Over the past couple of years, Ina Garden has grown to be one of my most idolized chefs on FoodNetwork. Her food is homey, classic, and fantastic and the next time I find myself in East Hampton, NY (which coincidentally is only 40 minutes from where I grew up and where my entire family still resides), I'm going to make a point of hitting up Barefoot Contessa to test out her stuff in person. For now, I'll settle for making her recipes in my own kitchen and I've just made that a little easier after buying The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Ina's first cookbook. By the way, this was the first of the 2 cookbooks I treated myself to on amazon.
So my little collection of cookbooks is growing and I'm already envisioning the designated space I'd like to create for them once Kyle and I build a home in the next few years. Taking up some of that space will most certainly be the baking bible and what seems to be the most coveted baking cookbook in my foodie circle of friends, cooking message board and so many of the food blogs I read, Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours. I've pined over this cookbook for a year now and for whatever reason, never got around buying it.
Since Dorie's book has found a home in my kitchen, I've been reading it like a novel. Page after page of mouth-watering recipes and conversational dialogue that makes you feel like Dorie is right there in the kitchen with you. How could anyone NOT love a cookbook like this one?? This is the first recipe I've decided to make, and decision was a difficult one (which recipe???). Since Kyle and I are on a strict budget this month, which means no extra spending at the grocery store in an effort to keep costs down and use up what we already have on hand, I decided to go with a recipe that consisted of everything I already have. I'm a genius. This was the best sweet treat I've had in a long time and it certainly made me feel less bad about being so poor this month. :) I followed the recipe exactly, except that I omitted the nuts (of course) and subbed in peanut butter chips - not a bad substitution if I do say so myself. You must try this one!!!
source: Dorie Greenspan, From My Home to Yours
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup peanut butter - crunchy or creamy (not natural)
- 5 tbps unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts
- 6 oz semisweet or premium-quality milk chocolate, coarsely choppped, or 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, butter the foil, and put the pan on a baking sheet.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter together on medium speed until smooth. Add both the sugars and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until well incorporated into the butter. Add the eggs one at time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough; the dough will be thick. Add the peanuts and chocolate and give the mixer a few turns to stire them into the dough. If the chunky ingredients aren't mixed in after a few seconds, just finish the job with a sturdy spatula - don't overmix the dough. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan.
- Bake the blondies for 40 to 50 minutes (40 minutes was plenty for mine), or until they turn a deep honey brown and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.
- When it is completely cool, carefully life the blondies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and turn them out onto a rack. Peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Use a long knife to cut into 16 bars, each roughly 2 1/4 inches on a side.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
Yields: 16 bars