Toffee Blondie Bites and Sending the Love

Saturday, August 11, 2012

blondie-bites-1

When I was a freshman in college, the arrival of a plain, brown paper package at the campus post office could only mean one thing for the recipient – food from home. For me, it specifically meant baked goods and other treats that I didn’t have access to living in a cramped dorm room in a small, out-of-the-way college town. Mind you, those were the days before there was a Starbucks strategically planted in every campus quad and on every other street corner. Back then, we relied on care packages from home for our cookies, brownies and rice krispie treats. I’ll admit that by the time they made it through several days in transit, they weren’t always the freshest. But, I didn’t care. To me, they were a connection to my family. They were comfort. They were love.

In a few days, Mr. SGCC and I will be heading out to take Mini SGCC off to college. It hardly seems possible! It feels like only yesterday I was clasping my daughter’s tiny hand as I dropped her off for her first day of kindergarten. I cried. She didn’t.  And, I’m sure I will again when the time comes for us to say goodbye. I can already feel the tug on my heart as I write this. But, it’s time for her to go and start making her own mark in the world.  I’m both excited and scared at the same time. 

Rachel-age5

Mini SGCC’s college recently opened a brand new Starbucks on campus, just a stone’s throw from her dorm. That makes me happy because I know how much she enjoys going there. Though I know she’ll be washing down plenty of lattes with Starbucks muffins and scones, I still intend to carry on the care package tradition.  It’s not so much about the treats as it is about keeping that connection going. I want her to know that this is still her home even though she’s not here, and that I love and support her.  She is my heart and my life.   And, I’m also  hoping that she’ll get that same little thrill that I did when she finds a box with her name on it at the post office – especially if she’s feeling a little homesick.

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One of the things I’ll include in my first shipment is a batch of these Toffee Blondie Bites. Blondies are basically brownies, without the chocolate. They’re made with dark brown sugar, butter and vanilla, and have a slightly chewy texture and caramel-like flavor.  Honestly, they are wonderful!  I’ve added toffee chips to these, because really, toffee is nothing more than crunchy caramel.  And, I’m a firm believer that one can never have too much caramel. – particularly in a blondie.  But you can add lots of other things too, like chopped nuts, chocolate chips or dried fruit.  Or, you could add nothing at all.

When I make blondies, or brownies for that matter, to send or give as gifts, I prefer to bake them in mini muffin tins. They stay fresher longer, and they’re easier to serve and eat.  They make a perfect two-bite snack.   And, these blondies are so darn easy to make.  You just mix all the ingredients together and bake.  They’re practically foolproof!

So if you have a student going off to college, bake these blondie bites and send them some love.  Just make sure to keep some for yourself.  If you’re like me, you’ll need a little something to comfort you while you’re crying your eyes out.

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29 responses to Toffee Blondie Bites and Sending the Love

  1. On August 11, 2012 at 7:24pm, Rosa said...

    Lovely bites! So addictive.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. On August 11, 2012 at 9:45pm, Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

    Love these! They sound awesome. I adore blondies!

  3. On August 12, 2012 at 8:22pm, Phyllis Kirigin said...

    Tears are running down my face, too. Mini SGCC is a lucky girl.

  4. On August 12, 2012 at 9:51pm, Vicki Bensinger said...

    I totally know what you’re going through. Both my kids are now out of college but when my first was a senior in high school I cried daily while putting on my makeup each morning. It was as though I wS looking through the looking glass. The day after my son was accepted to Syracuse where he wanted to go I had my physical. The doctor asked me how I was doing and I couldn’t stop crying – my blood pressure shot up. I was a mess. I was afraid I’d never see him again, especially since we live in the Midwest.

    Here’s the thing, set up Skype now if you don’t have it. It’s like having your kids right in the house with you. There’s text messages, email and cell phones too. You will have no lack of communication at all. Parents weekend comes quick and the holidays. Trust me on this, my friends thought I was a lunatic for crying the entire senior year. But when my first left I did fine and my friends lost it with their kids gone.

    It will be fine. I survived but communicated with them daily and still do. Don’t forget to buy her a Starbucks gift card. She’ll lOve you even more for it. Best of luck.

    • On August 13, 2012 at 11:04am, Susan said...

