Blondies are one of those things I’d never really been interested in. They are, in essence, a brownie with vanilla batter instead of chocolate, and the idea of a vanilla brownie was an insipid one – why leave out chocolate, the best part of any dessert? Lately, I’ve been on a brownie kick, learning more about how to make the perfect fudgy brownie (using more eggs makes for a less fudgy brownie, which is hugely important to know in the context of brownie making). The more I experimented with brownies (there is now a post about my dream fudgy brownie recipe!), the more I became intrigued by their vanilla counterparts.
I had planned to sit around this past weekend, not baking anything, but those jolly plans screeched to a halt when I came across this recipe for blondies. My newfound interest in them combined forces with my love of trying new recipes, and the simplicity of this particular recipe, with its use of what I consider to be pantry staples, sealed the deal. The top of the batter achieved the beautiful, shiny, crisp texture that your heart quivers to see on any brownie (or blondie, in this case!). The result is like a classic chocolate chip cookie – only much more dense, and rich, and cookie-esque. This is more than a blonde brownie; this a transcendental cookie, and it demands to be made. I’ll admit, I was a hard-core brownie aficionado, but consider me a blondie convert! I think these would be absolutely killer with browned butter instead of the melted butter called for in the recipe.
I have deemed this recipe “Kitchen Sink Blondies” because, though the recipe originally calls for 1 cup of mix-ins, I recklessly threw in nearly three cups and the blondies turned out really well – probably richer than they are meant to be, but just perfect for me.
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Kitchen Sink Blondies
Makes 12 – 16 blondies
1 stick salted OR unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light OR dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup bleached OR unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
Mix-ins of your choice – I used: 1 cup Nestle milk chocolate chips, 1 cup Nestle semisweet chocolate chunks, and about 3/4 cup Heath bar toffee and chocolate chunks (I blame the full moon)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8” baking pan with foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. (The aluminum foil is not an absolute must, but it certainly helps with removing the blondies from the pan after baking, and it makes cleaning up afterwards quite nice.)
Melt the butter and allow to cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a large bowl, mix* the brown sugar with the melted butter until thoroughly combined and smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix or stir until just combined. Stir in your choice of mix-ins. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread to level the top.**
Bake for 22-25 minutes or until set in the middle. Cool completely on a wire rack. When the blondies are cool, remove them, still wrapped in aluminum foil, from the baking pan and cut into squares.
*The original recipe calls for an electric mixer, but I was in a wild ‘n’ woolly mood and used a metal whisk instead, switching to a wooden spoon when the batter became too thick for the whisk.
** When I transferred the batter to the baking dish, it was stiff, and I worried that it would retain its uneven shape in the pan; but as it baked, it spread out a bit, filling in the gaps left between the batter and the sides of the pan.
Source: Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats