Malted chocolate pretzel blondies

I have to admit, I actually haven’t been particularly baking inspired lately.  Much like with cooking, when I travel a lot, I tend to go back to familiar recipes that I love instead of seeking out new ones (trolling through food blogs does take a fair amount of time investment after all).  So when I decided I wanted to bake something the other week and didn’t feel like going on a massive blog search, I just made this up.  It’s a basic cookie base with two of my favourite things (malt balls and pretzels) added in.  And chocolate chips too of course.  You can make it in a square pan but I happened to have some extra butter on hand and thus expanded the recipe a tiny bit and put it in a larger pan.  However, if you just have 1 stick or about 100 grams of butter, just have 1 cup of sugar total, put in less flour, and reduce the vanilla extract to 1 tsp.

When I bake and make up my own recipes, I’m actually quite imprecise.  I know baking is supposed to be this exact science but I am quite relaxed about adding things – probably because I’ve just done it so many times before, but my point is to just experiment and have some fun with this.  it’s quite a basic dough so just add whatever you might have on hand – crushed biscuits, nuts, white chocolate chips, etc.  I personally love adding pretzels because of the salty sweet contrast and if you like malt balls at all I highly recommend adding them in since it adds a great new dimension to the bar.

Malted chocolate pretzel blondies (an exclusive merrifood creation)

Ingredients

c.150 grams butter (this would be about 1.5 sticks of butter, but you can get away with using 1)

1/2 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt (or about half a teaspoon of regular)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1.5 cups flour

1 cup of crushed pretzels

Chocolate chips to taste (seriously I just dump enough in so that it seems chocolate-y enough)

A bag of Maltesers (or if you’re in America, whoppers or other malt balls)

This recipe really is incredibly simple.  Cream the butter and sugars together (make sure the butter is soft or cheat a bit and zap in the microwave for 15 seconds), and then add the egg and vanilla extract.  Put in the baking soda and salt, and then add half of the flour and the pretzels.  You can blitz the pretzels in a food processor if you want, but I just crushed them with my hand so there would be slightly bigger pieces sticking out of the dough.  Once that’s all stirred in, the dough should still be quite sticky so go ahead and add another half cup of flour and some hefty handfuls of chocolate chips, and mix it all in thoroughly.  Depending on  how many pretzels you’ve put in, this could be enough, but you may have to add a bit more flour until the dough comes together. You should be able to roll balls of it.

Put the dough in the fridge to set if you wish or just spread it straight into a pan lined with baking paper.  Bake at 180 C / 350 F for anywhere between 15 and 25 minutes.  Sorry that’s not very specific, but it will vary on the size of your pan.  It’s quite important to take it out when you think it might not be 100% done, because it will continue baking a bit as it cools.  If you insert a toothpick it should come out either clean (definitely take it out then) or with a few moist crumbs.  These bars taste best when they have set a bit, so let them cool for about an hour before diving in.

IMG_6008The usual mix of butter, sugar, eggs, etc.

IMG_6009Adding the flour and the pretzel pieces

IMG_6010Press malt balls into the top of the bars before putting them in the oven

IMG_6011Finished product, starting to cut them up

IMG_6017Cut up and ready to be gifted

I absolutely loved this combination of sweets and was pleased they came together so well in this bar.  The malt balls somehow caramelised a bit in the oven so biting into the bars yielded all kinds of textures and tastes – salty from the pretzel, typical chocolate, and crumbled caramel malt-y goodness.  I took them out when they were almost underdone and this turned out to be a great decision since they definitely firmed up a lot as they cooled, but were a bit gooey in the middle about 15 minutes after they came out of the oven.  This bar is further proof of the fact that if I just take some of my favourite junk food items and shove them together in a basic cookie dough base, it will be good no matter what.  I highly recommend you take this approach and customise it to your liking!

One year ago: Lemon rosemary foccacia (I need to make this again. it is amazing.)

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