I first discovered this recipe during my seduction of one P. Trivedi. I was sad and uninterested in my studies. What I was interested in, were baked goods and a boy. Every few days I'd whip up a batch of whatever, and share about half of them with those around me. In hindsight, I know that this obsession was unhealthy on so, so many levels. Then again, I think the end result was far more positive than not. Yes, I gained 20 pounds, yes I could have been more diligent in my school work, and yes, I was filling a void with sugar and butter. But I also gained a trove of fantastic recipes and the gratification of doing something really well. Finally, the fact that I was constantly bringing over immaculate sweets certainly didn't hurt my budding relationship with the young Dr. P, without whom I don't know if I would have ever emerged from that dark place. (Oh, and the weight? It vanished almost as quickly as it had appeared.)
There are flavors that take you back to a certain place and time. Toasted English muffins, spread with margarine and marmalade will forever remind me of my great grandmother Mamsci's glamorous flat in Vancouver. Ritz crackers are grandmother Marjorie Dick, who lived with our family until she was nearly 104. And these peanut butter blondies, take me back to the earliest days of my relationship with Premal, when we both had very little to offer each other, and yet what we had was just what the other needed.
Be warned, these babies are just about perfect. They taste like I always hope peanut butter cookies will--crisp on the outside, rich caramel-chewy within--but seldom do. The batter is really more of a dough, and needs to be patted into the corners of the pan. Finally, make sure your thumbprints aren't too deep, otherwise the blondies will swallow up the preserves (note: this is still very delicious, it just may not be what you were originally going for).
Peanut Butter Blondies
½ c. flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
4 T. butter
¼ c. peanut butter (heaping)
1 c. packed brown sugar
½ c. white sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
fruit preserves and chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Line 8 in. square pan with parchment. Cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, and mix until combined. Spread dough to edges of pan. Make heart-shaped thumbprints
, and fill with preserves and chocolate chips. Bake 30 min. If using chocolate chips in your hearts, you might need to swirl them a bit with a skewer after removing the blondies from the oven.
P.S. These keep really well. Making them perfect for mailing, bake sales, or eating for an entire week.