I blame Rebecca. She mentioned that she was in need of a home-baked good, but in the process of packing her pots and pans (along with the rest of her apartment). When I inquired what she was thinking of, she sent me a link to Jessica's Better-than-crack Brownies.
I didn't have the necessary ingredients (not enough butter or chocolate... how did that happen?), but slept on it and came up with this version using ingredients I already had on hand. Feel free to do the same! I don't think there's anything else for me to say, the recipe speaks for itself!
Kicked Up PB Blondies
inspired and adapted from How Sweet It Is & Peas and Thank You
Peanut Butter Blondie Base:
3/4c peanut butter (I used a mix of Cinn Raisin Swirl and White Chocolate Wonderful)
5T Earth Balance or butter, softened (I used an EB stick)
1/4c unsweetened applesauce
1/4c milk (almond, dairy, soy...)
1/2c brown sugar (not packed)
1/2c evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar)
1/2-3/4t vanilla extract (I eye-balled it)
1 1/4c flour (AP, white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry)
1t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2c chopped roasted, salted pecans (or other salted nut)
2/3c Cadbury mini eggs, chopped (or other confection)
PB Choc Rice Crispy Topping:
3/4c semisweet chocolate chips
3/4c peanut butter (I used White Chocolate Wonderful)
1c crisped brown rice (mine was heaping)
Preheat the oven to 350deg.
For the blondies, cream the peanut butter and butter/earth balance in a stand mixer. Add applesauce, milk, sugars (brown & white) and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and mix well. Slowly add flour mix to peanut butter mixture and stop mixing when combined.
Pour batter into an 8" sq pan sprayed with cooking spray. Use a spatula to spread the batter around and make sure it's in an even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 20min.
Check the blondies at 20min, top with chopped pecans and mini eggs and bake for another 5-10min (or more). While the original recipe only called for a 20min baking time, mine were definitely still jiggly after 20min so I'm adjusting accordingly. It can't hurt to check them earlier, but bake until the batter isn't still sloshing around in the middle.
While the blondies are baking, add peanut butter and chocolate to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat to melt. Stir and once well combined, add brown rice crisps, stirring until well coated. Keep on low heat until blondies are done baking. Once the blondies are done baking, remove from the oven and pour rice crispy mixture over the top, using a spatula to make sure everything's covered.
Cool, then refrigerate a few hours before cutting and serving. Share with as many people as you can, since you can't be trusted with something this peanut buttery and delicious. Oh, that's just me? Ok, you can keep them all to yourself if you'd like!
Warning: These are dangerously delicious. If the peanut butter fairy and the easter bunny had a baby, well, this would be their love child. Imbibe at your own risk ;)