Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Chocolate Cherry Chip Blondie Bars

It's never too early to think about Valentine's fact, it is one of my very favourite times of year...I know, I know....haters gonna hate....but I am a die-hard romantic.  So when I received a bag of cherry M&M candies over the holidays, I immediately ferreted them away for some lovey-dovey baking.  Oh, the possibilities!  I decided to combine these little fellas with my long overdue intention to make blondies (ahem, I am after all, Blondie Bakes, but I have never actually made any blondies...). For you non-bakers, a blondie is kinda like a brownie, but without chocolate or cocoa.

If you can't find Cherry M&M's - you could always substitute with milk chocolate, peanut, or the peanut butter variety - just pick out the red ones (which means you can snack on all the other colours!). I have heard rumours of cinnamon M&M's - definitely worth a try.

The red coating on the M&M's melts away into pretty pinkish-red smudges, and the cherry flavour is just right - not too intense.  Make a batch of these, wrap up with a pretty bow and give them to your co-workers or neighbours on Valentines Day.  Share the love!

This version has quite a bit less sugar than some other similar recipes you will find out there, and with the additional 1.5 cups of chocolate, you won't notice a thing.  My chief taste-tester (read: husband) noted that the chocolate chips were almost unnecessary, and that the cherry taste was just enough to keep it interesting but not overwhelming.

 Chocolate Cherry Chip Blondie Bars

1 cup cherry M&M's
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.  In a large bowl, cream butter with sugars until light and fluffy.  Using a hand-mixer, beat in eggs and vanilla.   Fold in flour and mix to combine.  Batter will be quite thick.  Using a wooden or other sturdy large spoon, stir in cherry M&M's and chocolate chips.

Press batter into a greased 8x8 inch square pan. Grease a spatula to help press the batter down, as it will be quite sticky.  Press a handful or so of M&M's across the top (if you didn't eat the rest of the bag already : ).  Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

Best enjoyed within 2-3 days.

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