Get ready, Valentine’s Day is coming. Some will roll their eyes, others will get giddy with anticipation of flowers and gifts and then some will just look forward to eating CHOCOLATE. Lots and lots of chocolate. Like me. Nothing like a big box of chocolates whether single or attached. Everyone loves them. My favorites used to be Russell Stover and Whitmans while I was growing up but then I discovered See’s and I love, love, loooooove See’s. As a matter of fact we are actually getting a permanent store in our mall any day!!! Seriously, pinch me, it’s too good to be true! And you better believe I will be buying myself a box for Valentine’s Day if no one else does (hint, hint Jeremy). Raspberry Truffle, Dark Buttercream, Mocha, Orange Cream….ahhhh, they are ALL good.
Another great way to get a chocolate fix this Vday is with these M&M Blondies! They are super rich, super buttery from the BROWNED BUTTER (one of my favorite things to do with butter!) and chalked full of chocolate. Great for kid’s parties, work parties, your significant other, a night just by yourself….really, just come up with some excuse to make them.
P.S. What is YOUR favorite chocolate?? Brand, flavor? I’d love to know!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Heat butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it turns an amber color and begins to smell nutty. Brown bits will start to appear in the bottom of the pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the browned butter and sugars. With a wooden spoon, stir in the egg, vanilla, heavy whipping cream and salt. Stir in flour, semi-sweet chocolate chips and half of a cup of the M&M's. Spread evenly into the pan and sprinkle with the remaining M&M's. Gently press them into the batter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes (recommended 27 minutes). Let the blondies cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares and store in an air-tight container.
There’s really not much that needs to be said about these bars except that they have lots of butter, lots of brown sugar, lots of cashews and oh yeah, they will melt in your mouth. I really don’t think you could have a more perfect combination of more glorious things. If cashews aren’t your nut of choice, I’d imagine you could swap them out with toasted pecans or macadamia nuts.
You can literally have these whipped up in no-time…although the cooking time is an entirely different matter. The original recipe said 35-40 minutes but mine didn’t get done until the 50 minute mark. So I’d say just start testing them around 40 minutes and keep an eye on ’em.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, mixing until combined. Stir in 1 cup of the cashews.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining cashews, pressing down lightly with your hands. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
My original intent for this post was that it would be a recipe for pumpkin BROWNIES (or blondies..whatever) but about a quarter of the way through whipping these up I realized that I was not going to end up with the dense, chewy, pumpkin-y brownies I was dreaming of but most likely, a cake. And I was right. I was definitely a little disappointed at first but got over it pretty quickly after my first bite.
It was probably one of the most moist pumpkin cakes I’ve ever had and so wonderfully spiced. It’s good enough to stand on it’s own without frosting but would most certainly be even more awesome with a layer of cream cheese frosting or a dollop of homemade whipped cream. I took it to a family function and didn’t bring any home, so that’s a good sign! So, I suppose it worked out but I’m still on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin brownie recipe!
In an electric mixer, beat oil and sugar. Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and beat into wet ingredients just until combined.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
*I also put an 11 oz. bag of butterscotch chips in these but since they weren't thick like brownies, they all sunk to the bottom half of the cake. So, it's up to you if you want to add them or not.