I’ve always wondered if there’s a tipping point at which the weather is so hot that people start saying no to baked goods. Just to give a little background, I train at a ballroom dance studio in Los Angeles that’s on the third floor of an old building with no air conditioning and inefficient windows that barely create a whisper of a cross breeze. So, when the weather heats up outside, it’s nearly unbearably stuffy and 10 degrees warmer inside the ballroom. I usually bring my most recent baked goods to share with my fellow ballroom dancers who are some of my most enthusiastic taste testers. Earlier today it hit 91 degrees on my terrace, so I’m going to put these Cinnamon Caramel Swirl Blondies to the test at the ballroom tonight and see if anyone tells me it’s just too hot to eat sweets. But passing on the blondies means they’ll be missing out on biting into soft and chewy, immensely gooey, cinnamon-y, caramely, slightly molasses-y bars of goodness.
Cinnamon Caramel Swirl Blondies
(Adapted from McCormick’s)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 package (14 ounces) caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup milk
- Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment large enough so that the ends extend over the sides of the pan, and lightly grease. If you’re using aluminum foil, make sure to grease the foil very well as these bars get really sticky.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
- Mix brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended.
- Add flour mixture, and mix well.
- Reserve 1 cup of the batter. Spread the remaining batter into greased foil-lined 9×13-inch baking pan (the batter will be quite firm, so using an offset spatula will make this a little easier). Bake for 15 minutes or until firm.
- Microwave caramels and milk in microwavable bowl on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after every minute. Cool for 5 minutes or until the caramel is slightly thickened. Pour over baked layer in pan, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edges. You may not need to use all of the caramel mixture.
- Drop reserved 1 cup of batter by spoonfuls over caramel layer (Using a small cookie scoop makes this a little easier). Don’t worry if portions of the caramel layer peek through as the batter will spread during baking. Use a knife to swirl the caramel and batter to create a marble effect. Be careful not to cut through the bottom pre-baked layer.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or longer until the center is set.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack.
- Remove the blondies from the pan using the handle of parchment/foil. Place on a cutting board, and cut into bars.