Disaster is what happens when you over-commit yourself. Say … you commit yourself to making one six-layer cake for every day of the week of your birthday week. It’s also what happens when you decide to make something “quick” in the eleventh hour.
“I rather like having a large brownie for breakfast each morning,” I said to myself today. Having eaten through the pan of brownies I made last weekend, I decided I wanted to make something again this weekend after I realized there’s no possible way I can go low carb this week. (That idea lasted about three hours!) I simply do not have money to put into low-carb food at this point in time. But I have plenty of full-of-carb food in my condo to feed me without having to go to the store and spend more money. I decided I wanted to make some sort of sweet treat at about 5 pm Sunday night after spending the day studying for an exam I have coming up at the end of September. I should mention that my normal bedtime is between 8 pm and 9 pm, so making this realization at 5 pm did not give me a bunch of time to make something elaborate. So I pilfered through the recipes my grandma sent me and found one she had clipped from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that seemed easy.
Why, oh why, can’t I just settle for easy?
After having frosted brownies last week, I decided I wanted frosting on this week’s treat, too. I wanted to make a butterscotch-chocolate “ganache” like the one that goes on Scotcheroos. But I used all my butterscotch chips up in the blondie batter, dog-gone-it! So I had to come up with something else. My original idea was to have a peanut butter filling and then do a ganache. But I struck that idea as it seemed too time consuming. Plus I wanted a special butterscotch ganache. Not a regular ole chocolate ganache. Boring. So then decided I needed a frosting that was complimentary to butterscotch and peanut butter naturally came to mind as I had been thinking about it earlier anyway. So I borrowed a peanut butter frosting recipe from a brownie post found at epicurious.com.
Let me be clear that this frosting recipe was supposed to be just that. A frosting. But whatever happened in my mixer did not produce a frosting texture whatsoever. I started out following the recipe but the consistency just didn’t look right to me. So I added another 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. Then some milk. And for a minute I had a glossy and smooth frosting consistency. I turned my back for a few seconds and when I went back to my mixer, which was still running, I no longer had a frosting. Whatever was going on in my bowl had a gravelly consistency. No one wants gravelly frosting! So I played around a bit more. Usually I can save these kitchen disasters. I was sure I could reconstitute a frosting consistency. But I couldn’t. No matter how much milk/powdered sugar I added, the consistency remained the same. (I refused to add more butter because I’m running low on butter.) It was then I decided to turn the “frosting” into a filling. Which was my original idea anyway that I had forgone out of laziness. Alas, the simple two-step process was not meant to be. I was meant to make a three-step blondie topped with a chocolate ganache.
- 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 1 c. lightly packed light brown sugar
- ½ c. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 package butterscotch chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar with electric mixer on high speed 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well, scraping down bowl after each addition. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer still on low, slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Fold in butterscotch chips and with a rubber spatula.
- Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Don’t overbake! The toothpick may have melted chocolate on it, but it shouldn’t have wet batter. Cool completely in pan and cut into bars.
peanut butter frosting ingredients.
- 1 c. creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
- 3 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅔ c. powdered sugar + more to make your frosting into a disastrous filling
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
peanut butter filling directions.
- Combine peanut butter and butter in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until well blended and smooth.
- Spread frosting evenly over blondies in pan.
chocolate ganache ingredients.
- 16 oz dark chocolate (I used a mixture of dark and semi-sweet)
- 1 T. butter
- 1 to 2 tsp. sea salt (I used Maldon’s flaky sea salt)
chocolate ganache directions.
- Melt the chocolate and butter using a double boiler or in a glass bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. (I have not used the double boiler method once and I am 1 for 2 on my attempts. Heed my warning.) Stir until melted.
- Pour and spread the chocolate over brownies/blondies/whatever you’re cooking that has cooled sufficiently.
Or, more correctly, I was meant to have a kitchen disaster tonight. After the peanut butter filling step, I decided to make a chocolate ganache from a recipe I just made about two weeks ago. The recipe was a success. The ganache was a success. Can’t go wrong, right?
Pfft. Somehow when I was ignoring the double-boiler directions (same as I had last time) I ended up scorching the chocolate and butter. I refused to toss 16 ounces of chocolate. So I began to add more butter to try to smooth it out. Well that never happened. Several butter and margarine additions later I got a thick, gravelly chocolate looking FROSTING. I was not intending for a FROSTING. This was supposed to be ganache! Grr. I spread it across the blondies anyway. And as I sat there staring at it, I knew that even if the chocolate “firmed up” it wasn’t going to look or taste like ganache. To cover up the embarrassment of my error, I threw a bunch of mini m&ms on top. Now this project was so belabored with so many different conflicting flavors I just knew it was an entire pan of blondies I probably wasn’t going to be able to share with anyone. Except for maybe a neighbor or two that I happen to dislike and wouldn’t care if they thought my blondies were bad/over-the-top/burnt. I was so horrified by the whole ordeal, I didn’t take any pictures along the way. I couldn’t have evidence of such failure mocking me on my phone.
But here’s the magic part in all of this. Oftentimes when something starts out as a disaster, it turns into something beautiful. Well. I can’t account for what happens in life but I will attest to this in cooking. These bars are amazing. After covering them in m&ms I was worried there would be too much going on in these bars but biting into them put my fears to rest. I forgot how much I loved the m&m donut from Voodoo donuts until I took the first heavenly bite of this bar and was reminded of just how much I love mini m&ms in dessert.
Originally I was going to call the bars Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Stuffed Butterscotch Blondies, which is an apt name to describe them but also a mouthful. Then I decided to change it to the ever simple Blondie Scotcheroos. I don’t know that “scotcheroo” is a technical cooking term but I find myself using the name to describe various desserts that involve peanut butter, chocolate and butterscotch. This blondie TASTES like Rice Krispies Scotcheroos. Or the Flapjack Scotcheroos I’ve made. (Side note, I should make a “scotcheroo” category for this blog. I think I’m onto something here!)
I texted my coworker/friend a bit after 10 pm tonight when I had finally cut into the bars after throwing them in the freezer for about an hour or so and asked her permission to bring them in to work tomorrow. She had proclaimed this upcoming work week to be the start of her new diet and I didn’t want to sabotage her efforts. Luckily for me, she gave me permission to bring them on in because I can’t be alone with these bars. I will eat the whole batch! Yep. They are that good.
This recipe is such an experiment gone awry I’m not sure I could ever recreate these as is. But I’m confident that whatever attempt to recreate these (yours or mine) would render a stunning/impressive result.