Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pretzel-Crusted Brown Butter Bourbon Blondies.

Here's the thing about baking with bourbon: do it.

It's that time. Not bourbon time (although: yes)... February! My birthday month! When all I want to do is bake with miniature bottles of booze and sprinkles. 

First up: drunken blondies. 

Which may or may not be prove to be ironic.

Baking blondie bars is my top secret, favorite way to skip the whole scoop-roll-bake-waiting game of baking cookies. I totally learned this trick from my mom. It's my way of saying I love you, I want to make things of butter and brown sugar for you... 

... but I'm also way too obsessed with watching and rewatching Pitch Perfect right now to stop and roll out balls of cookie dough. 

And when I say obsessed, I mean quoting Rebel-Wilson-as-often-as-possible obsessed

I do, however, have time to spike some cookie bars with booze and brown butter, whisk in some white and dark chocolate chips, and bake it all on top of a buttery crushed pretzel crust. I'll even have a little bit of bourbon left over... which, you know, I'll probably have to taste for quality control.

I could try and convince you all I know a just one thing about bourbon... but I don't. Bourbon, whiskey, rum, anything that's not a margarita immediately in my face on a Friday night or sweet, crisp, pink wine... it's not my thing. 

What is my thing? The slight caramel-vanilla flavor that a few tablespoonfuls of bourbon adds to these blondies once the alcohol (unfortunately) cooks off. Just look at that dark amber color! 

Out of the oven, these bars smelled like caramelized brown sugar, rich brown butter, spicy, melted dark chocolate, and buttery pretzels. If you've never strategically snuck spoonfuls of booze into your cookie batter, you're basically looking at a so-wrong-it's-right situation. If it's your birthday month, you're looking at living-life-right situation. (Especially if you serve these upside down with a scoop of coffee ice cream and  some salted caramel.) 

And if you just want an excuse to buy tiny bottles of alcohol for your baking cabinet, then please accept this high-five and invitation to my birthday party.

I'll say it. I think one of us should. 

Bourbon just may be the new brown butter. 

Pretzel-Crusted Brown Butter Bourbon Blondies

Printable Recipe

Pretzel Crust
2 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate + 1/2 cup white chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.

Combine melted butter and crushed pretzels in a medium bowl until moistened. Press into the bottom of prepared baking sheet with the back of a spoon (or your hands) and set aside. If pretzels still seem loose, drizzle a little melted butter over the top or lightly spray with non-stick spray until the crust holds. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Next, brown your butter. Melt butter over medium heat until golden brown and nutty (more information on browning butter here). When butter is browned, remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and bourbon until smooth. 

Gradually stir in the flour mixture, mixing until thoroughly combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour over prepared pretzel crust. Using the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula, spread cookie batter evenly over crust.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and the center tests clean when poked with a toothpick. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars and serving... with a scoop of coffee ice cream on top, if you feel like living dangerously. 

Source: Adapted from Cheryl & Griffith Day's bourbon blondies, as found in The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.