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Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

Posted Apr 02 2013 3:01am

Salty and sweet, soft and crunchy. A jackpot of contrasting flavors and textures.

And since I’m a caramel fanatic, these are my sweet, sticky heaven.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

In case you haven’t noticed, salted caramel is pretty trendy right now, and the salty-and-sweet craze shows no signs of weakening. So I hopped on the trendy train and made these in five minutes. They’re so easy.

From a time and energy invested perspective, this recipe has an exceedingly high return on investment. One bowl, no mixer, no dough to chill, nothing to knead, and just minutes after starting, the pan is going into the oven. I wish all recipes were like this.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Make them by melting a stick of butter, stir in brown sugar, an egg, vanilla, flour, and then fold in two cups of pretzels. I crush them slightly in my hand with a gentle squeeze before folding them in. Some are more crushed than others, but I didn’t want them to look too uniform. Rustic is nice.

Transfer the batter to a lined 8-by-8-inch pan and then drizzle about one-third cup salted caramel sauce over the top in a zigzag pattern. I used Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce but any thick, dense, good-quality caramel sauce will do. Don’t use a thin, lackluster ice cream sundae topping, many of which aren’t even real caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Making your own (Dark Rum) Caramel Sauce is also an option option.

Or, rather than making Seven Minute Microwave Caramels , undercook the mixture by a couple minutes and rather than 7-minute caramels, you’ll have 5-minute caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Bake the blondies for about 30 minutes. If you’re an oven door-watcher, you’ll notice the caramel bubbles up at points during the baking process, creating big bubble-gum style bubbles. It was like Hubba-Bubba in the pan.

After removing the pan from the oven, drizzle a bit more caramel sauce over the blondies. This covers up the little bubbles that formed on the caramel sauce that occurred while baking, provides more caramel flavor intensity, and adds the element of both baked-in and freshly drizzled caramel sauce. I told you I’m a caramel fanatic.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Allow the bars to cool and for the freshly drizzled caramel to soak in for at least one hour before slicing them so you don’t have a hot, buttery, mess on your hands. Literally.

They’re dense, not at all cakey, and so buttery and rich. Brown sugar is used exclusively, which keeps them so soft and moist. The brown sugar caramelizes while baking, adding even more caramel flavor depth.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

The bars are pure comfort food and make you feel at peace while devouring one. The butter, the caramelized brown sugar, and the caramel sauce are so soothing. You just want to close your eyes while you bite in to savor all those luscious flavors and different textures.

The little bits of pretzels add crunch and texture and if I didn’t know better, I would swear they were cashews.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

 I asked my husband if he liked the cashews I put in the bars and he said, “Yes, they’re great. Normally you don’t put nuts in things though.” Right, and I don’t.

And I didn’t add cashews to this recipe, but while baking, the pretzels morphed into cashew-like bits and these could have easily been called Salted Carmel Cashew Blondies.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

It’s good that this is a small batch recipe, making just 9 squares, or we’d be in trouble. My husband told me these are some of the best bars I’ve ever made. He does say that about once a month , and I don’t always take him seriously, but these were a hit with my family.

Salted caramel and salty-and-sweet may be trendy, but they’re trends I sure appreciate.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: one 8-by-8-inch pan, 9 generous squares

Salty-and-sweet, soft and crunchy. If you enjoy contrasting flavors and textures, these easy blondies are just for you. The batter comes together in 5 minutes by hand and in one bowl. Bits of pretzels are baked in and add crunch and texture to bars that are otherwise smooth, rich, dense and so moist. Salted caramel sauce is used both before and after baking, creating bars that are oozing with buttery, sticky, caramely goodness and are perfect for any caramel fanatic.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)

1 large egg

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups mini pretzels, measured loosely and crushed slightly

about 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce, for drizzling before baking (I used Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce or make Caramel Sauce or make 5-Minute Caramel Sauce )

about 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce, for drizzling after baking

coarse sea salt or Kosher salt for sprinkling, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. To the melted butter (allow it to cool slightly so you don't scramble the egg), add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk vigorously to combine. Add the flour and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or the blondies will be tough. Fold in the pretzels (I crush them in the palm of my hand by squeezing them). Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife. Drizzle about 1/3 cup caramel sauce over the pan in a zig-zag pattern. Bake for about 28 to 32 minutes, or until center is just set. Watch the actual blondies/dough, not the caramel sauce, because it won't fully set. A toothpick should come out mostly clean if you can find a patch of dough to test without hitting a pretzel or caramel sauce. Don't overbake; these are meant to be gooey and firm up as they cool.

Immediately after removing pan from oven, drizzle about 1/4 cup caramel sauce over the top in a zig-zag pattern, following the original zig-zag pattern if possible. Optionally, sprinkle with coarse salt to play up the salty-and-sweet contrast. Allow blondies to cool completely in pan and for caramel sauce to soak in somewhat before slicing and serving, at least one hour. Blondies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To keep gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free flour blend, taking care that all other ingredients used are acceptable for your dietary needs.

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Do you like salty-and-sweet desserts? Caramel or salted caramel?

Tell me all about your favorite recipes and links welcome.

Thanks for the entries in the Canon Rebel T3i Camera Giveaway {$580 value}

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