Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies

Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesSeeing all my friends’ kids’ back-to-school photos these last few weeks, I’ve been reminiscing about my own school days. I don’t know that we took First Day photos (my parents rarely remembered a camera), but that’s okay because all my first days were pretty similar. I mean, I went to the same school K-12 and wore the same uniform for all but one semester of that time.

(Like many recovering private school kids, I have spent the last 15 years working through an aversion to plaid. I’m glad to say I’m making progress 😀 )Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesOne of my childhood chores was to pack my own lunch. I was/am skeeved out by lunch meat and was not yet allowed to cook with any regularity, so I packed a peanut butter & jelly sandwich damn near every single day.Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesYou don’t need me to explain the magic of a PB & J to you. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, salty, gooey, and satisfying. After thirteen years of eating them five days a week, I don’t eat many peanut butter & jelly sandwiches these days, but when I do, I fall in love all over again.Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesToday’s recipe, Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies, is a sweet little ode to that school lunch classic ❤ These fabulous layered bars begin with my tried-and-true peanut butter blondie base before being topped with a layer of jelly (or jam) and crispy, crunchy peanut crumble. They’re a texture-lover’s dream!Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesPeanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesPeanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesThe blondies are baked for 35-40 minutes before being cooled and sliced. I like mine a little on the underdone side, but you can bake them a few minutes longer if that’s not your thing. Either way, you’ll be rewarded with a pan of rich, dense, peanut butter & jelly deliciousness.Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesI find that chilling these bars in the fridge (or even the freezer) makes them easier to slice. The jelly layer will never be completely firm, but it shouldn’t be too messy to work with. And even if it is, who cares? It’s peanut butter & jelly—getting a little on your fingers is all part of the fun.Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies

Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies
makes one 8-inch pan, about 16 blondies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 cup jelly, jam, or preserves (I used strawberry)

Peanut Crumble:
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving some overhang on two sides. Grease with butter. Dust lightly with flour and discard any excess. Set aside.

Place butter and peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Melt together in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Transfer to a medium-large mixing bowl. Stir in light brown and granulated sugars, followed by egg and yolk and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of jelly over the top of the batter. Use an offset knife (or the back of a spoon) to spread it to the edges of the pan. Layer may not be perfectly even—this is okay. Set aside.

Make the peanut crumble. In a small-medium mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together oats, flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and chopped peanuts. Pour in butter and stir until everything is moistened and clumps begin to form. Scatter mixture over the jelly layer, covering as much as possible.

Bake 35-40 minutes, or until golden at the edges. Jelly will still be jiggly. Let blondies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Refrigerate until cold (I froze mine for an hour).

Use foil to lift blondies out of pan. Peel off foil and transfer blondies to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Serve.

Leftover blondies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesPeanut Butter & Jelly Blondies

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Cheesecake Blondies

Cheesecake BlondiesI have been debating for three days whether or not I should post these Cheesecake Blondies or use Independence Day as a “free pass” to take a rare blog day off.Cheesecake BlondiesCheesecake Blondies won out though, because they are the perfect treat to sink your teeth into while you watch the fireworks. Creamy cheesecake and chewy brown butter blondie in near-equal layers? Sign. me. up.Cheesecake BlondiesAnother great thing about these blondies? They are super easy to make and bake up in just 25 minutes!Cheesecake BlondiesThe most difficult part of making Cheesecake Blondies is waiting for them to chill. Those three hours can seem eternal, but they are completely necessary—nobody likes warm cheesecake.Cheesecake BlondiesOnce the chill time is up, slice up the blondies and revel in their cuteness. Chocolate chips have a way of making things more adorable, don’t they?Cheesecake BlondiesMake a batch of Cheesecake Blondies for your holiday cookout or pack a box into a cooler and take them on the go! You and your friends and family will love the combination of tangy cheesecake and sweet, brown buttery blondie ❤ Cheesecake BlondiesHappy Fourth of July!Cheesecake Blondies

Cheesecake Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan, about 9-16 blondies

Blondie Batter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for scattering

Cheesecake:
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with foil and grease lightly. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl.

Add brown sugar to the brown butter and stir to combine. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Use a silicone spatula to stir in flour and salt, scraping down the bowl as needed. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan. Set aside.

Make cheesecake. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy. Mix in sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Pour on top of blondie batter and smooth to the edges of the pan. Scatter additional chocolate chips over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, tenting with foil at the 15 minute mark or if anything begins browning too quickly. Blondies are ready when the cheesecake just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled. Let cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until completely cold.

Use foil overhang to lift blondies out of the pan. Carefully peel off foil. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Leftover Cheesecake Blondies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. For best storage, separate layers with wax paper.Cheesecake Blondies

Monster Blondies

Monster BlondiesRemember that huge, ridiculous M&Ms Surprise Cake I posted last week? It’s long gone.Monster Blondies You know what’s still taking up space in my kitchen? This comically large container of M&Ms. It’s made it through two of those cakes, a batch of cookies and lots of late night snacks, and it’s still kickin’.Monster Blondies Also taking up space in my kitchen? Three different jars of peanut butter. THREE. And they’re all different brands. Just…what? I really need an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all my baking supplies so I’m not compelled to pick up peanut butter every time I see it on sale.Monster Blondies So, what does one do with all that peanut butter and that huge container of M&Ms? Add some oats and make Monster Blondies, of course!Monster Blondies What makes these blondies so…monstrous? Well, they’re a riff on Monster Cookies, a sort of “everything but the kitchen sink” cookie that, at its most basic, contains peanut butter, oats, M&Ms and chocolate chips.Monster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesThe original cookies are terrific, but skipping the cookie dough and tossing all those ingredients into blondie batter is absolutely the way to go! The resulting blondies have all the flavors and textures from their namesake recipe, but with an extra thick and chewy peanut butter base.Monster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesNot only that, but blondies are way easier to make than cookies—this recipe comes together with just one bowl and a silicone spatula! And, of course, they don’t require baking in batches. Monster Blondies are ready to come out of the oven just 40 minutes after you start making the batter!Monster BlondiesOnce the blondies have cooled slice them up and dig in! You’ll love the soft & chewy blondie base, the slight saltiness from the peanut butter, the texture from the oats and crackly candy coating, and tons of chocolate. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the very best kind of mid-week pick-me-up ❤ Monster BlondiesMonster Blondies
makes 16 blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup M&Ms candy

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving some overhang on two sides. Grease with butter. Set aside.

