A friend of mine recently announced she was pregnant. While it is still early and they won't know for a while what they are having, I decided to do bake something in her honor for girl's night. While she will be excited, girl or boy, I know she's hoping for a girl... plus I don't think they make bags of blue M&M candies. But since its almost Valentine's Day, pink candies are everywhere. Speaking of which, these would also be perfect for an easy Valentine's Day dessert.
I wanted something that wouldn't require a fork to eat so I was looking for cookies or bars. I've been looking at the recipe for blondies in Dorie Greenspan's books for a couple weeks waiting for an excuse to make them so I decided to go with it and swap out the chocolate chips for M&Ms.
I also subbed caramel chips/pieces for butterscotch chips because I had them in the pantry, but I think either one work equally well. If you had to make a choice between individually wrapped caramels and a bag of butterscotch chips, butterscotch chips win hands down but around Christmas I found a bag of caramel chips so the convenience was there. I don't know if they were a seasonal product or not. I left out the walnuts because I don't know if anyone has an allergy and there was plenty of other stuff going on already.
Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup M&M candies
1 cup caramel chips
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with baking spray.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment), beat butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes until light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and add in sugar and brown sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Again scrape bowl and add eggs, 1 at a time and beat about 1 minute after each addition. Scrape bowl again and add vanilla and continue beating until well incorporated.
Add in flour mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Using your rubber spatula, mix in about 1/2 of the M&Ms and all of the coconut and caramel chips. Scrape the batter into prepared pan and use spatula or your hands to smooth out the batter as evenly as possible. Sprinkle top with remaining M&Ms and lightly press them into the batter.
Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean when done. Cool about 15 minutes in the pan and then cover with a wire rack and flip to remove from pan. Cover with a second wire rack and flip back over so they are right-side up and cool completely. Cut into pieces of desired size. I got about 28 bars.