Have you guys been enjoying your weekend so far? It's nice to know that it still isn't over, we have Monday off... so happy! My weekend was a lot of fun so far. Friday, I took the day off and anxiously awaited my nieces' arrival. I was so excited for them to FINALLY stay over. In their honor, I made them Peanut Butter Choco-Walnut Blondies, Garlic Bread and Reduced Fat Baked Ziti which turned out to be a HUGE hit. Yeah, you can say I have a whole lot of love for my nieces and it was quite a busy afternoon for me to say the least.
Once they arrived we all hit my building's rooftop pool. The weather was very cloudy, slightly cool and breezy. My nieces who are all great swimmers tried teaching me how to swim. It's so sad that I can't swim, but I really wanna learn. I have this fear towards water, but at the same time I have so much love for it. I'm just terrified of letting myself go in the pool. In particular, I was attempting to tread water in 4 feet, I know, so pathetic, and I wasn't able to do it! I'd succeed for about 1 to 2 seconds and then I'd end up standing. At one point, all 5 of my nieces dragged me horizontally to the middle of the pool teaching me how to float and I totally freaked out. They kept saying, "Don't worry, you won't drown, it's only 4 feet deep." LOL! Seriously, I need to take some swimming lessons and get over this fear of water I have.
Eventually the pool felt a bit cool as sunset approached, the winds grew stronger, and we decided to hit the Hot Tub... my husband joined too, YEAH! Now here is something I could do, sit and talk in the Hot Tub that was only 3 feet deep! Haha! I loved how the hot water steamed my face and it looked as though I just had a facial done, minus the $$$. My pores tightened up for sure. 🙂 We waited and waited and waited for the rain to come down, you know, it was the weekend of Hurricane Earl, however nothing happened. I'm glad there was no hurricane, but no rain either, WOW, that was shocking! Well, no rain just meant more time for us in the Hot Tub. Soon enough we left and after taking a nice long shower, I realized my body ached. Man, for someone who merely attempted swimming and works out, my body hurt, in particular my back. I suppose I was utilizing muscles at the pool that I normally wouldn't use at the gym. Let's just say the pain was bittersweet. After dinner was over, we all watched an Indian flick with nonstop commentary from my nieces... basically asking questions like, "Why is that guy flexing his muscles like that on the beach?... Who does that in real life?... OMG, another song!". I eventually turned off the movie cause they wouldn't stop
making fun of commenting on each and every scene. In any case, my husband slept by 12 am, while the rest of us stayed up till 4 AM, gossiping about love, life, and all sorts of things. My nieces really are the cutest people with such vibrant personalities. I pray I end up with kids just like them and hope I'm blessed with all girls. 🙂
Now... Peanut Butter Choco-Walnut Blondies, do you like the name I invented?
NUTRITION: Peanut Butter is high in fat and should be eaten in moderation, however it is a good source of Fiber, Protein, Folic Acid, and Vitamin E. Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips contain a good amount of Antioxidants.
MODIFICATIONS I MADE:
- Instead of 1 ⅓ cups of brown sugar, I used 1 ¼ cups... next time I will add 1 ⅓ cups of brown sugar.
- I used Smuckers All Natural Peanut Butter without any added sugars or artificial sweetening, in addition, there are no Hydrogenated Oils in my PB.
- Due to the lack of sugar in the peanut butter, I used ¼ teaspoon of salt, instead of ½ tsp.
- I used 2 eggs instead of 3 eggs. I don't like cake-like Blondies, I prefer chewier Blondies.
- I used 1 cup white flour and ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour instead of 1 ½ cups white flour.
- I skipped the miniature chocolate-covered peanut butter cup candies all together.
- I added ⅓ cup of walnuts which supply Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
- Instead of milk chocolate chips, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips which are less sweet and provide some antioxidant benefits.
APPROXIMATE NUTRITION PER SERVING (yields 20 squares)
- Calories: 202 cals
- Fat: 11 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.3 g
- Carbs: 33 g
- Protein: 3.9 g
- Fiber: 1.2 g
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCO-WALNUT BLONDIES (HEALTHIER) (inspired by Betty Crocker)
~ yields 20 squares @ 350 degrees using a 9" x 13" baking tray
Fat was not exactly reduced in this recipe because Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips contain more fat than other commercial brands. However, most commercial brands contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). I chose fat over HFCS and Ghirardelli quality over other brands! In addition, I added walnuts which add good fats and Omega 3 Fatty Acids to these blondies. For these reasons, my version is a healthier option than the original with fewer calories.
- Packed Brown Sugar - 1 ¼ cups... keep the original amount of 1 ⅓ cups
- Unsalted Butter - ¼ cup (melted)
- Smuckers All Natural Peanut Butter - ½ cup
- Vanilla - ½ tsp
- Eggs - 2
- All Purpose Flour - 1 cup
- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour - ½ cup
- Baking Powder - ¾ tsp
- Baking Soda - ¼ tsp
- Salt - ¼ tsp
- Walnuts - ⅓ cup
- Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips - ½ cup
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a 9" by 13" baking tray with butter or cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, vanilla, and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended.
4. Now add the dry ingredients, all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. Mix the batter, however DO NOT OVERMIX.
6. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and fold in with the batter.
7. Add the batter to your baking tray and spread.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Cut into 20 or 24 squares - I cut these into 20 squares, thus my nutrition is based on 20 squares.
OVERALL RATING: 4 / 5
These blondies turned out really good, although some reviewers complained the blondies were a bit dry and rather bland. Now considering these blondies contain 4 tablespoon of butter, as opposed to 6 to 8 tablespoon of butter... what you would typically expect in a brownie/blondie, these were yummy, moist, and delicious! I do admit the peanut butter flavor wasn't overwhelming, but subtle. If you absolutely love peanut butter, go ahead and add more. In addition, I used natural peanut butter which doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners, by doing so I reduced the salt by a ¼ tsp. Furthermore, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips which contain less sugar than milk chocolate chips. Lastly, I used 1 ¼ cups of brown sugar which wasn't the brightest idea because I had already removed some of the sweetness from the peanut butter and chocolate chips, I should have left this as 1 ⅓ cups. The blondies were good and sweet, however I felt they could have been a tad bit sweeter... see why skimping on the brown sugar wasn't smart. My husband loved these and thought they were just right, however my nieces, like I, thought the blondies could have been a bit sweeter, too. My niece, Rhea, said she would have preferred more chocolate chips, so in the future I will consider increasing the chips by another ¼ cup if health is not an issue for my crowd. Overall, these blondies were gone within 8 hours, definitely a keeper!
Texture: The texture of these blondies was slightly cake-like and slightly chewy. They were very soft.
Moistness: These blondies were moist, however they were not greasy. Keep in mind, this recipe calls for 4 tablespoon of butter which isn't as terrible as other recipes which call for 8 tablespoon or more. I personally thought the moistness was just right and didn't find the blondies to be dry whatsoever.