Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Blondies

I am a peanut butter addict; fact. In all honesty, my addiction is not limited to peanut alone, for I am also a fiend for almond, pecan, cashew and pumpkin seed butter alike. Certainly, I would encourage you to experiment with the below recipe using your nut or seed butter of choice, perhaps also trying varying inclusions such as plump dried cranberries, buttery fudge pieces or for that extra crunchy oomf, toasted nuts, perhaps even caramelised. My only stipulation is that the nut butter used is of a high quality with no added sugars or palm oils; Whole Earth, Meridian or Pip & Nut are some of my favourites. Unfortunately, so many of the jars of peanut butter which adorn our supermarket shelves are packed full with added sugar that detracts from the naturally rich, wholesome taste of the peanut itself. Instead, this added sugar and oil results in a thick, pastey consistency that is insipid eaten alone, and renders any baked goods made with it unpalatably sweet. The purer peanut butters are more expensive however, and though I would implore you to make the little extra investment, if this is not possible, simply reduce the quantity of sugar in the recipe below by 25g. Similarly, I would urge that you do not use chocolate chips for this recipe but good quality white chocolate chopped into generous, unevenly sized chunks. Chocolate chips tend not to melt in the same glorious manner as chopped chocolate, and in all honesty, are simply so small they are almost inconsequential when eaten.

For me, these peanut butter and white chocolate blondies are the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon coffee, or companion to share in a day off reading at home. They are rich, gooey and inviting; the earthy peanut is enriched with the caramel undertones of the brown sugar, and lightened by the snap of thick, creamy, vanilla flecked white chocolate. For extra comfort, I enjoy the additional warmth of cinnamon, though this is optional. Rustic and homely, they are simple to make, and simply delicious. 

On another note, this recipe can also be made gluten free by substitution of the flour and baking powder for gluten free varieties. The consistency is slightly more fudgey, but is that ever a bad thing?!

 
Peanut Butter Blondies.jpg
 

Ingredients

250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp sea salt
2tsp cinnamon (optional)
185g butter (softened at room temperature)
315g peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
345g light brown muscovado sugar
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
175g white chocolate (chopped into medium-large chunks)
(Up to 90g of extra inclusions)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160c (fan oven) and line a 20cm x 30cm traybake tin with baking parchment, leaving a slight excess to help with removing the baked blondie later on.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon into a bowl and set aside. Alternatively, weigh the ingredients into the bowl and simply beat with a whisk to omit any lumps.
  • In another bowl, or the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter together until combined, pale and very soft. 
  • Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla to the butters and beat once more until incorporated.
  • Finally, add the pre-combined dry ingredients to the bowl along with the chopped white chocolate and fold together to form a golden, peanut-rich dough.
  • Empty into the prepared baking tin and use a palette knife or the back of a spoon to smooth into an even layer. 
  • Place the blondie on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes until set but still slightly soft in the centre; the blondie will firm up as it cools and over-baking at this stage could lead to a chewy texture. 
  • Allow the blondie to cool completely in the tin before removing and portioning into either 12 generous squares, or 15 slightly smaller rectangles. To achieve cleanly cut, even pieces, it often helps to wrap the cooled blondie in clingfilm and place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes before portioning.