Friday, December 19, 2014

Chocolate Chip (M&M) Blondies

It's already the 19th of December and I had yet to do any holiday baking until today.  Various factors involved there, but one of the big ones is the size of my kitchen here in New York.  And the size of the oven, which does not accommodate the baking sheet I brought with me.  But I bought a smaller one yesterday, and came up with a plan to tackle the rest of the size issue: bar cookies!  I love doing fancier cookies at Christmas, but with a kitchen my size (and the fact that I didn't bring my cookie press or cookie cutters to Brooklyn) making them seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth.  Bar cookies are super easy and a time saver.  Mix it up, spread it out, bake, and done!  No rolling or shaping, or even plopping drops down.  I added Christmas M&Ms and a ganache drizzle to make them a little more festive.

What you need:

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 coconut oil, melted (or just use more butter)
2 cups brown sugar (I used the natural brown sugar that is more granular, but regular would be fine)
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 Frangelico( hazelnut liquor) or amaretto (or omit and add a little less flour)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips or mini M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the butter, coconut oil, and brown sugar.  Add the eggs and egg yolk.  Mix well.  Stir in the Frangelico and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir until the flour is mixed in.  Add the M&Ms or chocolate chips and stir.  Spread in a nonstick or greased baking sheet with low sides (mine was 10"x15"... you can use a 13"x9" pan or 11"x14" pan... increase the baking time for the 13"x9" pan).  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Cut into bars and serve!  If you want, drizzle ganache on top to spiff it up (recipe below).

Ganache (optional):
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 heavy cream

Melt the chocolate chips and cream together in a double boiler (place a metal or pyrex bowl on top of a pan filled with water... bring water to a boil.  Chocolate chips and cream go in the top bowl).  That's it!

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