CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT SWIRL BLONDIES

I have unrealistic swirling expectations. At least a few times every year, I dream up some recipe that involves something getting swirled into something else. Sadly, not everything is meant to be swirled. Or maybe I’m just not very good at making it happen.

In any case, I’m happy to tell you that these blondies are happily and wonderfully swirled with a pretty fantastic combination of cream cheese and chocolate-hazelnut spread. And they’re oh-so good.

When it comes time to swirl the topping, the best approach is to drop small dollops of the mixture over the top of the blondies. Then use a thin knife to swirl the topping into the blondie batter. I tend to start with a looping pattern just to get it mixed in a bit. Then you can use that same knife to draw lines across the topping to add to the pattern.

You may want to wipe off your knife periodically to keep things a bit neater. And don’t fret if the top looks a bit lumpy when you’re done. It will even out a bit in the oven while still leaving a bit of interesting terrain on top.

Underneath that swirl is a sweet, soft blondie that gets a little crunch from some chopped hazelnuts. Those nuts also serve to enhance the flavor of the chocolate-hazelnut swirl. If you want to bump up the chocolate aspect, try reducing the hazelnuts to 1/2 cup and mix in about 1/2 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate.

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