Butterscotch is a delicious confection made with brown sugar, butter and vanilla. It can be turned into cookies, puddings, cakes and caramels because the flavor combination is so versatile. The key to a successful butterscotch treat is being able to taste all three of those builidng block elements in every bite. I am a big butterscotch fan and was inspired to create these Butterscotch and Peanut Butter Blondies while playing around in my kitchen one day, baking batches of peanut butter cookies.
Some of my favorite peanut butter cookies use a lot of brown sugar, so it is only a short jump to move from a traditional cookie base to a butterscotch one. When I began to experiment with this flavor combination, I initially put peanut butter into the blondie base itself. The bars were tasty, but the peanut butter overwhelmed the butterscotch flavor and I decided that peanut butter chips were a much better way to bring in peanut butter while still keeping butterscotch in the spotlight. Be sure to use dark brown sugar in your recipe for the richest, most flavorful bars.
The finished bars are soft and moist, a bit less dense than the average brownie recipe, and have just the right chewy texture to them. You clearly taste both butterscotch and peanut butter in every bite, which gives the bars a wonderful salty-sweet quality and makes them quite addictive. I tend to cut these into medium-sized bars, which are great for snacking, however you can use them as the base for a very decadent sundae by cutting them into big squares and topping each piece with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. The bars keep well and can be stored in an airtight container for several days after baking.
Butterscotch and Peanut Butter Blondies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until batter is smooth.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually blend dry ingredients into brown sugar mixture, mixing until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in peanut butter chips. Batter will be quite thick.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 28-30 minutes, until blondies are lightly browned at the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan, then lift the foil to remove the bars and cut them into squares.
Makes 20 bars.