Crazy for Crust

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Nov 11

Caramel Crunch Blondies {and a care package}

These Caramel Crunch Blondies are a great way to use up Halloween Candy…and they stay soft and chewy for days!

Caramel Crunch Blondies | crazyforcrust.com

Happy Veterans Day! I want to thank all of you who have served our country, who are currently serving, and the families too. You all sacrifice so much for our safety. An especially big hug goes out to my dad and my father-in-law, both of whom are Vietnam veterans.

Desert Storm happened when I was in middle school. I don’t remember much about it (what 12 year old pays attention to the news?) but what I do remember is having a pen pal. Sergeant Gonzolez and I wrote back and forth for several months, until I assume he was sent home.

If we’re being totally honest, I *think* I may have been a wee bit smitten with my solider. I had grand visions of him returning home and finding me. There *may* have been wedding plans involved. But, I was 12 and he was an adult, probably married with kids, and shortly after our correspondence ended I realized Joey McIntyre was my true love, so I stopped thinking about Sgt. Gonzolez in that way.

One of the things I remember vividly about our pen pal letters was that he sent me some Iraqi sand. He emptied out a mini tabasco bottle and filled it with sand and mailed it to me. It’s still at my mom’s house in her china cabinet, and it’s a wonderful memory of a pen pal program that was so important to the soldiers of that time.

So when my friend Betsy, from Java Cupcake, started a care package program for her husband who recently deployed, I jumped at the chance to join in. It’s my small (minuscule, really) chance to give back to those that give so much for us.

Bloggers-Around-the-World-Supporting-the-Troops-Graphic

 I knew I was going to bake for our care package (duh, this is me we’re talking about!) so I had to do some research and thinking about what to send. Sometimes packages can take weeks to be delivered so you have to send something that will last. Also, it gets pretty hot there and with all the transportation, nothing should be sent that can get too melty. After thinking about it for awhile, I knew I wanted to make these Caramel Crunch Blondies for our care package. I know the soldiers are going to love them!

Caramel Crunch Blondies | crazyforcrust.com

These blondies are perfect for long-distance travel. When wrapped with plastic wrap and sealed in a ziploc container, they last a really long time. What’s the secret to super soft blondies? Brown sugar. Lots and lots and lots of it!

These blondies are the same base that I used to make these Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, Toffee Blondies, and Nutter Butter Butterscotch Blondies. You really cannot go wrong with these – no matter how you cook them and what you add, they turn out fabulous every time. Plus, they come together in just one bowl and you can be eating blondies in under an hour…unless you’re deployed. Then you have to wait for the mail.

When I asked Facebook what else I should include in a care package, one of the overwhelming responses was to send a letter. I immediately thought of my pen pal days and decided to ask Jordan’s teacher to help out. Each child in her class made a Thanksgiving card to send in the care package, to go along with our theme of “We are thankful for you” in honor of Thanksgiving this month.

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I had Jordan decorate the inside of the box. We used construction paper and decorated each flap with our theme.

care package collage

Betsy’s husband had mentioned that their “fresh” food supply wasn’t good. So I decided to send a bunch of canned goods, including Spam, and some canned bean salad, fruit, tuna, and other vegetables. Did you know that you can use the large priority mail box at the USPS and fill it as heavy as you want, and it’s less than $13 to send the care package? I stuffed that thing so full I could barely lift it!

We added some gum and Red Vines to fill in the holes, and Jolly Ranchers for padding across the top. No bubble wrap was needed for that package, no sir!

It really felt good to put something like this together. And when I realized how cheap it was, I realized I want to do it again. It’s so easy to make someone’s day…even on the other side of the world. If you’re interested in sending a care package, check out Java Cupcake for all the details. She has all the fun information on the care packages that have been sent to her husband, and if you are interested in sending something she has a form you can fill out so she can connect you with a platoon in need.

care package03

So many men and women will be without their families this Thanksgiving, so it felt good to do just a little something to make it better.

