So, it's that time of year again when the weather is getting cold and the urge to bake overcomes me. And this time, the new thing I'm obsessing over are ... blondies! My old college buddy, Cin, and I were reminiscing about the special cookout events our alma mater used to hold, and how blondies were always present at them. Both of us admitted that, before attending college there, we had never heard of the term before. For me personally, being the brownie aficionado that I am, I at first viewed them with suspicion. Blondies are supposed to be like brownies, you see, but minus the fudge! Did not sound appealing to me AT ALL. But then I ate one and, try as I might, over the years they grew on me.
As for Cin, she's against all things chocolate. Yeah, I can't explain it either. So blondies are right down her ally! And it got me to wondering: what the fudge are blondies even made of? I mean, what if not chocolate? Well, once I found out, it became my mission in life to make them!
And make them I did, I'm happy to say. It took me a couple of tries to perfect the recipe, but I think I got it just right. I've made a batch for the family get-together 2 weeks ago, and to rave reviews. I even made a batch for work, also to great fanfare and applause. Well, yes ... I exaggerate. But people liked 'em, I think!
And now I will share the recipe with you. Unless you already know how to make blondies, in which case: tell me in the comments section how yours differs. I'm always looking for ways to improve, even on a good thing. Luckily, blondies are not only super simple to make, but it's also a very accommodating recipe if you happen to fudge (there's that word again!) things up a little, or not get the ingredients perfectly right.
And so . . .
1 cup of brown sugar, packed.
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp of almond extract)
A pinch of baking soda
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup of butterscotch chips (optional)
1/2 cup of chopped nuts (also optional)
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then grease an 8 x 8 pan lightly with butter. Dust it off with a slight touch of flour. Set aside.
STEP 2: Melt 1 stick of butter on stove in a small saucepan. Once melted down, I usually let the butter bubble on medium-low heat for a few more minutes, stirring constantly, to give it a more roasted-buttery flavor.
STEP 3: Pour butter into medium mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and whisk until butter and sugar are well blended. I tend to use light brown sugar, but dark brown works just as well.
STEP 4: Lightly beat egg, then add to mixing bowl. Add vanilla (or almond) extract at this time, too. Whisk all together with butter and sugar mixture until smooth consistency is achieved (does not take long).
STEP 5: Add to egg and sugar mixture: the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix all together with a large spoon until mostly blended and almost a light, peanut-buttery brown in color. Consistency may be a bit stiff by this point.
STEP 6: Add pinch of salt and butterscotch chips (or chopped nuts), and mix a few strokes more until well blended.
STEP 7: Pour contents of mixing bowl into the center of prepared baking pan. Tilt the pan back and forth until it spreads evenly across. Or use a spoon if necessary.
STEP 8: Place pan in center of preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Afterwards, remove from oven and let cool for about 30 mins to 1 hour on a cooling rack or similar.
STEP 9: Cut up into squares and serve. One batch yields around 9 to 12 blondies.
Really, though, the butterscotch lends these blondies the most delightfully sweet and rich flavor that's just TO DIE for! They're my personal fave. However, if you can find them, a fun alternative to butterscotch chips or chopped nuts is Reeses peanut butter chips. I recently made another batch of blondies using these chips for the first time ever. I also used dark brown sugar instead of light this time around, so you should be able to see a noticeable difference in hue from the previous batch.
I think I might start to use the dark brown sugar more for this recipe. I'm really liking the coloring, in retrospect. What do you think?
And there you have it. It's almost--almost--as fun making blondies as it is eating them! Will you give this recipe a try? If so, be sure to let me know how they turn out.