Sometimes, it’s as if my brain is divided into different departments that don’t want to speak to each other. I mentioned a little while ago the constant care packages I send to a certain loved one, fueling both late nights in the law library and my own desire to bake. And then, after that initial mention, they disappeared, poof, gone, not to be heard from again. My care packages have certainly not stopped, though recently they’ve been targetted to neighbors and family members, but I’ve neglected to share those recipes with you.
I often bake at night after dinner, when there’s no natural light to take photographs, and then I quickly package up what I’ve made to be shipped off in the morning. My own dessert is the few swipes of batter I lick from the bowl and that corner piece that always looks particularly ragged. I like this routine, it’s certainly better than sitting around watching TV and I enjoy puttering about the dark evening warmth of the kitchen. But it also means I neglect to think of those routine baked goods for this blog, something that needs to be remedied.
These blondies have been in my repertoire for a while, and I’ve tweaked them here and there, but in the end I decided they’re pretty darn good as written. They include coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and toffee, so really, what’s not to love? The last time I made these I was in a rush and couldn’t find Heath bars in the grocery, so I used another type of plain toffee candies, and they were not nearly as good as usual. I took them to a friend’s house and we enjoyed them anyways, but they are best with Heath/Skor bars or another chocolate coated toffee (I think the chocolate coating prevents the toffee bits from sinking to the bottom of the pan). That said, these are a snap to make and delicious, so don’t be like me and send them away, unless it’s to someone you really, really love. Or in that case, just double the recipe.
The original recipe called for a double amount baked in a rectangular pan. I’d be in serious danger if I had that many of these blondies sitting around the house, so I usually bake this more modest-sized version. That said, if you have more self control or family members than I do, go ahead and double the recipe and bake in an 11x8 inch pan for 40-50 minutes.
6 tbl butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbl instant espresso
1 tbl hot water
1 tbl vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped chocolate
1/2 cup crushed chocolate-coated toffee bar bits (such as Heath/Skor)
optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tbl Kahlua
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8” square baking pan (I usually line mine with foil, then grease the foil).
2. Dissolve the espresso in the hot water in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the espresso and the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour mixture, stirring just until any streaks disappear. Stir in the chocolate, toffee bits, and pecans just to combine.
4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. As soon as you remove them from the oven, use a pastry brush to brush the Kahlua all over the top of the blondies. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
If you don't have Kahlua on hand, rum or bourbon make good substitutes.