      Thanks, Vicky. I’ve know what you mean about the crying thing. I’ve been weepy all summer long! Luckily, Mini SGCC will only be about a 3 hour car ride away, so she’ll be able to come home whenever she wants. But, it will definitely be an adjustment for us all! :)

  5. On August 13, 2012 at 12:22am, Shirley @ gfe said...

    A lovely post, Susan. Brilliant to use muffin tins. I will have to make this recipe gluten free. :-)

    As you know, I can so empathize with you right now. It will be okay over time, but those first few days can be tough for sure. The house just seems so very quiet and it’s a different kind of quiet than when they’re out visiting friends and you know they will be back. But Vicki is right, it can be much easier with the frequent communication of today. Son called this evening and has been checking in quickly via email or text and it really helps. I still can’t believe that he’s off living on his own in NYC, but I’m excited for him and it’s been one of our most important goals to raise a successful and happy young man so as hubby says we’ve done that! :-) And as I said before, remember to seize upon that newfound couple time with Mr. SGCC. ;-)

    Lots of hugs to you, Susan!
    Shirley

    • On August 13, 2012 at 11:11am, Susan said...

      Thank you, Shirley! Glad to hear that your son is settling in and loving his new digs. This will definitely be a big adjustment for us all, but hopefully we’ll get through it. And honestly, I am looking forward to a little more freedom. Ever since Mini’s accident last year, it’s all been about getting her well and strong enough to even go to college. I look forward to having more time to devote to SGCC and other creative pursuits! :D

  6. On August 13, 2012 at 1:07am, cj said...

    These look so yummy!

  7. On August 13, 2012 at 6:46am, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    Partial as I am to chocolate, I do love a good blonde. You have a very lucky daughter.

    I never got homemade care packages at college. Treats would have to go the other way! Blythe time I left for college, I was the family’s designated dessert baker. I was known to use the dorm kitchen to bake treats for my friends. We had a decent bakery on campus and on certain occasions your parents could arrange for them to make up a gift basket for you and bake you a cake on your birthday (or other designated time if you didn’t celebrate a birthdAy during the school year). What was sad was that the stuff in the holiday baskets was all packaged stuff and not actually baked in the bakery.

  8. On August 13, 2012 at 9:59am, Megan said...

    I’m pretty jealous of that new Starbucks you’re referring to–it definitely was not there during my years at said university. But I hope that, coupled with everything else that this school has to offer, means that mini-SGCC has an amazing four years there.

    Also, I’m totally making these blondies tonight. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    Megan

    • On August 13, 2012 at 11:14am, Susan said...

      Megan, I was stunned at how much the campus has changed! It’s almost like a resort! Rachel was lucky to be placed in Chaudoin which is right across the courtyard from the Starbucks, Commons, etc. I just hope she loves it there as much as we did! :)

  9. On August 13, 2012 at 1:15pm, Corinne said...

    It’s OK to let the tears flow…! I sent 7 kiddos off to college, and it was a tearful separation every single time! You will feel better very soon, however, and you will marvel at the many changes that “become” your lovely daughter…having said that, I also have to say that negotiating these inevitable changes in life is the hardest thing that I have ever done, and remembering to do it with grace is a challenge at times…smile! Your recipe looks delightful and delicious, and I am on my way to the grocery store to pick up the needed supplies to make a batch this afternoon…!! Thank you so much for your great blog and GREAT recipes…I enjoy them both…!

    • On August 20, 2012 at 10:00am, Susan said...

      Seven! Wow! You deserve a medal (and a big batch of blondie bites)! Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration! :)

  10. On August 13, 2012 at 10:20pm, Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

    The recipe looks wonderful, but it is the memory that it creates that is the most meaningful. Sending my twins to college was so difficult but since they just graduated this year-well that is even tougher. It is great to see them grow but oh, well, the time just wasn’t long enough. Stay busy and visit often enough that they get mad at you because you have become a pest. Then you are glad they are living somewhere else for awhile!

    • On August 20, 2012 at 10:02am, Susan said...

      Ha ha! We just moved her in and she already thinks I’m a pest! :D

  11. On August 14, 2012 at 9:40pm, Jakki said...

    I just graduated from college a few years back. My mom and my grandma would send me cookies every so often. Even though there were plenty of places on and around campus to buy those sorts of things I always loved getting things from home. Plus, all my friends were always super jealous.

