At the beginning of 2013, I started looking at food trends for the new year. I came across an article that talked about Blond Brownies being a dessert trend. One blond brownie recipe I love is Bobby Flay's Throwdown Blondies. For the past few months, I have been trying to find a different type of spin on a blond brownie.
As I was looking up a recipe for brownies the other day, I came across a recipe we made about a year ago, Shortbread Brownies. It has a shortbread based crust with a chewy brownie top. They were delicious. I started to think, what if I used a chocolate cookie base and put a blond butterscotch brownie on top? That could be really good. I started my experimentation on Friday night and I can admit that the first attempt was not good.
As a food blogger/baker/cook, I can appreciate trying to create new recipes, the problem is that we sometimes go overboard. Here, let me explain. I found a chocolate shortbread recipe which I thought would make a perfect base. Once I partially baked the base, I decided to put a thin layer of butterscotch (butterscotch chips) and then added the blond brownie batter. After 35 minutes, I took the brownies from the oven and they looked perfect. I waited for them to cool and couldn't wait to cut them. I cut the first corner and put a piece into my mouth...they were OK. I started cutting into the middle of the pan and realized - 1. They weren't finished cooking...raw in the middle 2. The thin layer of butterscotch was too thick and made the bar too sweet 3. The cookie base was too thick and separated from the bar due to the butterscotch. So, into the trash they went. First attempt - DISASTER. What I learned...don't overly complicate the recipe, I didn't need the butterscotch chips.
During Saturday, I searched for a chocolate shortbread cookie base which didn't have eggs. I was looking for something drier and not as thick. I found a great recipe on Bake or Break that was used to make Coconut Bar with Chocolate Shortbread Crust. I liked the Blond Butterscotch Brownie recipe I used during my first attempt which was through Taste of Home. Back to the kitchen to try this again. The chocolate cookie based baked up nicely and then I added the blond brownie top. I made sure that I toothpick checked the brownies so that they were fully cooked.
I cut into the brownies and tested a piece...PERFECT. They were buttery, chocolate, slightly crunchy, slightly chewy, sweet with a little bit of salt. This recipe combination definitely worked. I brought some into work, and gave one to my regional director as she was leaving for a meeting. She called me 5 minutes later from her car, "You are evil", she said. "Those were so good, I love the sweet and salty taste." I had great responses to these bars and am definitely making them again. I'll be adding this recipe to my next Summer Cook-Out Recipes for 2013. Give them a try, I bet you can't eat just one!
Chocolate Shortbread Crust (Base) Ingredients:
3/4 cup of flour
1/3 cup of light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 of teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place all dry ingredients into a small bowl.
3. Add the pieces of butter and blend with a pastry blade or two knives. The mixture will look crumbly.
4. Place mixture in a greased 13 X 9 baking pan. Shake the pan to even the crumbed mixture and then press firmly into place. It will resemble a slightly dried crust.
5. Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Blond Brownie Ingredients:
1/2 cup of butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of flour
2 cups of brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup of Heath Bar toffee bits
1. In a small bowl, whisk melted butter, eggs and vanilla together.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the egg and butter mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix until the batter comes together. The batter will be thick. NOTE: We mixed this for a few minutes to get it well blended.
4. Add the chocolate chips and Heath Bar bits. Mix until combined.
5. Spread over the chocolate shortbread base.
6. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
7. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 2 dozen.