Attorney by day and baker by night, Mike Johnson, creator of Mike Bakes NYC, has just published his first cookbook! Though his blog is focused on approachable comfort food generally, he’d love to see home bakers of every stripe having a better time. His new cookbook? Just desserts, thanks.
Even Better Brownies contains “50 Standout Bar Recipes for Every Occasion,” and we can vouch for Mike’s good taste. He tested (and retested!) them on weekends and late at night, every single weeknight and weekend outside of his day gig.
It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it! We give Mike props for his sweet tooth, work ethic, and incredible chocolate peanut butter pretzel blondies. This is a great book, mixing cute headline chapter titles like “Blondies Have More Fun” with trivia. (Did you know, as Mike did, that blondies predated brownies by 10 years in the 1800s? There you go.)
Mike believes blondies are “terribly underrated,” and these salty-sweet little numbers will prove it!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Blondies
I have a confession to make. I’m a bit of a peanut butter hoarder. Actually, all nut butters in general. But at any given time, I probably have at LEAST five jars of different types of peanut butter, and so it’s only natural that I include the deliciously sticky spread in baked goods whenever possible. If there was ever a peanut butter dessert recipe to have in your back pocket, it should be these blondies. In fact, I should really be calling these Back- Pocket Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Blondies, but I feel like that title might be a little on the long side. The point is, these are the best blondies. Try them for yourself!
• 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, melted
• 4 tbsp (64 g) creamy peanut butter, divided
• 1/2 cup (110 g) light brown sugar
• 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 tbsp (8 ml) vanilla extract
• 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 cup (130 g) semisweet chocolate chips
• 16 mini pretzels
• Flaky sea salt, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8 x 8–inch (20 x 20–cm) pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray and then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Grease the parchment with butter or nonstick cooking spray and then set it aside.
2. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the melted butter, 2 tablespoons (32 g) of peanut butter, the light brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Then add the flour and baking powder and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly incorporated.
3. Spread half the batter into the prepared pan. Dollop and then gently swirl the remaining 2 tablespoons (32 g) of peanut butter into the batter. Add the remaining batter over the top; don’t worry if it does not fully cover the peanut butter.
4. Arrange the pretzels over the top of the batter, gently pressing to adhere. Transfer to the oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, just until the blondies are set in the center. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with the sea salt, if desired. Let the blondies cool completely before cutting into bars.
5. Cover and store leftover blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.