Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dumpy Blondes

When I was younger I took it for granted that visitors would always enjoy something sweet for dessert or as an afternoon (or midnight) snack. Now I assume that guests won't want such things around because it seems that many people are watching what they eat, even when on vacation. That's sad. Vacations seem to me to be a time to ignore our every day assumptions and let loose a bit.

Fortunately I found by observation that our current guests share my opinion, so this afternoon I mixed up a batch of bar cookies to enjoy in the evening. These are on the sweet side, but they have a salty element, too. Since they are inspired by various cookie recipes I've seen that use cereal, pretzels, and potato chips in addition to traditional cookie additions, I'm calling them Dumpy Blondes.

The 'blondes' part is because while they are bar cookies, like brownies, they have a brown sugar and butter background instead of chocolate, making them blondies. I suspect that there may be a recipe just like this somewhere in the blogosphere, but maybe not. At any rate, I started with the Big Blondes variation that I posted here and added salty nuts and salty potato chips instead of toffee bits. They are big in flavor, big in quantity, but dumpy due to the dump of ingredients that make them interesting. Try some!

Dumpy Blondes
A variation of a recipe by Jill O’Connor in Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey, Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
3 cups mixed nuts – I used one cup of pecans plus two cups of a mixture that included salted peanuts, whole almonds and walnut pieces
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup crushed salted potato chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter and sugar are blended and completely melted and starting to bubble gently. Remove the pan from heat and let the mixture cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk the cooled butter and sugar mixture into the eggs just until combined. Whisk in the flour and baking powder to form a loose batter. (Make sure the batter is cool before stirring in the remaining ingredients, otherwise the chocolate will start to melt before the bars are baked.)

Stir the nuts, coconut, potato chips, and white and dark chocolate chips into the cooled batter. (I mixed all of the dump ingredients together in a very large measuring cup before adding to the batter. That way I knew that there wouldn’t be a clump of potato chips here and a clump of white chocolate there, but rather a nice mix of all the goodies.)

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake until the tip is shiny and slightly crackled and feels firm to the touch, 30 – 35 minutes. A wooden skewer inserting into the batter should come out with moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cool on a wire rack to room temperature, then cut into bars and serve.

Makes 15 large or 30 small bars.


  1. Think I could fall head over heals for those dumpies ;0)

  2. These sound delicious. I love the sweet n salty combination. I'v never tried a baked good with crisps or pretzels it in before - sounds intreging

  3. I DEFINITELY ease away from rules at times - and vacation is one of those times to throw all caution to the winds and enjoy oneself thoroughly.

    The name of the cookie bar made me laugh out loud, though. Dumpy...blondes... Heee! Blondes still have more fun, huh, dumpy or not?

  4. I've never tried any sort of bars. And this sounds just like my fave flavour profile to start off with!

  5. What a great title! I'm with you - something sweet after dinner is essential.

  6. I just died and went to heaven. Being a blondie over brownie person..this is manna for me. They look amazing!!