For my sister’s birthday, I wanted to make something for her to take home. I also wanted to try something new since so many of my baking standbys are chocolate-centric (cookies ‘n cream cookies, chocolate chip cookies, brownies).
Enter the blondie. I’ve always thought it must be possible to make a good blondie that’s not saccharine sweet. For my recipe, I went to the authority on all things culinary, Cook’s Illustrated.
my first try at cracking the blondie code.
Blondies (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
For my first attempt, I wanted to see if the core recipe worked, so I omitted the nuts and coconut. I tend to like my baked goods with fewer mix-ins anyway. According to Cook’s Illustrated, butterscotch chips (which some blondie recipes call for) don’t add much and mixing the melted butter with the sugar creates a caramelization effect. The white chocolate chips are a surprise ingredient here, they enhance the overall flavor. This was good to know, as I would have been tempted to leave them out (I’m not a fan of white chocolate). They were a hit with my tasters. Buttery and not overwhelmingly sweet.
1 cup pecans (or walnuts), toasted and chopped coarse **omitted**
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut **omitted**
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt **I used sea salt but I think kosher would work too**
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces) **I cut down the sugar to about 1 cup**
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces white chocolate chips (1 cup) or chopped bar, or 3 ounces each white chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips **(I did half/half white and semisweet. so 1/2 cup white, 1/2 cup semisweet. it’s great, i recommend it!!)**
1. Adjust oven rack to the middle and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on large rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer nuts to cutting board to cool; chop coarsely and set aside. Toast coconut on same rimmed baking sheet, stirring 2 to 3 times, until light golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.
2. While nuts and coconut toast, cut 18-inch length foil/parchment paper (I used parchment and it worked well) and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width). Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray. (I didn’t need to spray the parchment)
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
4. Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in chocolate, coconut, and nuts and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.
5. Bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes; do not overbake. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board.