June 27, 2016

Brown Butter Blondies + Weekend

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Why have I not been making blondie bars before??? Where have I been? 

Last week my sweet tooth was out of control (I blame the millions of miles I am running each week. And also also studying for the bar exam). AR was out with some guys on Thursday night, and I decided I would rather make a sweet treat than cook dinner (yogurt and salad for the win). I flipped through my cookbooks at home – mostly a collection of Junior League and church ladies cookbooks from my aunts.

I stumbled on some blondie recipes that all looked amazingly simple, and all had about the same ratios. I wanted to change them up a bit, so I decided to start by browning the butter, which always intensifies the flavor of baked goods and creates this incredible richness. 

Then I added finely chopped pecans, that I dry roasted a bit in a cast iron skillet for flavor. I doubled the vanilla, added a pinch of baking soda, and threw in some mini chocolate chips for good measure.

The results were even better than I imagined. 

The texture is slightly gooey in the middle, with a great crunch at the edges. The brown butter and brown sugar create a caramel like flavor, which goes perfectly with the pecans. By Sunday night, we had eaten over half the pan. #noshame

Other weekend highlights included:

+ A silly night at the Shakespeare Playhouse, where we saw Taming of the Shrew.

+ Brunch at West Egg Cafe after our Saturday run.

+ Making one of my mom’s recipes on Sunday night and watching The InternDid you see that movie? I was so surprised by how much I loved it – it was so cute and funny!

+ Filling my first pantry box on Amazon – I am officially obsessed with Amazon prime. So many of my skincare products are available on there, and at a much better price than I get in stores sometimes!

Brown Butter Blondies

ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter, browned and cooled*
  • 1 c. brown sugar, packed (I used light, but dark would work too!)
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1.2 t. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. pecans, finally chopped and lightly toasted (optional)*
  • 1/2-3/4 c. mini chocolate chips (or any other baking chip)*

directions

Preheat over to 350*. Line a 9×9-inch square pan with parchment paper, letting the sides of the paper fold over the edge.

In a medium bowl, mix melted butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until well blended. Scrape sides of bowl, and add egg and vanilla, mixing until light and creamy. Gradually add in flour, salt, and baking soda, scraping sides to fully incorporate the ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread out evenly. Note that the batter will be thick.

Bake at 350* for 30-35 minutes, depending on the temperature of your oven. Bars are done with the top is golden brown and the middle is still slightly soft to the touch. Let the pan cool on a wire wrack for 15 minutes.

Once cool, use parchment paper as handles and remove the bars to a cutting board for each cutting. Enjoy.

Tips

+ To brown butter: Place a stick of butter in a skilled over medium heat. Once butter is melted, let the butter continue to heat, swirling the pan. Butter will crackle and pop as the water cooks out of it, and brown bits will develop on the top. When butter begins to smell nutty and develop a slight brown color, remove from skillet and pour into bowl to cool.

+ To toast nuts: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add in chopped nuts to the dry pan, and stir until nuts began to heat and and you can smell them toasting, about 5 minutes. Once nuts get a slight brown color to them, remove from skillet and let cool.

+ Other toppings: These bars would be excellent with butterscotch chips, chopped dark chocolate, or walnuts. Fell free to add other toppings and let me know what you think!

April 25, 2016

Weekending {2/25}

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Linking up with Biana & Meghan for some weekend highlights!

+ Friday started with hot yoga with a friend, a yummy cup of coffee from my favorite coffee shop, and a 9 hour day of studying. Woof.

+ AR met me after work and we headed to Bocado on the west side. I ordered rose and a faro bean salad. With a generous handful of AR’s fries. #balance – or something like that 😉

+ Saturday was more hot yoga – this class was a yoga sculpt class, where the room was heated to 100* and we did our yoga poses holding weights, with spurts of cardio and weight training moves. Talk about killer. I could barely walk back to my car. 

+ I made these yummy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. They were good straight out of the oven, and amazing the next day. I can’t even talk about how many of them I have enjoyed.

+ Sunday was a 6 mile run, and an evening walk to the frozen yogurt shop. We seriously could not have asked for better weather this weekend!

Heading to my LAST law school exam this afternoon. Have a great Monday!

April 8, 2016

Fri-yay {4/8}

Friday

Popping in for some Friday fun with April, Christina, Karli, and Heather

1||Wearing: These new white jeans, which should be arriving from the ShopBop sale. So excited to try them on, I hope I love them. I’m regretting not getting this top, which sold out asap. I might run by Madewell and look for it.

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2||Exercising: HOT YOGA! Switching up my workouts a bit with a hot yoga class tomorrow with a girlfriend. Let’s hope I don’t die. Also hoping for a sunny run if the weather holds out.

3||Eating: Lots of homemade biscuits, which AR wanted to take to work today. We made about 3 dozen of them this morning (using this recipe), and I send yummy fillings like jam, cheddar, and bacon. Don’t worry, I saved a couple for myself 😉

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this is an old snap of some baby biscuits. don’t worry – I made jumbo ones for the office!

4|| Loving: Visits from friends! I had two wonderful friends visit this week – one from Florida and one from D.C.. Both were in town for less than 24 hours, but we made the most of it and so enjoyed catching up 🙂

5||Making: A trip to Sephora because the VIB sale starts. I’ll be buying some old faithful products, but I want to try a new BB/CC/Tinted Moisturizer. Ideas? Recommendations? 

March 28, 2016

Weekending {2/28}

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+ I spent Friday morning at the hair salon, where I got a fresh cut and color (woo hoo), so I don’t look terrible during finals season. I met AR for brunch afterwards, because he had the day off.

+ We had to modify our Friday picnic plans, because the ground was still wet from all the rain we have been getting. We walked through the park and sat outside at a local pizza spot. Even if we weren’t technically picnicking, we were outside and looking at the park 🙂 We shared an arugula salad and a margarita pizza with black olives.

+ By the time we got home, we had walked 4 miles, so we opened some cadbury eggs for dessert.

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+ The rain ruined our Saturday morning plans too, and we had to postpone our first farmer’s market trip of the season because it was so wet. We got yummy coffee at Dancing Goats and went to Whole Foods instead (I shared our meal plan for the week here). Next weekend hopefully!

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+ Saturday I made a gorgeous batch of croissants – some with chocolate, some plain, and some with turkey and cheese. This was my first solo croissant making adventure, and I call it a success. Even if it did take 7 hours start to finish (nope, not exaggerating). I baked a batch to enjoy, and froze a batch to bake later.

+ We grabbed ice cream from Jeni’s and went for a walk in west midtown in the evening, before coming home for dinner.

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+ Easter morning included a 6 mile run, church, and a big homemade brunch. We made french toast with extra-thick break from the bakery, ham with a mustard & brown sugar glaze, and fruit salad. I think all I did was eat this weekend, I swear. 

+ We selected wedding photos to frame on Sunday afternoon, and did a deep clean of the apartment. I just can’t start my week with a messy home. Our rule of thumb? Set a timer for 30, 45, or 60 minutes and see what we can do. At the end of the time, we call it good, no matter where we are at.

How did you celebrate this weekend? 

(thanks for hosting the link-up, Biana & Meghan!)