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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Going Blond-ie ! A Recipe

As you know I am very into what is known as cozy mystery novels, and one of my favorite authors is Joanne Fluke. The character in the book is Hannah Swanson, who just happens to own a cookie shop in a small town by the name of Lake Eden, MN. When she is not baking cookies and trying out new recipes she is helping to solve mysteries and murders...usually of the victims that she just happens to stumble upon! There is a wonderful cast of colorful characters, between the two men who she is torn between and who love her, her Mom, two sisters, assistant Lisa and her cat Moishe. It all makes for a fun adventure with a bit of sweet, yummy goodness added via the recipes that are shared in each book. So very often I am tempted to make one of them, but am not good at downsizing the serving size, but in the most recent book Devils Food Cake Murder, released this past February, there was a recipe that was perfect, and I knew I could tweak it to be a bit least a tiny bit.

Butterscotch Bonanza Bars 
(aka Blondies , at least that is what I always called them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in middle position 

1/2 cup salted butter ( 1 stick, four oz, 1/4 lb) 
2 cups light brown sugar, (pack it down when you measure it)
2 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp salt 
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract 
2 beaten eggs ( just whip in glass with a fork) 
1 & 1/2 cups of flour ( scoop it up, level with a table knife) 
1 cup chopped nuts (optional) 
1cup butterscotch chips (optional)

This go around I am not adding nuts or chips, though I truly do think next time I shall. Thinking Macadamia? I subbed light Best Life margarine for the butter, as well as my white whole wheat flour for the white. 
Grease and flour a 9x13 inch cake pan, or spray with non-stick cooking spray with flour in it. (*I used a 8x11, they are thicker, but did not alter anything baking wise)Set aside while you mix up the batter.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan or in the microwave in a micro-safe, medium-sized mixing bowl and heat for 1 minute in the microwave on high 

Add the light brown sugar to the mixing bowl with the melted butter and stir in well.

Mix in baking powder and the salt. Make sure they're well incorporated.

Stir in the vanilla extract.

Mix in the beaten eggs.

Add the flour by half-cup increments, stirring in each increment before adding the next. 

Hubby is home on Sunday's now so he will be official photo taker when I bake!
 Stir in the nuts, and chips if you are adding any. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth with a rubber spatula.
OOPS! Caught in the act
Bake the Butterscotch Bonanza Bars at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes ( took 24 for me, checked w/ toothpick for it to be nearly clean and the top to spring back to the touch)

When the bars are done, take them out of the oven and cool them completely on a cold stove burner or a wire rack. 

When the bars are cool, use a sharp knife to cut them into brownie-size pieces.

Yield: App. 40 bars, but that all depends on how large you cut the squares. (I used the 8x11 pan, so we have 32 little squares)


Hot out of the oven

Tea Time! 

***Because I used the white whole wheat flour and Best Life Margarine they had a slightly nutty flavor, with a touch of extra texture associated with the flour. The was not the same richness had I used butter, but there was a lovely sweetness to them , not over the top, ( though it is not sugar free by any means of course) and truly I enjoyed them this way...having had made traditional blondies that are more dense, this I would say are more cake like. I again did not mind this. I do believe that next time I shall use white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. The author states that this is such a great base to play with as far as they type of chips and nuts used or to leave plain...I agree. And I look forward to playing with the different combos. This one will go in my file.

Let me know if you try them and what you think! I urge you to try the original and my tweaks , then pour a cup of tea and compare.


  1. Just read about your blog in O magazine and decided to check it out. And what is the first thing I read? A post about the very book that I am reading right now! I love books that combine mystery and recipes. My daughters laugh at me but I don't care!

  2. @JackieSo glad to have found a fellow fan! I love them as well...have very many great authors I follow that are similar.

  3. Just finished the book. What an unexpected ending! Now we'll have to wait for ages to see what happens next.

  4. @Jackie At least a year LOL...shall have to seek out my other authors and see when they are publishing.


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