The anticipation has been steadily building over the past two weeks and this weekend it’s finally here……the Mother of all Sundays, especially if you’re a fan of football or commercials. That’s right folks, you know what I’m talking about – it’s Super Bowl Sunday! Part of me feels like I should be unbiased when writing a post about the Super Bowl. That I should go the politician route and say something like, “Well, it will be a great match-up. Both of these teams had a good season and I’m excited to see the Broncos top ranked offense go up against the Seahawks top ranked defense.” But, here’s the thing, I can’t say that and it’s not because I have anything against the Seahawks – it’s because I am a huge Broncos fan. I’m talking crazy, semi-obnoxious, “sorry I can’t hang out with you on Sunday – the Broncos are playing,” wish I could rename my dog Peyton Knowshon Von Miller…….fan.
The Broncos are a big deal in our house. J (my fiancé) and I are die-hard fans. Every Sunday we put on all our Broncos gear, open up some fine Colorado craft beer, turn on the game, and yell at the TV (either in glee or utter frustration depending on how they’re playing). And we always watch the game alone at home…..mostly because we don’t want to subject our friends and loved ones to the insane human beings we become during game time. Trust me, it only takes one “Shhhhhhhhh….I can’t hear Peyton yell Omaha” to ruin a friendship.
Now even if you aren’t a Broncos fan, you can’t not be a Peyton Manning fan. I mean it’s the comeback story of the decade and it’s happening to one of the most humble and likable players in the league. And let’s be real here, hating Peyton Manning is like hating puppies. Or, to be more specific, hating a puppy that also happens to be a stellar quarterback and takes your team to the Super Bowl. If you’re still not convinced that Peyton Manning is the greatest person ever, then maybe this SNL skit with him will convince you: Peyton Manning United Way Skit
Okay, now that we’re all on the same Peyton Manning loving page, let’s move on to why you’re really here…..food. It’s a time honored tradition for football fans to gather around the TV and stuff their faces with unabashedly greasy, delicious food and to wash that food down with a crisp, cold beer. It’s a good time. When it comes to Super Bowl food, I have two rules – it has to be easy to prepare before the game starts and it has to be easy to eat in front of the TV (preferably without the use of utensils). To me, perfect Super Bowl foods are things you can snack on like guacamole and chips, spinach and artichoke dip, spicy hot wings, or hummus and veggies if you want a healthier option.
As far as Super Bowl desserts go, the same rules apply. You want something that isn’t too messy and is easy to eat with your hands. This year I wanted to make a dessert that incorporated some traditional Super Bowl foods and had a salty-sweet quality. I also wanted something peanut butter…..no idea why. And that’s when I realized peanut butter pairs perfectly with two typical footballs snacks, pretzels and salted peanuts! So I decided to make a Peanut Butter Blondie, add in some salted pretzels and peanuts, and then top it with a decadent chocolate ganache. It’s the ultimate Super Bowl dessert. It has everything you could want – the salty-sweet peanut butter, the rich chocolate ganache, the crunchy pretzels, and you can totally eat it while watching the game. As an added bonus, it looks a bit fancy, but is actually super quick and easy to make well before the game starts (but you don’t have to tell your guests that!). I hope everyone has an awesome Super Bowl Sunday……and Go Broncos!!
Peanut Butter Pretzel Blondies
Makes 12 large blondies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup creamy peanut butter (my favorite brand for baking is Skippy)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup broken up mini-pretzel twists (preferably salted ones)
1 cup roughly chopped salted peanuts
For Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped
⅔ cup heavy cream
Maldon salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottoms and sides of a 13 x 9 pan with foil and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set bowl aside.
Place the melted butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until well combined. Then add in the peanut butter and continue mixing on medium speed until the peanut butter is fully incorporated.
Add the eggs in one at a time. Then stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl, and add in the vanilla. Beat the mixture on medium speed for another 30 seconds or until it looks light and fluffy.
Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the flour is partially incorporated. Then add in the pretzels and peanuts and mix until only until just combined.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake for 22 to 26 minutes or until the blondies are a light golden brown and the edges have browned a bit (you don’t want to over bake these, so if anything it’s better to take them out a little early than a little late). Place pan on wire rack and set aside to cool.
Once the blondies have cooled, it’s time to make the ganache. Place the chocolates in a heat proof bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it just begins to simmer (do not let the cream come to a boil). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Then whisk the cream and chocolate until silky smooth and delicious looking.
Pour the chocolate ganache over the blondies and spread in an even layer. If you like, you can sprinkle a bit of Maldon salt over the ganache. It’s a nice touch and really enhances the salty-sweet flavor of the blondies. Let ganache set for at least one hour. Then cut blondies into desired size and enjoy!