Working With What You Have: Too Many Peanut M&Ms

RECIPIENT: Sister Kate
REASON: Champion Commenter
TYPE: Gratitude, as usual
GOODS BAKED: Peanut M&M Blondies

I’ve been known to add the odds and ends of my pantry and fridge to my blondie, cookie, and brownie batters. Nothing gross of course, but a handful of raisins, a bit of lemon zest from a lemon I bought for some savory purpose, maybe some sweetened shredded coconut lingering in the freezer. It’s all about being resourceful, really.

Back when I was catering, in college, I made great use of the flexibility of my go-to cookie-dough base, customizing it with chocolate, nuts, fruit, spices, and candy. I’d mix up a double batch of this basic dough (butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, flour, baking soda, and salt) and divide it into thirds or fourths. To one part, I’d add cinnamon, diced apple, and toasted walnuts; to another, milk chocolate and toffee. I’d stir regular old dark chocolate chips into a third, and tweak the last with white chocolate, macadamia nuts, and coconut. (And on and on.) That way, when I arranged the cookies on a plate to serve, the guests would be able to bask in the variation, giving themselves an excuse to have not one but four cookies.

All of which is to say that when you’re working with such an enticing base, you’ve got a lot of leeway with add-ins. Everything goes with butter and sugar, and a whole lot goes with chocolat.e In other words, it’s hard to mess up.

I feared I finally would, though, when I poured the remains of a BJ’s-sized bag of Peanut M&Ms, left over from my barbecue, into the blondie batter I was making last week. Would the vibrant colors from the candy shells melt into the batter? Would the blondies look radioactive instead of exuberantly colorful? Could I still cut neat little squares? What if I substituted regular or almond M&Ms?

Then I realized that with all these questions I was starting to sound a little bit like Kate, my younger sister, who’s better known on Big Girls, Small Kitchen, for having a .90 batting average in our comments section. Though she goes to college and is on a full meal plan, there are few meals too complicated or exotic for Kate to pass up commenting on. In appreciation of her constant attention to our posts, I sent Kate these fantastic, fun, and delicious blondies. Though they were austere, in one sense—being made from ingredients I already had—they were completely over the top in another—being extra sweet, super peanut-y and brightly colored.
Anyway, we love your comments, Kate. And we’re infinitely grateful for everyone’s participation. So to all the reader-lurkers out there, if you haven’t put two and two together, commenting = blondies.
From my kitchen, where I love my sister and her comments, to yours,

M&M Blondies
Makes 24 blondies

1 package light brown sugar (2 1/2 cups)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups peanut M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan. Use a smaller baking pan for thicker blondies—just bake a bit longer.

Combine the brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and combined and the whole mixture just begins to bubble. Remove and let come to room temperature. This will take about 20 minutes; speed it up in the fridge if need be.

When the butter and sugar have cooled, beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour and salt, then gently stir in the M&Ms. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes, until the top has gotten slightly puffed and crusty. Cool, and cut into small rectangles.

  • Sarah L

    mouth is drooling. evan wants me to make them right now. too bad we have like five cakes here… your blog has prevented me from studying one too many times!

  • Jenny

    Jenny just showed me your blog and I love the vibe and sensibility of the writing and and gorgeous photographs. Plus the food looks delicious.
    Keep up the good work!
    -Jill Sharfstein

  • Kate

    You're the best!! The blondies were amazing, even if I'm going to have to make a trip to the dentist. Can't wait too see you next week, and eat in your kitchen.

  • Jessie

    I'm not a fan of nuts in baked goods, but I think peanut m&m's have the proper amount of sugar and chocolate to this a very viable mix-in option.

  • Nikki the Foodie of Lobster Gram

    Fantastic images. I'm really going to have to give these colorful blondies a try!

  • Unplanned Cooking

    Great colors! Great pictures! You can never have too many peanut m&Ms. :)

  • Keith

    Ugh. I just mixed this up and put it in the oven when I realized there was no leavening agent in your ingredients list. Did you forget something?

  • Phoebe and Cara, the Quarter-Life Cooks

    Keith: nope! This blondie recipe is really a modified brownie recipe, so the egg takes care of any necessary leavening. I think it's when blondies are more like cookies baked as bars that you need baking soda or powder.

    How did they come out?

  • Meinhart

    I think the sugar I used is too grainy. The butter+sugar mixture turned out to be some sort of sloppy caramel.

    I figured : none of their other recipes went badly, just have faith in BGSK…

    it's in the oven now, and I'm looking for a hack saw to clean my bowls.
    I don't think it's going to end well, sad to say.

  • Allison

    I made these last weekend, with the intention of bringing (most of) them into work. They were so good, and we ate so many, that I ended up not having any to give to my co-workers!

    Chewy and moist, even though I didn’t think there’d be enough liquid while I was making them. Yum yum. 

    • BGSK

      Glad to hear you enjoyed!

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