I often wonder what Sergent Gonzalez is doing today. If I could meet him, I’d make him some blondies. :)

Caramel Crunch Blondies | crazyforcrust.com

Thanks for reading!

Caramel Crunch Blondies {and a care package}

Yield: 24 blondies

Caramel Crunch Blondies {and a care package}

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups chopped Crunch Bars (about 18 minis), divided
  • 15 caramel squares (such as Kraft), unwrapped and quartered

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cream brown sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add baking powder, salt, and flour and mix.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of the chopped Crunch Bars and all of the quartered caramel squares.
  4. Press into prepared pan (dough is sticky, spray your hands with cooking spray to avoid it sticking to your hands). Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chopped Crunch bars over the top and press lightly to make them stick to the surface.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook - the center will still be jiggly when you take these out of the oven and they will finish cooking and firming up as they cool.) Cool completely before slicing into squares.
http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2013/11/caramel-crunch-blondies/

Lemon Blondies

lemon coconut blondies14-4words

Nutter Butter Butterscotch Blondies

nutter butter butterscotch blondies 5 words

Sweets from friends:
Cake Batter Blondies by Kristin’s kNook
Fluffernutter Blondies by Something Swanky
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies by Java Cupcake

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45 Responses to “Caramel Crunch Blondies {and a care package}”

  1. Mary Brown posted on November 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm (#)

    Dorothy please tell your Dad and father in law thank you from this military spouse. Thank you for all the wonderful posts you supply and for sending packages to our brave military.

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 11th, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you so much Mary! I will!

      Reply

  2. Samantha @ Five Heart Home posted on November 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm (#)

    What an awesome care package you put together, Dorothy! I’m sure it will be much appreciated. Your post was a good reminder that I need to be sending care packages to the soldiers overseas regularly, not just to my brother when he’s deployed. P.S. Joey was my favorite, too! ;)

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 11th, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      I never knew how easy it was – I’m totally doing it again! Thanks Samantha!

      Reply

  3. Lisa @ Wine & Glue posted on November 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm (#)

    Annnnnd, now I’m crying. You are such a good human, Dorothy, raising another good human. Thank goodness the world has Dorothys in it! Also, seriously, you are making the world a happier fuller place one amazing blondie at a time.

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 11th, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      I hardly ever feel that way, so this made me feel good. :) Thanks Lisa! xx

      Reply

  4. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent posted on November 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm (#)

    These blondes look fabulous :) Crunch bars are my absolute fav. I get them and sometimes forget to tell my husband I have them. I may share them with your Sergent Gonzalez if you let me :) We have a local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers, Inc that sends out care packages once a quarter. That is another great way to connect if you want to give.

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 11th, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      That’s a great idea Laura!! Thanks!

      Reply

  5. Ala posted on November 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm (#)

    I’m all for a recipe that travels well, since I do so much mailing myself–thanks for sharing and taking the time out to celebrate today :)

    Reply

  6. Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life posted on November 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm (#)

    I didn’t realize how cheap it was to send a care package and make someone’s day. What an awesome project! All those letters from Jordan’s class are the best. Wow, how sweet is this. Wouldn’t it be incredible if Sergent Gonzolez could read this? :) These blondies would taste incredible, but even more so to those across seas. Crunch bars are an excellent choice! Pinning!

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 11th, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      I know it’s crazy cheap and easy! I’m totally doing it again!

      Reply

  7. Tieghan posted on November 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm (#)

    Ok, you are awesome and so is your care package and blondies! And wow, the letters too? Just so nice and caring, Dorothy! Pinned!

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 11th, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks for the pin Tieghan!!

      Reply

  8. alex posted on November 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm (#)

    Joey is all mine! :)
    who wouldn’t love receiving such a nice care package?! love seeing the kid getting involved! I have some Nestle crunch that I’ve been waiting to bake with..thanks for the suggestion!

