I was that weird kid who, when offered the choice of a brownie or a blondie, would always choose the blondie. Something about that cookie bar, packed with chocolate chips and toasty nuts, was just more interesting to me than straight chocolate (though I wouldn’t toss a good, fudgy brownie out of bed either. I’m not a monster).
Unfortunately, more often than not, blondies can be underwhelming — either dry and crumbly or doughy and flavorless — so we set out to develop a foolproof recipe for what we consider to be the perfect blondie: a tender, moist crumb filled with deep caramel flavor from brown butter, vanilla and (optional, but oh-so-delicious) bourbon. Then we packed in our favorite mix-ins: chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips and toasted hazelnuts.
It’s always gratifying when people write in and tell us that they made a recipe from the site and it turned out so well that they got compliments. But nothing warms our little nerd hearts quite like seeing someone’s face when they’re right there in front of us eating a thing we made and making ohmygodohmygod faces, possibly even drooling slightly. This is such a recipe. We had previously made brownie bites with vanilla mascarpone, which are quite heavenly, but then decided that adding peanut butter to a thing could only improve it, and thus this version was born. (Incidentally, we made these on January 24, which is National Peanut Butter Day. Should this be a national holiday? Well, you might very well think that, but we couldn’t possibly comment.)
Fudgy, ultra-chocolatey brownies kicked up with a salty pretzel crust and caramel drizzle. Want to win a bake off? This is your guy.
Have you heard? Have you heard the news about Great British Bake-Off? Have you? Have you heard it? Of course you have, I imagine it’s all people are talking about down your way. It’s certainly all they’re talking about in our neck of the woods. Of course, the show is not technically ending, but it’s been bought by Channel 4 and won’t have Mel, Sue, or Mary, and will no doubt be presented by Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell and Paul Hollywood all exploding in an underground parking garage or something. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, bless your very face, and go and find an episode or three. It’s shown on PBS in the US, and they have to call it “The Great British Baking Show” because apparently Pillsbury has a legal lockdown on the term “Bake Off” and will send goons, floury goons, to give you a right drubbing should you flout compliance.
Brownie bites? Oh, they’re just delightfully cute bite-size versions of brownies, in sandwich form, with a vanilla mascarpone cream filling. Why do you ask?
Why is a teeny-tiny version of just about anything so much more fun than a regular-sized version of that same thing? For instance; regular wool hat? Mmm, nice. Ridiculously tiny hat that sits on top of an egg cup? Oh-my-god-adorable-but-why-is-it-so-expensive?
I swear, I usually have an allergy to things that are “cutsey” but a wee little Eames chair just pokes me right in the awww-bone (which, oddly enough, is right next to the eeeew-bone).
So, back to mini-edibles. Especially when it comes to sweets, something that would be way over the top when full-sized can be a perfect little bite when scaled down. This idea worked well with our Lemon Squares so I thought, why not try it with something chocolaty?
Well… ahem, *breathes on nails and buffs them on shirt*, these, my lovelies, are really good. Think whoopie pie meets brownie meets sandwich cookie and then scale it down to its adorable nexus. It’a a diminutive delight! A mini marvel! A Lilliputian lovely … okay, I’ll stop now. [Matt says: “I can’t believe you didn’t use the phrase ‘dessert sliders’ “]
But I mean, come on! Look at that thing! It’s not a giant hand! They’re tiny brownie bites.