Thursday, June 2, 2011

Joy the Baker's Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate Frosting

Note to self: do not buy baking pans at Rite Aid.  Your coworkers will thank you later.

I used to have a beautiful nonstick 9x13 baking pan.  With a lid.  You know, the kind that you buy just in case you need it, but then end up using all the time.  I would take Mr. Pan-with-Lid to work at least once a week.  He helped me gain the popularity I so desperately coveted in grade school.... junior high.... high school... coll- umm... for a long time.  Everyone loves a good brownie, or a piece of shortbread, or some apple crisp.  And everyone loves the person who brought them too.

Unfortunately, my coworkers loved them a little too much.  A slice there, a scrape here, and pretty soon my nice nonstick pan was.... sticking.  And letting off shavings of... non-stick-stuff.  (oh yeah, it's called Teflon.  Thank you.)  Finally one day I had to face the facts: Mr. Pan-with-Lid was done.  He was at the end of his days and there was no going back.  I gave him a ceremonial burial in the round file and figured his lid, though unscathed, should go with him.  Why deny him companionship in the Baking Pan Afterlife, right? 

Now I was in need of a new covered pan.  As good as the old pan was, I've changed my mind about Teflon... I don't ever want anyone to end up with little bits of plastic in their Cranberry Shortbread Bars or Plum Clafoutis.  That may incite revulsion on the part of the eater... which would result in unpopularity on the part of the baker, which would just be bad all around.  A plain metal pan it is.  But it can't be too expensive (I'm looking at you, Williams-Sonoma) and I need it fast (no leisurely antique store browsing).

A few short days later, I found myself in Rite Aid, for self-tanner, nail polish, and, apparently, a baking pan.  It was cheap, I was there, and it was aluminum (I think?).  Awesome. 

However, I made its inaugural batch of bars, brought it to work, took it home, washed it, and dried it.  I then placed it in the cupboard.  Where it rusted.  Not awesome.

Some day I will find a good metal 9x13 baking pan.  With a lid.  Until then, there's always glass.

Hey, have you met Joy?  She's my new favorite baker.  We both love to bake, but the big difference is that she gets to do it 24/7, whereas I only get to do it... uh... 3/7?  Does that work?  3 hours a day?  Something like that.

The texture of this batter is like toffee... thick, heavy, buttery toffee.  You guys, I was really, really tempted to just eat half the batter right there out of the bowl, it was so good.  Oh wait....

Joy used milk chocolate for the frosting, but I only had semi-sweet. Which I like better.  And I also used half smooth and half chunky (ugh... hate that word) peanut butter, because that's what I had, and I actually really like the peanut pieces in there.  I might even add a handful of chopped peanuts next time.  But hey!  Use whatever floats your boat.  These are now your peanut butter blondies, so... own them!  This is my version.

Joy the Baker's Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate Frosting
10 Tb. unsalted butter
2 c. brown sugar
1 c. smooth peanut butter (natural if you have it, if you don't, be sure to cut down on the brown sugar)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 c. flour

Preheat oven to 325. Grease your 9x13 (your.... uh... glass 9x13) and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the brown sugar.  Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.  Add the peanut butter and let cool for another 5 minutes.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Resist the urge to create even more dirty dishes, namely, tasting spoons.

Sprinkle the salt and baking powder over everything, add the flour, and stir until incorporated. Smooth the batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool to room temp before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting
6 Tb. unsalted butter, softened
3 Tb. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 - 2 c. powdered sugar
3 Tb. milk
3/4 c. chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled

Beat butter, cocoa*, and salt in a large bowl.  Add 1/2 c. powdered sugar, then 1 Tb. milk.  Add 1 c. powdered sugar and 2 Tb. milk.  Add chocolate and beat until fully incorporated.  Add more powdered sugar if you like your frosting thicker, and spread over the peanut butter blondies.

Bask in the glory of your coworkers' "mmmm"s. 

*A little tip about using cocoa powder, which tends to poof up into the air when you so much as look at it.  If you don't mind using one more little bowl (and I clearly have no issue getting many dishes dirty), mix your cocoa with a little bit of milk or water before adding it to your mixing bowl.

~Eat well!

1 comment:

  1. hilarious! I'll have to keep the pan in mind for the next time I want to get you a gift :)