so the caramel stays fluid while you prepare the brownie batter.
2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 10x15x2-inch glass baking dish (sometimes called a roasting pan) with foil, leaving a one-inch overhang around the top edge of the pan. Smooth out any big wrinkles in the foil and then lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Mix the blondies--Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
4. Place the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Once the butter has fully melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, mixing until smooth. (Don’t be surprised if the butter and sugar do not completely come together at this point; some separation is normal.) Cool a few minutes.
5. Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and rum, if desired. Gradually add the flour mixture, whisking all the while to keep the batter lump free. Stir in the pecans.
6. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and level with a small offset spatula. The batter will be less than 1 inch thick, but it will bake to about twice its original thickness.
7. Drizzle the caramel topping evenly over the batter. (If the caramel has thickened and is difficult to drizzle, gently reheat it.) Marble the top (and break apart any large caramel blobs) by drawing a spatula through both the topping and the batter in a random pattern.
8. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs on it, and the blondies have pulled away from the edges of the pan, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan. (Areas that had larger helpings of caramel topping may sink slightly, but don’t worry--the ganache will completely cover any holes.)
9. If desired, prepare the ganache once the blondies have completely cooled. Place the chocolate, cream and corn syrup in a heavy pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until completely melted.
10..While the ganache is fluid, pour evenly over the blondies. Gently tilt or shake the pan so the ganache completely coats the top. Cover with foil, taking care to keep it from touching the ganache. Refrigerate three to four hours, or until the ganache is firm enough to cut cleanly.
11. Remove the blondies from the pan in one block by gently pulling up on the foil overhang. Place directly on a cutting board. Remove all foil, and trim any uneven edges before cutting. For the neatest cuts, slice the bars while the ganache is firm and wipe the knife clean with a warm, damp cloth between slices. Serve at room temperature. Makes 32-36 blondies.
two years ago: chunky vegetable soup
three years ago: vanilla kipferl (Austrian almond cookies)