Naomi and I have been very best friends since I was 5 and she was 7. Since we wore matching turquoise socks with sandals (never a good look) and ate midnight feasts at 8.30pm in my pink bedroom. We danced to Kylie & Jason, watched Saved by The Bell and bought our first New Kids on The Block tapes together. As we got older, we learned important life lessons. Like, how to get into sticky floored nightclub when you’re only 16, how to do a 3 point turn in a Fiat Uno with no power steering and we learned to never date a man who asks “socks on or socks off?”.
Times have changed and now we’re both practically grown ups. We’re in sensible relationships, we have mortgages and jobs and don’t spend our free time debating the merits of Mark Owen vs Robbie. These days, we live 3 hours apart and I miss her every single day.
These bars are totally postable in a little box for rainy days when you want to say “thanks for loving me through the goth years, through the falling over drunk years and through the newborn baby years” to someone who is far away. Imagine opening your post box to this in the morning. Oh heck, is it possible to have too much joy before breakfast?
These bars are crumbly but sturdy, whipped up super quickly but look fairly impressive. They are sweet but tempered by the dark chocolate, an all round an excellent bake to have in your repertoire. Oh and postable too of course (wrap them carefully in layers of baking paper and pop in a box).
I used a very dark (70%) chocolate for the topping as I think the bitterness really cuts through the creamy, peanut sweetness. You could use a 40% ish if you don’t like it quite so dark, but please don’t use milk chocolate, it’ll all be a bit too gooey sweet.
If you can, try to use a pan very close to the size I used (25cm x 25cm) they are just the right thickness in that tin. If you use a smaller tin, they’ll be deeper and may need a little extra cooking.
One last thing, when you take these out of the oven, resist the temptation to eat them with a trail of warm Nutella dribbling down your chin (who, me?) Leave them to be totally cold before you cut them and they will keep their pattern and give a nice clean cut. The chocolate, Nutella topping cools to something like a truffle texture. (Oh, be still my heart.)
(Spot those turquoise socks..)
- 125g salted butter
- 150g soft light brown sugar
- 100g crunchy peanut butter
- 2 free range eggs
- 85g plain flour
- 175g Nutella
- 125g very dark chocolate (I used 70%)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- Line a 25cm x 25cm tin with baking paper.
- Melt the butter and sugar together over a low heat.
- Once they are melted, remove from the heat and beat in the peanut butter.
- Leave to cool for 5 or 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the Nutella and dark chocolate in another bowl and microwave for 20 seconds, take out and stir very well. If it's not melted together, pop back in for another 20 seconds and stir well again. Repeat if you need to, but be really careful not to burn the chocolate. You're trying to make a smooth paste consistency with no lumps.
- Go back to your butter, sugar and peanut butter mixture and beat in each egg, one by one.
- Stir in the flour.
- Put the batter in to the prepared tin and smooth out with a spatula.
- Now take your chocolate mixture and using a spoon, dollop (technical term) 4 or 5 lines of it horizontally along the length of the pan.
- Now use the edge of a knife to draw lines vertically through these lines, first top to bottom, then bottom to top, about 10cm apart. Taaa-daaa! Pretty pattern ahoy.
- Bake for about 20 minutes. A skewer should come out only just clean. You could test at 17 minutes and again at 20 minutes just in case.
- As always, remember that depending on your oven it could take up to 10 minutes longer, but please please try not to overcook them. Blondies are always better under-done than over.
PS. Keep an eye on your letterbox my dear pal. Love you xx