Today's recipe is for Betty Crocker Praline Bars, which are basically Blondies but
maybe definitely a little chewier and sweeter. They're far from being cakey and they actually look a bit like praline candy before being baked.
Betty Crocker Dinner for Two Praline Bars
The recipe is originally from Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two, one of the few cookbooks we owned when I was a small child. I used to look at the photos, and when I learned to read this was the first recipe I made.
As a kid I used vegetable oil and had good results, so I made a batch this week with vegetable oil for old times' sake. The nice thing about the oil version is the bars are extremely chewy. They taste good with the vegetable oil, but I knew they'd taste better with butter so I made a second batch with melted Plugra, a European style butter. The butter Praline Bars were even better -- especially topped with a little flaky sea salt.
The original version calls for ¼ cup shortening or salad oil and makes very chewy bars. I've been using butter instead and trying to decide if I prefer 4 tablespoons or 5 tablespoons. With 5 tablespoons, the bars are softer but with 4 tablespoons they are chewier. I think I prefer the chewier version so I've changed it back to 4.
Betty Crocker Praline Bars
- Butter for greasing pan
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil or shortening (56 grams)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar (200 grams)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup flour (97 grams)
- ⅔ cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
- Flaky sea salt optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub an 8 inch glass baking pan (or metal) with butter.
- Melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of brown sugar until well blended. Sugar should be shiny from the heat of the butter. If you are using vegetable oil, just mix the oil and sugar.
- Stir in the room temperature egg and vanilla, then stir in the baking powder and the salt. Add the flour and stir until blended, then stir in the nuts.
- Scrape into pan. If desired, sprinkle sea salt flakes over the top.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until bars appear set.
- Let cool completely and cut into squares or if you prefer, cut while warm.