Paul Rudd's Candy Shop Has Been Serving These Blondies for Over a Decade — Get the Recipe (Exclusive)

Samuel’s Sweet Shop in Rhinebeck, N.Y. — co-owned by Paul Rudd, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton — serves a variety of old-school candies and artisanal baked goods

Paul Rudd, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton didn’t start out in the candy business, but tragedy and love for their community brought the friends together for a sweet gig.

In 1994, Ira Gutner left his job in N.Y.C. to open a candy store inspired by the penny candy shops of his childhood. Gutner moved upstate to Rhinebeck, N.Y. and opened Samuel’s Sweet Shop – a store that feels like a blast from the past in the 400 square feet it occupies.

Weeks before the shop’s 20th anniversary in 2014, Gutner unexpectedly passed, shocking the town. That's when Rudd, his wife Julie, Burton, Morgan, producer Andy Ostroy and actor Adrienne Shelly came together to purchase the old-timey candy shop.

Related: Paul Rudd (Who Owns a Candy Shop!) Says These Candies Are Underrated

“These families all had young kids – they all had houses in the area. They learned of Ira's passing, and saw the outpouring of support and also the grieving in the community, and they got together and decided that they wanted to help,” John Traver, the managing partner of Samuel’s Sweet Shop, tells PEOPLE.

<p>Courtesy Samuel's Sweet Shop</p> Samuel's Sweet Shop's exterior and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton at the store.

Courtesy Samuel's Sweet Shop

Samuel's Sweet Shop's exterior and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton at the store.

In an April 2020 interview, Burton, who hosts a teddy bear beauty contest at the shop each Sinterklaas, or Dutch Christmas, told PEOPLE that owning the store is “a nice way to stay connected with your town.” The One Tree Hill alum added that the community is “so wonderful."

“I wish you could see everyone here rise to the occasion and take care of our businesses,” she told PEOPLE.

Related: Dairy Queen's Blizzards Are 85 Cents for 2 Weeks to Celebrate the New Fall Menu

The store carries everything from old-school candies, like Pop Rocks and astronaut ice cream (and some of Rudd’s favorite sweets) to baked treats made by dozens of local artisans — including these peanut-butter-packed blondies that have been on their menu for more than a decade.

<p>Jennifer Causey</p> Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Jennifer Causey

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

2 cups (about 8½ oz.) all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. kosher salt

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1½ cups peanut butter chips

12 peanut butter cups (regular size), frozen

1. Preheat oven to 350°, and line bottom and sides of a 13x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

2. In another large bowl, beat together brown sugar, granulated sugar, peanut butter and melted butter with an electric mixer on medium speed, until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl, and beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to medium low; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in peanut butter chips.

3. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Gently press the frozen peanut butter cups evenly spaced into the dough in 3x4 rows (so that when cut into squares, there will be a peanut butter cup in the center of each blondie).

4. Bake for 20 minutes; rotate pan from front to back, and continue baking until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let cool in pan or on a wire rack.

5. Cut into 12 squares. Serve or store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Serves: 12
Active time
: 20 minutes
Total time
: 1 hour, 30 minutes

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