Salty, Sweet and … Hot!
Hatch Chile, Butterscotch & Pecan Blondies with Fleur de Sel
Welcome to Hatch Chile Season, or as Tom calls it, “The most wonderful time of the year!” We go crazy this time of the year grilling Hatch Chiles and finding new ways to use them. Tom published a magazine for the produce industry for years and years and one of his favorite clients was Melissa’s Produce. I credit Melissa’s for getting Tom to eat produce outside his comfort zone. Now that Tom is retired, Melissa’s continues to include us in events and new products including sending us a big ole box of Hatch Chiles. Thanks, Melissa’s! Knowing the box of chiles was to arrive soon, I had been racking my brains for some ideas. Recently I came across a recipe for Butterscotch Brownies that reminded me of how much I love butterscotch. Butterscotch is my absolute favorite sweet flavor … Oatmeal Scotchies! Yum! Butterscotch Haystacks! Yes! Wait … butterscotch and Hatch chiles? Oh, yeah! Salty, sweet, and subtle heat all in one bite.
I had the man-servant buy a couple of bags of butterscotch chips (Guittard and Nestle) so we could do a taste test – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
I grew up on Nestle butterscotch flavored morsels, but once I tasted the Guittard Butterscotch baking chips, I became a convert. Of course, they were not available at our local market, so we ordered them from Amazon.
Either one will work, but the Guittard chips won hands-down in a taste-test by my friends at work. My friend Donna remarked that it was like lard versus butter, the Guittard chips being the butter … richer and creamier with better taste.
Tip: To make it easier to get the bars out of the pan, line the pan with parchment paper leaving a little hanging over for handles. Let cool for a half hour in the pan and then lift out and cool completely on a wire rack. The paper will peel off easily for cutting. If you use foil, be sure to also spray it with non-stick spray for easier removal.
Oh my, the Hatch chiles really take these to the next level. I used three extra hot chiles in this recipe. Hatches come in different heat levels, but the sweetness of the brown sugar and butter offsets the heat of the chiles, so you make the call.
If you have not grilled chiles before, here is a link to Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook on how to grill them and also for more Hatch chile recipe ideas.
These are great and don’t even need ice cream, although I am not opposed to some ice cream …. Hmmm, oh, man-servant!
1 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1 t. Kosher or fine salt (Baleine is good)
1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter, melted
1 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg at room temperature, beaten
2 t. Bourbon vanilla extract
3 Hot or extra Hot Hatch Chiles, grilled, stems and seeds removed, chopped
1 1/2 c. butterscotch baking chips
1 c. pecans, roasted and chopped
Fleur de Sel (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper letting the paper extend over the sides 2 to 3 inches.
Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl. Whisk the vanilla and egg in a cup. Combine the sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Stir in the vanilla and egg. Fold the dry mixture into the sugar/butter mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the Hatch chiles, pecans and butterscotch chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan using the back of a spoon to press the batter to the edges. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center is set and the edges are slightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. If desired, sprinkle sparingly with Fleur de Sel while warm.
Using the overhanging parchment paper as handles, remove the blondies from the pan, remove the paper and let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.
Recipe adapted from “The Beach House Cookbook” by Mary Kay Andrews.
Quick shout out!! If you need some great summer beach books, read New York Times’ Best Selling Author Mary Kay Andrews’ books. Savannah Blues was her first book under the pseudonym Mary Kay Andrews and I have enjoyed them all. Although I have been reading her books for years, I didn’t even know she had a cookbook until I saw the recipe for Butterscotch Brownies. I will have to check it out!