My friend Mary Anne served these unassuming little bars to me last time I was at her house. I sat up: "I need this recipe - what are these called?" She shrugged, and said her mom gave it to her over the phone. I pushed her to name them, so I could more fully describe how delicious they were, and she wrote "Company Brownies" at the top of the page she wrote down the brief recipe.
I have renamed them. They are not blondies, because there's peanut butter instead of butter. I was actually surprised by that, because they don't scream peanut butter. They are not brownies - no chocolate. No, due to the butterscotch chips and the peanut butter, they are tannies, I say. My children made the short leap to "Mary Anne's panties," I'm sorry to say (and sorrier to report that I laughed, too; sorry, Mary Anne).
I also need to explain something: these are not health food and I'm totally fine with that. I make random exceptions to my food preferences for local whole foods, and I think it's important for a literal thinker like myself to loosen up sometimes. I could not, you will see below, resist using whole wheat flour so I could justify eating more (they've got fiber!!).
Also, this is the first recipe where butterscotch chips totally make sense to me with the buttery, toasty, vanilla flavors. In the future, I might try chocolate chips or toasted pecans. I also bought commercial peanut butter because I thought its silky texture was needed here. I might try homemade peanut butter in the future. This recipe is a keeper, so I'll be playing around with it for a while.
My kids and I had a wonderful time throwing together these tannies one night after supper; the oven heat was cozy, the baby was happy. Genevieve heard Simon & Garfunkel sing "Silent Night/The 7 O'Clock News" for the first time and understood the irony and pathos of the mash-up. Mr. Thrift surfaced from his after-dinner nap just in time to ask for a hot tannie.
Mary Anne's Tannies
In a mixing bowl, cream by hand with a wooden spoon:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
scant 1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
Add and stir in just until mixed:
2/3 cup flour (I used whole wheat all-purpose flour, which is half soft and half hard wheat)
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup butterscotch chips (or toasted, cooled nuts or chocolate chips)
Press evenly in greased 8x8 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes, until center does not jiggle and your finger, pressed gently, does not leave an indent (this is tricky because if you wait for the bars to actually spring back against your finger, they will not have their perfect brownie fudgy texture). Allow to cool before slicing unless you don't mind raggedy edges like these in the photos.