Butterscotch Blondie Bars with Peanut Pretzel Caramel
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Recipe Type: Dessert
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Cook Time: 
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A blondie base made with brown butter is topped with a homemade caramel, roasted peanuts, and crushed pretzels making for a perfectly sweet and salty treat!
Ingredients
  • for the blondie-
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • for the topping-
  • 4 cups roasted unsalted peanuts (I recommend using about 2-2½ cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups twisted pretzels, coarsely crushed (I recommend using about 1 cup)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1 inch overhang on the long sides of the pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned bits form at the bottom of the pan (7-8 minutes). Transfer to a medium bowl and add brown sugar. Beat with a mixture for 2-3 minutes until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until fluffy and well-combined. Add dry ingredients, beating until smooth (batter will be thick). Spread batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Allow blondies to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. To make the caramel topping, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F. Spread peanuts over baking sheet and bake, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.
  6. Stir sugar and ½ cup water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring the mixture to a boil without stirring, occasionally swirling the pan, until the caramel is deep amber (12-15 minutes). Add honey and return mixture to a boil, stirring often, for about 1 more minute. Add butter and stir until blended.
  7. Add heavy cream (mixture will bubble). Whisk until smooth before stirring in peanuts and pretzels. Pour caramel mixture over the cooled blondie. (Or spread caramel over blondies before sprinkling peanuts and pretzels on top, pressing down gently so that they stay.) Chill until cool, about 30 minutes.
  8. Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the blondies from the pan and cut into squares.
  9. *Note--can be made up to 1 week ahead of time (keep refrigerated in an airtight container and bring to room temperature to serve).
Notes
from Bon Appetit December 2011
Recipe by Honest Cooking at http://honestcooking.com/cooking-the-magazines-butterscotch-blondie-bars-with-peanut-pretzel-caramel/