When I was thinking of a festive, fall-themed cookie to make, Reese's Pieces came to mind. Enrobed in bright orange, yellow, and brown, the leaf-like colors are perfect. And the hot heat of an oven? These little candies say bring it on. The crisp candy shell is every bit as colorful and crunchy after the bake. Plus, a chance to make another peanut butter recipe? Well that made it a no-brainer.
Rather than just pile the candies onto a basic blondie, I took my favorite blondie recipe and incorporated peanut butter. Shooting for a texture similar to a buttery, moist peanut butter cookie, I adjusted the sugar, butter, and flour amounts hoping to balance the sweet, fatty, and sticky properties of the peanut butter. After a few trial and error batches, and adding some chopped peanuts for extra crunch, I landed on a great recipe that was totally peanut butter-y, tender, moist, and best of all, easily mixed together in just one bowl.
The key to achieving a fudgy texture is to slightly under-bake the brownies, which I've accounted for in the recipe baking time. Smothered with heaps of Reese's Pieces candies on top, these bar cookies are a winner any time of the year.
- Yield:makes one 8-inch pan
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 30 minutes
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Reese's Pieces candy
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line bottom and two sides of 8- by 8-inch pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing ends to overhand sides. Lightly grease pan.
Place butter in a large microwaveable bowl and microwave on low power until just starting to melt, about 30 seconds. Stir in sugar and salt until combined. Stir in peanut butter, then egg and vanilla. Add flour and baking soda to the bowl, then stir until combined. Stir in peanuts.
Spread into pan and smooth top. Sprinkle with Reese's Pieces. Bake until golden and just set, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with fudgy crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan, about an hour. Lift blondies out of pan and slice.