A new school year is upon us. When the stores started displaying piles of notebooks, folders, crayons, and pencils, it actually meant something to our family this year for our very own Matthew will now be a full-time student. I can hardly believe it. It's truly the end of an era. He will be at school for the majority of the day and it will be just me and the girls at home. Believe me, we'll keep plenty busy but I'll miss my crazy little kid.
I'm also really excited for him. He loves to learn, he loves to interact with other kids, and he is so, so excited to finally eat lunch at school. It might sound ridiculous, but I think that is what he is looking forward to the most. While I was picking out his polo shirts and slacks, he was carefully selecting the perfect lunch bag. And, above all else, he has requested that I pack him an apple every single day. Gigantic, sweet apples are probably his favorite thing to eat.
However, he has to pack more than just apples! Matthew's reply here: "Well, how about two apples?!"
In addition to the apple, the carrot sticks, the box of raisins, and the sandwich that will inevitably fill his lunchbox, I want him to always have a sweet treat that he can either eat with his lunch or have as a special after-school snack. Matthew and I perused through several cookbooks and websites before he selected a few batches of cookies that he wanted to help me make and freeze in preparation for school! The first recipe we made were these blondies.
Now, this is my favorite blondie recipe and I have made it probably a dozen times. However, this time Matthew wanted to choose the mix-ins. He was very specific: white chocolate and peanuts. Peanuts are his favorite nuts and he is pretty obsessed with white chocolate so I wasn't really surprised that this combination appealed to him. But that kid must be a secret genius or something because these were fabulous. I actually really loved the honey roasted peanuts in these - and combined with the white chocolate the flavor reminded me of my favorite peanut butter: the White Chocolate Wonderful from Peanut Butter & Co.
Blondies are awesome because they bake in one pan, slice into cute little bars, and freeze marvelously. Matthew and Emma heavily sampled the first batch (heavily) so I actually made two. These will make an awesome sweet lunch treat or after-school-snack.
Buttery Blondies with White Chocolate and Peanuts
blondie base recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips
2 cups honey roasted peanuts
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, 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 butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, or until well incorporated. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chips, nuts and coconut. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and use the spatula to even the top as best you can.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean. The blondies should pull away from the sides of the pan a little and the top should be a nice honey brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely before cutting into bars. To get really neat cuts, let them hang out in the fridge for a bit until chilled. But it'll be hard not to dig in right away. Trust me.