So it's back to school here in the South, as in today, I saw the buses running. The thermometer will reach 100 degree heat index. That just doesn't seem proper does it? Back in my day, school started after Labor Day, and that first day you scooted out of the house in a wool plaid skirt and new stiff leather shoes. I'm sure it was warm, but not this inferno! All I need is a yellow school bus to start thinking about fall, and I am dreaming of Halloween cookie designs and my favorite molasses cookies, but decided to start with a brown sugar blondie instead. Blondie is the term for today, but in my day we would call these a frosted bar. Bar cookies were the rage, and these did not disappoint. I never had a bar like this growing up, I really think the brown sugar pecan flavor is truly Southern!
This recipe comes from the Women's Exchange of Memphis. Founded in 1885, it remains an icon in Memphis history. Basically a consignment store for seamstresses and crafters, it is a volunteer organization with some of the cutest stuff around. The very best place to buy a baby gift, and their tearoom is a popular lunch spot. So when I came across these brownies (actually a blondie), I decided they were perfect to kick off fall. Even though it's still summer.
I made these in an 8 X 10, and they are quite thick, better for a dessert, a small slice with ice cream. They can be made 9X13 which would make them thinner, not a terrible thing. They are really rich! The very worse thing that can happen here though is over baking! So watch carefully...when the edges are crisping, the center should be about there. If you make a larger pan with thinner blondie, the baking time will be significantly shorter! Here's how they went:
Caramel Brownies With Brown Sugar Icing
2 c. light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 325°. Blend butter and sugar until well beaten. Add eggs. When eggs are incorporated, add remaining ingredients and mix. Pour into greased pan, minw was 8X10, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check for the sides to crisp before the center, but do not overbake! Cool before frosting.
Brown Sugar Icing
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar (sifted is a good idea!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt the butter in a saucepan, and then add the brown sugar and stir until the mixture begins to boil. Stir constantly and boil for 2 minutes. Add the milk and salt, bring back to a boil and then remove from heat. Cool until lukewarm. Add the sifted powdered sugar beating with a mixer, and add vanilla. While the icing is pliable, spread on cooled brownies.
I am loving this whole brown sugar business, so warm and different from traditional buttercream. We thought these would be delicious without the icing as well, and delicious with a scoop of frozen yogurt. Either way, these are a winner for sure. So, what are you waiting for? Get in there and bake!!