Place butter and peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Melt together in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Transfer to a medium large mixing bowl. Stir in light brown sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in oats, followed by chocolate chips and M&Ms.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 28 minutes), or until turning golden at the edges. Let blondies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Use foil to lift blondies out of pan. Peel off foil and transfer blondies to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Serve.

Leftover blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.Monster Blondies

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesIf you scroll back through my Instagram to before October 21, 2015, you’re going to find a string of mediocre photos of A LOT of baked goods. In an effort to learn as much as I could about baking, I posted a new baked good almost every single day for a full year before I began blogging.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesThere were a few repeats and many variations (so. many. scones.), but I feel like that year was crucial to my development into the baker I was when I first hit publish. At the time, I felt most confident about my cookie baking skills and had just formulated my beloved Cream Cheese Pie Dough.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesIn turn, all the recipes and photos I’ve posted since that first day as a blogger have helped me evolve into the baker I am right now. These days, I’m very excited about yeast doughs and non-traditional layer cakes, and thinking very hard about adding to the doughnut section of my Recipe Index.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesThat’s all well and good, but sometimes I can’t decide what to blog about or I’m testing a recipe that’s more complicated than I anticipated. Those are the moments when I am very glad I have that year of photos to serve as inspiration and remind me of what I was really excited to bake when I was just getting started, before I learned new skills and started complicating things.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesI rarely look at that old section of my Instagram these days, but it’s full of simple, solid recipes that I was once totally jazzed about. Luckily, I was smart enough to write down almost all of them (even the ones that didn’t work) so that Future Me would know where to start when I revisited them.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesLet’s all give a quick shout-out to Past Me for filing away the recipe for these Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies. The version I posted to Insta three years ago was damn good, but with all the experience I’ve gained, it’s even better now. I didn’t even know it was possible to improve upon the combination of peanut butter and Oreos!

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesThis easy, no-mixer recipe comes together in under an hour and is far more than the sum of its parts. The peanut butter blondie base is soft, chewy, and studded with melty mini chocolate chips. Oh, and it’s stuffed with a layer of Oreo cookies. I’m totally obsessed with the cross-sections of cookie on the sides of every blondie ❤

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesYeah, I was pretty psyched about these when I posted them to Instagram on April 2, 2015, and I’m still pretty excited about them on February 16, 2018. I hope you are, too.Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies
makes 16 blondies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
16 Oreo cookies

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving some overhang on two sides. Grease with butter. Set aside.

Place butter and peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Melt together in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Transfer to a medium large mixing bowl. Stir in light brown and granulated sugars, followed by egg and yolk and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Spread half the blondie batter in prepared pan. Arrange Oreos in an even layer over the top. Carefully spread remaining batter over the top. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 27 minutes), or until golden at the edges. Center may look a bit underdone. Let blondies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Use foil to lift blondies out of pan. Peel off foil and transfer blondies to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Serve.

Leftover blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BlondiesWhile I am all about the Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake I posted on Wednesday, I’ll be the first to admit that it might be intimidating. I sort of live for complex recipes, but I totally get that a recipe involving making your own toasted hazelnut meal and relying on whipped egg whites for structure might not be for everyone 😬

Today, let’s keep things simple. Really, really, really simple. Let’s make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BlondiesY’all, this recipe is about as simple as it gets. To make these seasonal sweets, you’ll only need a bowl, a whisk and a silicone spatula. No mixer required!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BlondiesThis recipe is just a pumpkined-up (<–let me have that one 🙏🏻 ) version of my regular blondie recipe. Adding pumpkin pie spice is a no-brainer, but how do I get pumpkin into these cute little bars?! Easy–just omit the egg white (but keep the yolk!) and add 1/4 cup of pumpkin purée in its place! This keeps our blondies chewy rather than cakey, as pumpkin baked goods are prone to be. If you want cake, make my Pumpkin Bundt Cake–yes, I’m still obsessed with it.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BlondiesThe batter for these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies comes together in about ten minutes and bakes up in twenty. By far the most time consuming part of this process is waiting for the blondies to cool…

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies…but it only takes an hour and it’s totally worth it. I mean, look at these clean edges 😍

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BlondiesYou’re going to love these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies! They’ve got all the chewy texture you expect from a great blondie, all the pumpkin flavor you want, and chocolate. Plus, you can practically make ‘em with your eyes closed!

But don’t, okay? 👀 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies
makes one 9-inch pan, about 9-16 blondies 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
1 large egg yolk, room temperature 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease the foil. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Whisk in pumpkin purée and egg yolk, followed by vanilla. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt, and whisk to combine. Fold in 2/3 cup of the semisweet chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan. Dot the top with remaining 2 tablespoons of semisweet chocolate chips. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs.

Let blondies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use the foil overhang to remove them to a cutting board. Remove foil. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice blondies. Serve.

Leftover blondies will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies