Cookies to Calm and Anxious Heart

Well if you've been watching the news you know that there has been a little "unrest" in our soon to be new home of Tunisia....Andy and I have been anxiously waiting, obsessively watching the BBC, reading the International Herald Tribune, and reassuring ourselves that we didn't make a grave mistake. Those really dark hours when the house is asleep are hard. My inner middle school girl has a really loud voice in the middle of the night, sometimes it is hard to get her to shut up. She can be a trouble maker that one, stirring the pot and causing lots of doubts and fears to creep into my thought life. Thankfully I have also had a bad cold this past week and I have found that a really good cough syrup or Tylenol PM pretty much makes her mute. It's been hard enough to go through the emotions myself but to walk through this past week with my daughters was an entirely different experience all together. How do you explain to your children that the new home you have chosen for them is in the process of overthrowing their government. The girls however were wonderful, understanding, occasionally anxious, but overall they handled things well. Thankfully we have 7 months until we officially move and a lot can happen in that time. I am certain that good things will happen for Tunisia in that time.

I don't know if you are like me but when I am a little tense, I need to bake. There have been quite a few things flying out of my oven of late, so much so that my oldest daughter and husband called for a time out. Granola, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies, Double Chocoalte Oatmeal cookies, and finally last night the cookie that did them in. Butterscotch Blondies with Toffee and Sea Salt. Now I know what you might be thinking, Blondies? Aren't those really just lazy Chocolate Chip cookies? I say that because that is what I always think. That is until I tried these cookies. They are chewy, and gooey, a little crunchy, and just when you think they are going to be too sweet you get a little hit of toffee and sea salt. Mmmm. You know....I'm thinking Dorie Greenspan has her World Peace Cookies I could technically call these Squelching a Riot Blondies. I probably need to work on the name a little more.

Butterscotch Blondies with Toffee and Sea Salt
For the Blondies:
12 tablespoons butter at room temperature
2 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the Topping:1 1/2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup toffee pieces, such as Heath brand
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9X13 baking dish and line with parchment paper.
Make the Blondies:
Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream together well until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and vanilla mixing on low speed until combined. Scrape down the bowl.
In another bowl whisk together the all purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, then scrape the batter into the parchment lined pan.
Bake the blondies for 25 minutes, or until the center is no longer runny when tested with a wooden skewer. Moist crumbs should still cling to the skewer when testing for doneness. You really don't want to overbake these!
Remove the Blondies to a wire rack to cool.
Make the Topping:
In a small saucepan stir the butter and the milk over medium heat until the butter is melted. Be careful not to bring to a boil. Add the powdered and brown sugars and stir until melted. Increase the heat to medium high. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and simmer for 5 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat.
Using a skewer poke holes all over the top of the Blondie. Pour the topping mixture over the Blondie and spread evenly. Top with the Toffee pieces and then sprinkle the sea salt over all.
Cool completely, cut into 24 bars.
Note: I frequently don't have Toffe bits here in Singapore. These are lovely without the Toffee, or you can chop up Almond Roca in its place. Or if you are enterprising you can make your own Toffee.

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