    I was planning on putting together a care package for my mom this week. Just to show her I’m thinking of her. It never even occurred to me to send her something I baked! I might just have to try this out and send them to her. Especially since I’m pretty sure I already have all the ingredients.

    Thanks for the great idea!

    • On August 20, 2012 at 10:16am, Susan said...

      I always felt the same way about getting a care package from home. Your mom is lucky to have such a thoughtful daughter! :)

  12. On August 18, 2012 at 3:58pm, Staci (Crafty Staci) said...

    I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who’s spent the summer crying! We’re moving my oldest to her college next month and I’m a wreck. This recipe is just the kind of thing she loves, and not only does her college not have a Starbucks, but there isn’t even one in town! Thanks for sharing!

    • On August 20, 2012 at 10:20am, Susan said...

      We just got back home late last night. Driving off without her was the hardest thing I’ve ever done! Good luck with your move next month. I hope all goes well! :)

  13. On August 18, 2012 at 10:36pm, Paper plate machines chennai said...

    Thanks for sharing this. I really liked the seo form

  14. On August 22, 2012 at 12:00pm, k.gwise said...

    I have no idea what happened – I read the recipe over and over again – the toffee blondie bites were
    very tasty BUT I couldn”t get them to release from the pan – yes it was sprayed – ?????? I had to dig them
    out

    • On August 23, 2012 at 11:07am, Susan said...

      I’m so sorry that you had trouble with these! Sometimes the blondies do stick a bit, though I’ve never had to dig them out. I find that running a small, sharp knife around the inside edges of the cups helps. I then turn the tin upside down and tap firmly a few times. This usually will do the trick. If needed, you can also take a small metal spatula and gently pry any stubborn ones out. They should then slide out easily. I’ve never had one fall apart. :)

  15. On August 23, 2012 at 9:46am, Suze said...

    k.gwise, mine also got stuck in my “nonstick” pan. Mine also got extremely dark, even though my pans are not dark (nor shiny; they’re aluminum & matte) and I baked them for the minimum amount of time (my oven temp is also vetted).

    I’m wondering if it was a mistake to use DARK brown sugar, instead of regular brown sugar?

    • On August 23, 2012 at 11:18am, Susan said...

      It sounds like your blondie bites may have been a little overdone. As every oven is different, it’s possible that your oven runs hotter than mine. For that reason, I always check my baked goods for doneness a few minutes before the recipe says.

      As far as the sticking goes, please see my comment above for how I handle that issue. The recipe definitely calls for dark brown sugar, but you could certainly try it with light.

      I’m sorry that you had trouble with these. Hope this helps. :)

  16. On August 23, 2012 at 9:48am, Suze said...

    Oh, and I did indeed butter my nonstick pans, so the combo should have released nicely, but didn’t. :^(

  17. On August 29, 2012 at 6:27pm, christine said...

    what are toffee bits ? I have looked in the grocery store but can not find them -could they be called something else .My grandson just went to college in upstate New York from home here in Washington state and we do s miss him

  18. On December 26, 2012 at 11:05pm, Pam said...

    I have made them about 4 times. They are the BIGGEST hit EVER! I only have one little problem. They “fall” in the center. Every batch, baked at different times, does this. I have no idea what I am doing wrong. They are still absolutely delicious, but it really bugs me that they cave in. Any suggestions? My gas oven is calibrated correctly, and is only about 6 months old. Any help is appreciated.
    Thanks, Pam

    • On December 28, 2012 at 3:38pm, Wendy said...

      Pam, there are many things that can cause the centers to fall (been there done that!). Sometimes either over mixing or under mixing can be to blame. Weather certainly makes a difference. Openning the oven while baking, too much or too old baking powder, and altitude can also cause troubles. If none of those help and as long as they taste good, I would just say thats how you planned for them to look :)

  19. On December 28, 2012 at 3:34pm, Wendy said...

    These look yummy, Susan! I will definately give them a try in a January care package :) Baking the blondies or brownies individually creates that delicious crusty exterior which is so helpful in keeping them fresh and making them sturdy for mailing. Thanks for the recipe!

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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