Sweet & Salty Bourbon Blondies + a few songs by supergroups

Sweet & salty bourbon blondies

THE DISH
Blondies loaded with Momofuku chocolate “crumbs,” caramel, and bourbon

THE INSPIRATION
I recently participated in my first Tumblr Eat Up, in which a ton of Tumblr-ers are assigned a person somewhere in the country to bake and send treats to. My Eat Up buddy Alexis also lives in New York, and happens to be one of the ladies who started the Eat Up, so I couldn’t bake just any treats and throw in a couple of compost cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar to impress her — I had to do something just a little bit over the top. So I combined three elements from New York foodie staples: Momofuku Milk Bar (chocolate crumbs, which are used in several of their desserts), Baked (caramel and the method used in the Red Hook, Brooklyn, bakery’s famous sweet-and-salty brownies), and a recipe for blondies from the great Smitten Kitchen. I’m pairing them with a few songs from supergroups, since the best ones take great pieces from other projects and combine them into something that’s different, but can sometimes be just as special. These blondies are rich and gooey and possibly one of the most amazing treats to come out of this kitchen.

THE SONGS

Wild Flag, “Romance” (from Wild Flag): Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss from Sleater-Kinney, with Mary Timony (Helium) and Rebecca Cole (The Minders). Their self-titled debut was my favorite album of 2011 and this is my favorite song from it. Also, this video rules.

Traveling Wilburys, “Handle With Care” (from Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1): Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty. Can you fit more songwriting legends into one album? This is one of those songs that I’d heard all my life but for the longest time didn’t know who wrote it. Glad I got that figured out.

The Dead Weather, “Treat Me Like Your Mother” (from Horehound): Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, solo), Alison Mosshart (The Kills), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age, The Raconteurs), Jack Lawrence (The Greenhornes, The Raconteurs). As far as Jack White projects go, The Dead Weather added some fierceness that I think was missing from The Raconteurs, mostly thanks to Alison Mosshart.

The New Pornographers, “Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk” (from Together): Most notably Carl “A.C.” Newman (Zumpano, solo), Neko Case (solo) and Dan Bejar (Destroyer). Seeing this band live (especially when Case and Bejar are on tour with them, which isn’t all the time) makes me so, so happy.

The Living Sisters, “How Are You Doing?” (from Love to Live): Inara George (the bird and the bee, solo), Eleni Mandell (solo) and Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond). A couple years ago, these three ladies put out out a collection of sweet, harmony-heavy folk songs.


THE RECIPE
Fills one 13×9 baking dish. The caramel and crumbs can be made a couple days ahead of time.

Caramel
Adapted from Baked Explorations, previously used in this recipe!

Chocolate crumbs
From Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar. These are kind of like clusters of Oreo cookie crumbs. You’ll have leftovers; just try to keep yourself from snacking on them…

Ingredients:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup high-quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat (I think parchment would work as well).

• In the bowl of a stand mixer (I don’t see why this wouldn’t with a handheld electric mixer, but I have not done it this way so I can’t vouch for it!), combine all ingredients except the butter, and mix on low until combined.

• Add the butter and mix on low speed until it comes together in small clusters (about a minute).

• Spread the clusters out onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, breaking up the pieces once or twice throughout.

• Let the crumbs cool completely before mixing into the blondie batter; they’ll harden up a little bit as they cool.

Blondies:
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:
2 sticks butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla mixed with 3 teaspoons instant coffee
6 tablespoons whiskey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups + 2 tablespoons AP flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate crumbs
1 cup walnuts (optional; my Eat Up buddy requested no nuts or I would have added these)
Heaping 1/2 cup caramel
Sea salt, to taste

Directions:
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 13×9 baking dish with parchment paper (or you can butter it).

• With an electric mixer, mix melted butter with brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, vanilla and whiskey.

• Add and stir in salt and flour. Mix in chocolate crumbs and nuts if using.

• Pour enough batter into the baking dish just to cover the bottom of it. Then zig-zag the caramel on top and use a spatula to spread it out (be careful to not let the caramel reach the edges of the pan).

• Carefully cover with the rest of the batter, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on top, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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