Caramel, Toasted Coconut & Pecan Blondies

Caramel, Toasted Coconut & Pecan Blondies

Caramel, Toasted Coconut & Pecan Blondies

The first graders in Joshies school have their Easter egg hunt tomorrow. He wants me to come be one of the volunteer moms who hides eggs and acts all gleeful to be in a crowd of moms I don’t know. *Sobs* The child is young. He hasn’t yet learned that his mother is a total introvert, with social anxiety issues to boot. While I COULD go do this, and use it as a handy excuse to have a drink later, I think I prefer to go to the Easter egg hunt, cheer him on from the back of the mass of people and then quietly slink off to wait for school to end and Spring break to start. Though Spring break brings with it its own reasons to have a bottle of booze handy.

I already have his first Spring break snackie all ready with these blondies (Did ya see that smooth segue there? Huh, huh, huh?). Generally speaking, I prefer chocolaty brownie type bars, but every once in a while I get a wild hair and want to play with something else.Β  One of my favorite brownie recipes are these caramel pecan brownies. They are so easy and what you get from that easiness is an outstanding brownie; chewy, chocolaty and gooey. In other words, right up my alley. But the idea had been flitting around in my head to see what else I could do with the basic recipe. I know some people like their chocolate a little more muted and these should please those people immensely. But you know what? The rest of you will love them too. I know I do. These are simple as can be since they use cake mix (yes, cake mix. Quit rolling your eyes; they’ll stick that way.) and bagged caramels. I’ve learned in my many years of life (many, many years) that things don’t always have to be fancy to be delicious. These turned out really well. They are almost candylike in their texture; chewy, but not hard to chew, gooey, with just enough chocolate in them. Plus, the toasted coconut and pecans add a nice crunch and flavor to them. Cut these in fairly small bars. They are pretty rich.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Caramel, Toasted Coconut & Pecan Blondies

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk (you can sub half and half it you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup toasted coconut (350 oven, single layer in a baking dish for about ten minutes; stir once during toasting)
  • 21 ounces (give or take) caramel candy (I used Kraft; it takes about a bag and a half), unwrapped (I assume you know to unwrap them, but I have to be careful here πŸ˜› )
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk or half and half (yes, this is supposed to be in here twice)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 13×9 baking pan with foil; lightly grease the foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, melted butter and extracts. Use a spoon to mix just until combined. It’s ok if there are still some lumps in the batter.
  3. Use your hands (lightly grease or flour them; it helps) to spread/press about half the batter into the prepared pan. It may take a touch more than half; that’s fine. Bake at 350 for five minutes.
  4. While it’s baking, in a medium bowl, combine the caramels and the 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Then continue to microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each one, until the caramels are melted. It’s again ok if there are small lumps and it’s not perfectly smooth. You just want a more or less smooth caramel mixture, but a few lumps won’t hurt.
  5. Pour half the caramel sauce on top of the partially baked crust. be careful spreading it since the crust isn’t cooked all the way and will tear if you’re not gentle. Top this with the toasted coconut, pecans and half the chocolate chips. Then pour the rest of the caramel sauce over the top.
  6. Mix the other half of the chocolate chips with the remaining batter, then spoon dollops of the batter over the top of the caramel. it’s not going to cover it all; that’s cool. Just try to evenly space the dollops over the top.
  7. Put the pan bake in the 350 oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top it browned and the caramel is bubbly.
  8. Let cool in the pan at LEAST a couple of hours (overnight in a cool place is best), then use the foil to lift the blondies out onto a cutting board. If they start to sag in the middle, they aren’t cool enough yet.. Peel off the foil, then cut the blondies into serving size pieces.

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I Actually Voluntarily Used Hazelnut

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Blondies-
Slightly chewy, definitely chocolatey and with a hint of hazelnut flavor.

Wow. Three days in a row blogging. I may just get back to my old habits if I keep this up. Hopefully, I can do it without gaining back any of the weight I’ve lost. That’s been the main reason I stopped blogging as much. fear can be a great motivator against doing certain things lol.

I am pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I am not a big fan of hazelnuts or anything hazelnut flavored. Usually, that is. I DID try Nutella and ended up liking it though it’s not as regular a part of my snacking as I know it is for many foodies. I have the feeling that there are some bloggers who regularly bathe in Nutella hehe.

Reason being, during my first marriage, I was blessed enough to get to live in Mannheim Germany for 3 years. It’s still a place I remember fondly and miss. I even still have dreams about it… the Volksfests, the Christkindlmarkts during November and December; the smell of spiced wine always takes me right back there… the Konditoreien (you haven’t had good pastries until you get them at a German bakery) and never forgotten, the candy shops. Oh.My.God… German candy is amazingly good. I still reminiscence over a blackberry truffle that has remained unmatched in my memory. The fly in this ointment however is that a LOT of the candies produced in Europe use hazelnut as a flavoring. And when I say lots, I mean L…O…T…S. So I got pretty burnt out on hazelnut anything. I think unless you’re a major fanatic about it in the first place, it’s easy to get tired of it.

