Monday, September 12, 2011

Apple-Butterscotch Blondies

with praline frosting.

I thought about calling these stress relief bars. Not because they have any magical stress relieving ingredients or powers. They don't. Although they taste so good, you might momentarily forget about your worries. No, while the blondies themselves are not stress relieving, the act of making them is, at least for me. I'd have to say, and I'm sure those that know me would agree, I inherited  more traits from my father then my mother. I look more like my dad than I do my mother but I also, for better or worse, share more of his personality traits. He would say that's a good thing but the jury is still out on that one.
One thing that I most definitely inherited from mother was my love of baking. Mom is a great cook, but baking is her true love. Growing up there was always some freshly baked good being made or consumed in our home. Mom bakes all the time, but if life ever gets a little stressful or she's really worried about something, look out. She turns into a baking maniac. We laughingly joke that we can gauge moms stress level by how much baking she's done. If only one pie is being made, it's okay, she's fine. During one particularly stressful time several years ago, my sister called and said that she knew mom was stressed out because she'd made two loaves of fresh bread, two pies and a pan of cinnamon buns. Another time when a hurricane was headed our way, she was in the kitchen furiously whipping up a batch of cookies. When asked why she was making cookies, she said that they were "emergency cookies".  Just in case, you never know the power might go out, hence the emergency cookies. Mom has always said baking makes her feel better. Baking is about more than just the end product, for me as well. Don't get me wrong, I love a good (emergency) cookie, but many times I enjoy the act of making the cookies almost as much as eating them...almost!
 Life has thrown us for quite a loop in the past couple of weeks. I know things will work out in the end, but change is rarely easy. So lately I, like mom, find myself wanting to measure, chop, and stir. Perhaps its being in control of that little bit of life that makes it so satisfying. I don't know what it is but I do know it's a lot cheaper than going to a therapist, so hand me a whisk!

The original recipe was just the blondies but when they came out of the oven they looked a little plain jane so  I added the praline frosting. I'm sure they are good without the frosting but they are superb with the frosting!

Apple Butterscotch Blondies with Praline Frosting
Printable recipe
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced  (about 2 cups)

Praline Frosting:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
Toffee pieces, optional

Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
Stir together brown sugar, melted butter, eggs and vanilla.
In a separate mixing bowl, stir together flour and next 2 ingredients; add to brown sugar mixture, and stir until blended. Stir in apples and pecans. Pour mixture into a greased and floured or foil lined, 8-by-8-inch pan; spread in an even layer.
I line my brownie/blondie pan with foil with about an inch overhang. It makes getting them out of the pan a snap. When cool simply lift them out and cut.

Bake at 350º for 40 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely (about 1 hour).
To prepare frosting:
Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. milk to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute, whisk constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over cooled blondie. Top with more toasted pecans and toffee.

Source: Southern Living
September 2011 (Adapted)


Helene said...

Such a perfect time to make these blondies with apples in season.

Chele said...

I'm intending to buy the supermarket out of apples today anyway, so your recipe couldn't be better timed! They sound amazing!

Claire @ Claire K Creations said...

Ooh that topping looks fabulous. I must admit I often find myself baking when I'm stressed or bored or just procrastinating. It's so calming and you get to enjoy something delicious at the end.

Medifast Coupons said...

These apple butterscotch blondies look awesome and I can't wait to try a batch. Thinking perfect for dessert tonight, thanks.

grace said...

baking is my catharsis, and that's that. well, eating is involved as well, but first, one must bake!
love these bars, particularly the praline frosting!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Looks like a great recipe.

Do you grease the tin foil?

Half Baked said...

Thanks Virginia! No I didn't grease the foil. You could if you want to but I didn't this time.

Becs@Lay the table said...

I love everything apple! These blondies are beautiful.
I do find baking very therapeutic but only when I bake on my own - if anyone else joins in it doubles the stress!

Half Baked said...

@Becs I know what you mean I like to cook alone too!

Anonymous said...

These look delicious! I will have to try them out. Thanks for sharing! :)

Cristy said...

I baked them yesterday and had them today and they were a hit! I added cinnamon to the batter and it gave it a coffeecake-like taste. Great for dessert or for breakfast!

Half Baked said...

@Cristy I like them for breakfast too!

Zahra said...

do you think these would taste just as good with walnuts instead?:)

Half Baked said...

Zahra, Sure you can use walnuts instead of pecans.

Windsor Teacher said...

Easily one of the best recipes I have found on the web. I was worried the "glaze" would be too sweet, but it is perfect. This one is definitely a keeper!

Anonymous said...

Just made them today for Thanksgiving, I can't wait to try them, the recipe was easy to follow and they smell divine !!

Anonymous said...

These are YUMMY!!! I used maple extract instead of vanilla in the topping.... OMG!!!...SOO GOOD!!!

rose mazzotta said...

OH my gosh these are so good I use to make these Yes one of the Forgotten recipes