This last weekend I participated in a fun bake sale to benefit Doctors Without Borders. I struggled for a while on what I wanted to make for the bake sale, but at the end of the day I just went with something that I’ve been wanting to make for a while, but wanted to get out of the house as soon as possible for fear of demolishing all of them: Blondies.
If, somehow, you don’t know what a blondie is, it’s basically a brownie but instead of chocolate, it has a brown sugar base. Blondies have these light caramel flavor that is heaven to me. The other good thing about blondies is you can mix in all kinds of extras into the batter.
You could go crazy with add-ins for blondies (I almost did). One add-in that I think would be a good one would be some sort of nut, like walnuts maybe. I didn’t add them because I was planning on selling these guys and adding nuts to things sometimes makes them harder to sell because of nut allergies, etc.
1) Over a double-boiler, add the butter and brown sugar and whisk it together until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
2) Let this cool for a minute until it's warm to the touch then whisk in the eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour last. Try not to over-mix the batter.
3) Stir in the mix-ins.
4) Pour batter into a lightly buttered 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on how firm you like your blondies.
5) Let them cool for 20-30 minutes on a wire cooling rack before digging in.
Adapted from a How to Cook Everything recipe.
Starting the Blondies
This is one of the easier batters to make honestly. It’s just got a few simple ingredients. Since it’s really so few ingredients, I decided to upgrade the butter from my normal butter to a European brand that has a bit more flavor. It added a richness to the bars that was awesome. You could use any unsalted butter though.
Over a double-boiler (also known for me as a pot with some water simmering in it and a metal bowl sitting on the pot), add your butter and brown sugar and whisk it all together for a few minutes until the butter is completely melted and the sugar is dissolved.
At this point, it will look really dark and be basically a simple caramel sauce.
As I said, just like brownies, you can add all kinds of fun things to these guys. I decided to do chocolate (because everyone loves chocolate), dried cranberries (for flavor and texture), and bananas. The bananas were interesting. I liked them mixed in. Betsy was on the fence about it I think.
I gave my cranberries a very rough chop and mushed up my bananas.
Back to the batter
Let your batter cool for a minute until it’s warm to the touch. Then whisk in your eggs, vanilla, salt, and finally your flour. Don’t over-mix the batter. It should be pretty moist.
Then fold in all your mix-ins. I added my chocolate last, but I don’t think it really matters what order you add them.
Cooking the Blondies
Lightly butter a 9×13 inch baking dish and add all your blondie batter. Gently smooth out the top so they bake evenly.
Bake these at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on how done you want your blondies.
Cooling The Blondies
Maybe the most important step in cooking these blondies is cooling these guys. If you’re like me, a slightly undercooked blondie/brownie is really the only way to go. There are still some crispy edges, but the interior parts will be a little gooey.
The only downside to under-cooking them slightly, is you can’t eat them right away unless you prefer to eat them with a spoon! So just cool them on a rack for 30 minutes or so and if you really under-cook them, you might want to even put them in the fridge for 30 minutes to set-up even more.
These were really tasty and laced with all kinds of good stuff.
Wrapping the Bars
Of course, for a bake sale these all had to be individually wrapped. The last time I had to individually wrap something for a different bake sale, I maybe went a bit overboard, so I decided to go more minimalist this time around. Just parchment paper and butcher’s twine!
I’m actually not sure if my blondies sold out… I don’t think they did just because there was SO MANY baked things there. But trust me, these are worth your time. They’re great for an office get together or anytime you just want some variety from the standard brownie (is that even possible?).