I have to admit however that these blondies turned out quite well. I used a Martha Stewart blondie recipe. All I changed was to make the recipe 50% bigger to be able to use a 9×9 inch pan rather than an 8 inch and I added some hazelnut liquor. Believe it or not, next time I think I will add MORE hazelnut liquor (or buy some of this hazelnut flavoring from King Arthur so as to not add too much liquid to the batter. I was actually, for some strange reason, looking forward to the flavor. Probably just so that I could whine over how badly the blondie taste was messed up by the hazelnut taste but you never heard me admit that.

The nutty flavor mixed with the dark chocolate and the walnuts (yes, walnuts; I wasn’t willing to go THAT far with the hazelnut idea nor was I in the mood to shell 9 bazillion of the bitty nuts. I’m lazy. Sue me. YOU however are more than welcome to use hazelnuts instead) was quite good. The blondies themselves were slightly chewy, not really cakey at all which I liked. All in all, I’m rather tickled with this mutant blondie and will be making it again. Now to figure out what to do with the rest of a large bottle of hazelnut liquor.

I’m giving the recipe for the 8 inch pan here. I you don’t have a decent 8 inch pan (mine are rusted old pieces of poop) but have a 9 inch one, just make the recipe 50% bigger. These would work well on your Christmas cookie tray. They’re a pretty looking bar.

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Blondies

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut liquor (or one teaspoon hazelnut flavoring)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts or pecans or cashews if that floats your boat)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Butter the paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar; mix well.
  3. Whisk in the egg, vanilla and hazelnut liquor (or flavoring)
  4. Add the flour and salt and mix JUST until blended. Gently fold in all but about 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and about 2/3’s of the nuts.
  5. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top then sprinkle on the rest of the chocolate chips and the nuts.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack until cool, then use the parchment paper to lift the blondies out and cut them into squares.
  7. Eat. Drool. Eat more. Try not to drool more; people will laugh.

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Cimmaminaminaminamin

I have often wondered how, with me as their mother, any of my kids made it past preschool age with any decent language skills. I was one of those parents who loved the way my kids pronounced words and couldn’t bring myself to correct them and ruin the cuteness. In my defense I didn’t talk baby talk to them. I was the type that would be holding my newborn infant and talking politics or Shakespeare because really there are just so many times you can look at your baby and coo “you’re so adorable… you look just like me don’t you… don’t you?” or “Oh. My. God. You have your fathers bowel habits don’t you? Could you please stop now?” IΒ  just loved hearing it.

Like Cimmamin for cinnamon. When my sixteen year old and fourteen year old reached puberty, I finally broke down and told them the correct pronunciation. Or when one of my older boys wanted picked up as a toddler, he would hold out his arms, give me a pleading look and say “hold you?”. He doesn’t do that anymore. I hope. I’ll have to ask his wife. OrΒ  how the same child said “Yie” for yes until he was like 7.

Well, I had better get to the recipe now because when my kids see this post, it will most likely be the last one I ever write. Pray for me. πŸ˜€ These blondies are awesome. They are stuffed full of Cinnamon chips, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and finally finished with a cinnamon drizzle. Overkill, you say? Nahhhhh….. not if you love Cimmamin. I mean Cinnamon.

CINNAMON BLONDIES

  1. 1/2 lb unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  2. 1 cup brown sugar
  3. 1 cup white sugar
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  7. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  8. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1 package cinnamon chips (sold in same area as the chocolate chips)
  11. 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  12. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  13. 2 to 4 tablespoons cream or milk ( amount will vary. You want enough to get a nice drizzling texture.)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil, using enough that some hangs over the ends of the pan. Butter the foil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat thoroughly.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder , one teaspoon cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Add to the wet mixture. Using a wooden spoon (or some sort of spoon πŸ˜› ) beat just until combined. Fold in the bag of cinnamon chips.
  • Spoon the batter (it will be very thick) into the foil lined pan. Spread evenly. I dampened my hands a bit and spread it that way. It won’t stick to you if your hands are damp. Just don’t get them soaked and turn your batter into soup.
  • Bake in the 350 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan set on a wire rack until completely cool. If you try to cut them or lift them out of the pan before they are cool, they will break. Not that I’d ever do anything like that though. Someone told me this. Yeah, that’s it.
  • When cool, combine powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add milk or cream until it is a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled blondies.Cut into serving sized pieces… like 2 pieces. Don’t share. πŸ˜€
  • Unless you like when they kind of fall apart, you’re best off letting making these a day ahead, covering them well and refrigerating them before you try to cut them. They will firm up quite nicely then. Otherwise… it is goo city. TASTY goo city, but goo city nonetheless