There are times in life when things go wrong and you just have to sit back and laugh about it. My trip to Minnesota for the marathon was not one of these times. To make a long and not-so-funny story short, my car broke down in the middle of Iowa on a humid 95 degree day, leaving me stranded on the side of the highway. I guess you could say that I didn't handle the situation very well. There was crying involved. And sweating. It wasn't pretty.
After getting my car towed and figuring out how I was going to get myself to Minnesota to run the dang race, I kind of figured the hardest part of the weekend was over. Ha. That was until I actually ran the race. Now, this was my 5th marathon so I kind of knew what was coming, but its hard to predict exactly how my body is going to handle 26 miles of running. I also had a time goal in mind and pushed myself harder than I had before, and as a result I hurt a lot more than I had before. I honestly wasn't sure I was going to make it to the finish line. The pain was worth it though, and with a time of 3 hours and 37 minutes I qualified for the Boston Marathon! The best part about it? My family (and Marc and his family!) there cheering me on. The cherry on top was my dad waiting at the finish line to give me my medal. It was such an amazing day, and I'll never forget it.
I made these blondies to continue my carb/calorie loading and to share with my family. They are made with browned butter, which gives them an amazing nutty flavor, and the salt from the almonds lends to my favorite combination of sweet and salty. If I made them again(which I'm certain I will), I would buy the toffee bars whole and cut them up, so the chunks of toffee would be more substantial in the bars. The tiny toffee bits sort of melted in and were overpowered by the almonds. Chocolate chips or chunks would also be a great addition to these bars. Like all blondies, these can be adapted to your liking and what you have on hand. The most important part of these blondies is the browned butter...you are definitely missing out if you've never tried browned butter in baked goods. It's life changing.
Brown Butter Almond Toffee Blondies
adapted from Martha Stewart
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 cups light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)
1 cup salted almonds, chopped
1 cup toffee bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray, and sprinkle about 2 tablespoon flour over bottom and edges of dish.
In small saucepan over medium heat, melt and cook butter until it turns golden brown. This will take awhile (about 10 minutes). Be Patient. Don't burn it.
Remove from heat immediately when it turns brown. Let cool.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In large bowl combine browned butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar and mix together with wooden spoon. Add eggs and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine. Add flour mixture, almonds, and toffee bits. Mix until combined and pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven 35 to 40 minutes. Make sure to not overbake. Cool completely before cutting into pieces. Or don't. They're amazing warm.