Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Blondies

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? - February 22, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published in All You, January 2011.

I enjoy baking, but it tends to be last on my cooking list.  If I run out of time, there are plenty of bakeries I can visit to satisfy my sweet tooth.  Also, my husband is a sweet-fiend.  If I bake something, I literally have to hide it from him or he’ll eat the entire dish.

On occasion, I’ll stumble across a great bar cookie recipe.  These tend to get pushed up on the cooking list since it is mix, pour and bake.  I have to admit that the peanut butter/pretzel/chocolate chip combo was very appealing and I was excited to make these.

My finished product:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Blondies
One task I have yet to master is having my bar cookies lay flat and not overcook on the edges.  I know there’s a trick to it… I just don’t know what it is.  They still looked good enough to eat though.

Picture published with recipe:
© All You

Yes, my brownies you can still see the edges, but if you look at the actual brownie part, it looks pretty close.  Overall, I was proud of how close I got it because I kinda knew my edges would be overcooked.  They always are.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessNADA – There really isn’t any prep and the cookies are mixed in one bowl while the glazed is in another.  The pan is lined with parchment paper, so even that isn’t too large a mess to clean.

Start-to-Finish Time: UNDER AN HOUR – Really the mixing of the cookie batter should be easy enough, but I had some issues getting it in the pan (more to follow later) so that increased the time a little.  There is a 30 minute bake time but that is normal for a cookie like this.

Prep Work: ALL FINGERS STILL HERE – Technically, I should say that there was SOME prep work.  I had to crush the pretzels, but it took all of maybe 30 seconds.  The rest was mix, melt and bake.

Ease of Recipe: COOK IT IN MY SLEEP – if you ever baked with anyone as a child, you more than likely made some version of this recipe.

OverallYUMMY – I will admit that I haven’t made these again, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about them.  They were moist and the peanut butter and chocolate glaze was absolutely delicious.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Calorie Count.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Other Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24

Nutritional Information (1 large blondie)
  • Calories 234
  • Total Fat 11g (Saturated Fat 6g)
  • Cholesterol 33mg
  • Sodium 128mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 33g
  • Fiber 1g
  • Protein 3g
The timing for the recipe was pretty accurate.  I think it took me slightly longer because I had some issues with my batter.  Here’s how long it took me to complete the recipe:
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Assemble Blondies: 21 minutes
  • Bake: 30 minutes
  • Prepare / Spread Glaze: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 57 minutes
You absolutely can get 24 servings, but I wouldn’t consider them “large”.  My recommendations are either cut the bars into 12 servings or use the serve the 24-size bars with a little vanilla frozen yogurt.   

When I ran the recipe through Calorie Counter, I came up with:
  • Calories 226
  • Total Fat 10.5g (Saturated Fat 6g)
  • Cholesterol 35mg
  • Sodium 78mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 30.4g
  • Fiber .9g
  • Protein 3.4g
  • Sugars 18.7g 
  • Nutritional Grade D-
The numbers are very similar, which is surprising to me, but it gets a D-?  Ouch.  I don't have the skill to change the nutritional information for this recipe.  Baking is a science and I would be terrified to try to get it healthier.  I accept the unhealthy nature of this dish.  Besides, a little treat doesn’t hurt anyone.

Changes denoted by red text

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Blondies
Ingredients - Dairy
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1½ cups coarsely crushed salted pretzels (about 3 oz.)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup smooth peanut butter

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Blondies
Ingredients - dry
Ingredient Notes:
Salted Pretzels –buy the thin/small rods for easy crushing.  The other types can give you too large of pieces in your blondies.

Equipment Needed:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Blondies - Equipment
Ziploc bag
Rolling pin
9x13" baking pan
Parchment paper
Spoon - mixing
Stand mixer
(2) Plastic spatula
Baking tester / Toothpick
Microwave-safe bowl

Equipment Notes:
Ziploc Bag & Rolling Pin – if you’re scratching your head about these items… it’s how I crushed the pretzels.

Baking Panaccording to Better Homes and Gardens metal pans are best used to achieve nicely browned baked goods or for broiling and high temperatures.  If you only have a glass pan, you can use it, but watch it closely since glass dishes transfer heat differently.

Parchment Paperparchment paper is a heavy paper that is the expensive sibling to waxed paper.  Of course, it is worth the extra money when you are dealing with sticky and gooey ingredients or baked goods.  Apparently some people use paper bags, but they can catch on fire and can be treated with chemicals, so I wouldn’t advise it.  If you only have waxed paper on hand, you need to grease it before adding the ingredients.  If you don’t, you may have an issue getting the blondies out of the pan.

Stand Mixer – the original recipe called for an electric mixer, but I found it easier to use my stand mixer.

Baking Tester / Toothpick – the original recipe called for a toothpick, but I have a handy little baking tester that I use.  I can't even remember where I got this thing from, but I love it!  The great thing is that I don’t have to worry about keeping toothpicks around (although I always have them – go figure) but the bad thing is that I occasionally lose track of it in my drawer.

Microwave-Safe Bowl – the original recipe called for a bowl over pan of simmering water – a makeshift double boiler.  I’m not sure when things changed, but most of the time, my recipes tell me to simply use the microwave to melt chocolate.  That’s what I did this time, and it was fine.

(1)  Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment.

(2)  In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.

(3)  Using a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light.

(4)  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla.

(5)  Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture.

(6)  Stir in chocolate chips and 1 cup pretzels. Spread evenly in baking pan.

So this is where I had some problems.  Spreading the batter is NOT easy.  I know what you’re thinking… I must be insane, but the batter was REALLY thick – like cookie batter thick.  I had to push it to the edges of the pan with my fingers.  (Don’t worry, they were clean – I think)

© You Want Me to Cook?
Chocolate Chip-Pretzel Blondies
Blondies pre-glaze
(7)  Bake until a baking tester inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

(8)  In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate with peanut butter for 1 minute and 30 seconds stopping to stir every 30 seconds until it is melted and smooth.

(9)  Spread mixture evenly over blondies.

(10)  Sprinkle with remaining crushed pretzels. Let cool before cutting into squares.

These were really yummy!!  I was worried about the blondies being too hard since it wasn’t a batter like a brownie.  However, it was very moist and the small amount of chocolate/peanut butter on top was a perfect mix with the chocolate chips and pretzels in the blondies.

I checked the comments board on the recipe, but there was only one other comment that simply said “Phenomenal - hits all the notes! And super easy.”  Not exactly helpful with some of the issues I had.  I promise to post any updates if someone gets back to me about why my batter was so thick and/or how to fix it.

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