Friday, March 29, 2013

Peanut Butter Rolo Blondies w/ White Chocolate Chevron.

Peanut butter blondies + pastel Easter Egg stripes. I mean... really. Could Friday get any better? 

It could. Because Rolos!

So far 2013 has been about combining my favorite flavors into something else entirely... and in totally unexpected ways. Brown butter and bourbonChocolate chip oatmeal cookies and s'moresOreos and white chocolate raspberry. I literally get inspired (and make it through my work day) by thinking of two things I love and dreaming up ways to smash them together. 

Like peanut butter and caramel and white chocolate M&Ms. 

I knew about chocolate and peanut butter. Seriously... trust. And I knew about peanut butter and marshmallows (obsessed/in love). Peanut butter and spoons is also a true thing to appreciate. But peanut butter and caramel? Get into this immediately/where have I been living!

Like oatmeal and brown butter, bourbon and chocolate, these two rich, honey-sweet flavors complement each other in an even sweeter, richer, meant-to-be flavor.

The best part about these blondies? They're a buttery, sugary-sweet blank canvas for all kinds of cookie doughs, flavors, and add-ins. Chocolate chip cookie dough, sugar cookies, all-chocolate cookies, or fudgy brownie batter mixed with chocolate chips, nuts, candy bars, crushed cookies (Thin Mints! Oreos!) M&Ms,  or marshmallows. The oven's the limit.

For these, I went with a peanut butter blondie batter and Rolo candies (you could also use Hershey's caramel kisses). These peanut butter cookie bars start with a simple peanut butter cookie dough base that's pressed into a pan for quick baking. They bake up extra-thick, soft, and chewy, studded with bursting pops of bite-size chocolate caramel chunks and couldn't be any easier to throw together.

Also: let's discuss how those pops of bursting caramel could easily be miniature peanut butter cups.

Next: the chevron stripes. We're going to need some some Easter egg colors! 

I used pastel-colored white chocolate (Easter seasonal) M&Ms. For these stripes (and to make sure I had enough of each color), I needed three bags

You could also use regular M&Ms, dark chocolate M&Ms, or Reese's Pieces. Mix up the colors for the holidays! Red, white, and blue chevron stripes in July or orange, yellow, and white candy corn stripes in October are simple ways to make any cookie bar instantly impressive. Or look like an Easter egg.

First things first: get organized. Separate your colors. The Type-A in me loved this step a little too much. 

Then gently press the M&Ms (with the "m" facing down) into the cookie dough in a chevron stripe. You can use a knife to trace stripes into the cookie dough to guide you, but we're just making blondies here! It doesn't have to be perfect. 

It all starts with three triangles. Easy. We're doing this.

Keep adding triangles facing in alternate directions...

Take your time. Totally stop to eat some Rolos. It's a necessary thing.

And... done. Fifteen minutes later.

And that's it. They're ready to bake! 

These peanut butter cookie bars stuffed with chocolate, gooey caramel, bright pops of colors, and crispy white chocolate Easter egg stripes are all I'm thinking about this Friday... and how quickly I can bake these bars again (... and what new things I can smash into them) for Easter Sunday. Trust me... after making these chevron stripes you will feel like you can do anything. Look what you did with just M&Ms! You totally just made candy art. 

Happy Easter!

Peanut Butter Rolo Blondies w/ White Chocolate Chevron

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Rolo candies (whole or chopped)
White chocolate M&Ms (for these stripes, I needed 3 bags)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with baking spray and set aside.

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the creamy peanut butter until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool.

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

When the peanut butter is cool to the touch, stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Fold in the Rolo candies, either whole or halved (I used a combination of both... the whole Rolos had a bigger burst of caramel which I loved, but the smaller chunks made it easier to press the M&M candies on top of the dough.)

Transfer batter to prepared baking dish and spread evenly. To make the chevron design, separate your M&Ms into each color you want to use. Make sure you have enough!

Gently press M&Ms into the cookie dough ("m" side facing down) in chevron stripes (you could also trace lines in the cookie dough with the tip of a knife to help guide you). It doesn't have to be perfect! 

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Cookie bars from Two Peas & Their Pod.