    Reply

  9. Mom posted on November 12, 2013 at 7:27 am (#)

    Wow, I’m proud of you, Dorothy. This is a very nice thing to do. The letters from Jordan’s class were a great addition to the pkg.
    Love you, Mom

    Reply

  10. tanya posted on November 12, 2013 at 9:34 am (#)

    I love what you and Jordan are doing! Sometimes I think care packages and letters are a dying art. It’s so easy to forget about those overseas so I applaud you! These blondies are timely for me, I was just thinking about how I have lots of candy to get rid of@

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 13th, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      It totally is! With email, there’s no need to actually write.

      Reply

  11. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) posted on November 12, 2013 at 9:58 am (#)

    1. That pen pal story is adorable and totally something I would’ve done (falling in love with a stranger via letters at the age of 12)

    2. SO SWEET that you guys did this!

    3. Love that pic of Jordan :D

    4. THESE BLONDIES LOOK SO EASY AND DELICIOUS! mmmmmmmm

    Reply

  12. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry posted on November 12, 2013 at 11:45 am (#)

    You have inspired me to create a care package as well. I’m even going to include these blondies because everybody needs a little sweetness in their lives.

    Reply

  13. Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen posted on November 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm (#)

    This is so sweet, the care package and the bars! Love the crunch and caramel, I bet the soldiers will flip over these!!

    Reply

  14. Ally @ The Cheery Baker posted on November 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm (#)

    I love blondies! And these look so delicious! I love the combo of crunch bars and caramel… makes my mouth water just thinking about it! The care package is such a good idea.. what a great thing to do around the holidays… thanks so much for sharing! :)

    Reply

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  16. Lauren at Keep It Sweet posted on November 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm (#)

    I love this! That was such a wonderful package you put together and the artwork from the kids is definitely the best part. I’ll definitely be looking into sending something myself!

    Reply

  17. Jackie posted on November 13, 2013 at 8:31 am (#)

    Thats awesome you got Jordans class to participate, what a great idea. When we send care packages to my nephew (Afghanistan) it is truly the best way to feel connected. And they LOVE getting them. Great cause friend!

    Reply

  18. Amy posted on November 14, 2013 at 10:24 pm (#)

    Dorothy, you are incredible. Absolutely incredible. Those soldiers are going to be overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity, and they’ll be in complete heaven when they try your caramel crunch blondies. You are such a sweet soul!

    Reply

  19. Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector) posted on November 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm (#)

    How awesome is that and what a wonderful teaching opportunity with your daughter! New follower. Found you from pinterest!

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 15th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      Welcome! And thanks for following!

      Reply

  20. Stephanie @ Back For Seconds posted on November 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm (#)

    Not only do these blondies look incredible, but this is such a sweet, thoughtful thing to do for our troops! You have such a kind heart and are a good example to all of us! I love that the kids got involved too – such a good lesson for them :)
    Pinned!

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 15th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      I was glad her teacher was good with doing it! :) Thanks Stephanie!

      Reply

  21. Cate posted on November 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm (#)

    what a lovely idea! we used to send care packages to my brother in law when he was on tour, but to do it for people you don’t know is just so beautiful! xxx

    p.s. also, yummy sounding recipe!

    Reply

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  23. Haley posted on July 27, 2014 at 8:32 am (#)

    Love everything about your blog! I was just wondering how roughly did you chop the Crunch bars? Thank you!!

    Reply

  24. Haley posted on July 27, 2014 at 8:35 am (#)

    Hi! I love everything about your blog! I am so excited to try out this recipe today! I was just wondering how roughly you chopped the Crunch bars. Thank you! :) hope you have an amazing day!!

    Reply

    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 27th, 2014 at 10:10 am

      I think I cut each section in about 1/2 or thirds. Bite sized is good! :) Enjoy and thanks for visiting!

      Reply

      • Haley replied on July 27th, 2014 at 11:10 am

        Thank you so much! I’m just about to start the recipe now!

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