My Best Blondies are like old friends in my kitchen; they are flexible to different chips, chunks and nuts, and are there when I need them. Probably one of the most made recipes in my kitchen, I have been asked for this recipe countless times.
I don’t have anything savory to share with you for 2 reasons. One, as I said, my mom is here and cooking for us. But second, I have not been to the grocery store in over a month! This is not as bad as it sounds—I was out of town for the better part of 2 weeks and my husband has made lots of little trips since we got back (and I was sick). But it has really hampered my cooking, especially living where we do (since I usually make the occasional big trip “to the city” for more “exotic” goods). My meals have gotten progressively less creative until finally I am now just relying on my mom. I actually ran out of onions—twice. But that is about to change, as I am hitting the stores the next 2 days.
But baking is different. As long as you have a good supply of butter, flour, sugar, vanilla, chocolate and different chocolate chips—and citrus oils really help also—you can be almost endlessly creative in the kitchen with baked goods. That is why that is all you have seen on my blog for almost 3 weeks now. And that is why you’re getting another one now, my Best Blondies with the option of whatever “mix-ins” you want!
This post originally only shared only a milk chocolate and caramel variation, but I am updating it for two reasons: to improve the photography and because I have made these blondies so many times in the intervening years (I am writing this in November 2015) filled with any kind of chip, chunk or mix-in that I can imagine, that I can honestly say this is hands down my best blondies recipe. It is the recipe I turn to when I am in a rush and need something for the kids, for example. Or a potluck. Or just because we are craving something sweet. I advocate nuts, chocolate chips and chunks, M&Ms, and frankly anything that sounds good to you. The above picture is an original one–and one of the better ones! Otherwise the photos have been updated.
And now I return you to your regularly scheduled programming:
I don’t know about the rest of you, but respiratory illnesses really mess with my appetite. I stop wanting chocolate (!), dairy sounds awful as do fresh veggies, and all I seem to want is starch. And I don’t want it to be very rich—but I do want bland and so I am afraid I stop experiementing with whole grains. Sometimes when I have been sick, I snap instantly out of it it and my diet reverts to normal. But sometimes, when I have been really sick for a long time (like now), I seem to need to ease back into eating like a normal person. For meals that means more vegetables and protein and less carbs. But for desserts, it means more chocolate and diary. And whole grains when I remember (I forgot today but I would try this recipe with whole wheat pastry flour next time <November 2015 update I have made my best blondies with part white whole wheat flour many times just fine>). And so today I decided to make very rich butterscotch and caramel cookies with some chocolate. My mom LOVES caramel, so the addition of milk chocolate and caramel swirled chocolate chips to my favorite blondie recipe seemed inspired. This blondie recipe is my favorite not just because it is terrific, but also because it is SO easy—no mixer required.
- 1 ½ cups (213 g) AP flour (substitute half white whole wheat flour if desired)
- 1 t baking powder
- ½ t salt
- ¾ cup (12 T, 1 ½ sticks, 170 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ cups packed (300 g) light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 2 cups chips, chunks, nuts, etc--your choice (my favorites includes caramel, chocolate chips, and M&Ms)
- Coarse or flaky sea salt, optional, for sprinkling
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9X13 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Whisk together the flour(s), baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Whisk the butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Whisk briskly until they incorporate nicely--i.e., there are no pools of butter on the surface when you stop. This could take 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk in the vanilla.
- Switch to a rubber spatula, and slowly stir in the flour mixture. When it is nearly, but not quite, mixed in, add the mix-ins, and continue to stir and fold until it is completely incorporated together.
- Scrape the dough into the prepared baking pan. Use the rubber spatula to spread the dough pretty evenly in the pan (do not get crazy trying to make it perfect, it will also spread in the heat). Sprinkle with some coarse or flaky sea salt if desired.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is shiny and cracked and golden brown. Remove pan to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Remove the entire pan of cookies, using the parchment paper, and place on a cutting board. Slice the cookies into bar size of choice.
For collage fans…