Blondies, again: new and improved (i.e., simplified)

Blondies, FTW.

My holiday baking this year consisted of gingersnaps (my first time!) and blondies.

I used the Cooks Illustrated recipe from my first post on this very blog and due to time and ingredient constraints, I cut some corners.

Turns out cutting corners paid off, big time! The simplified version of this recipe made for a focused baked treat… you’re really able to taste the caramel-y flavor and enjoy the buttery texture without the add-ins.

Simple, No-Fail Blondies (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Optional: 1 teaspoon of molasses

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium to large bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix.
  5. Pour batter into greased 8×8 or 9×9 pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.
  6. Bake until top is a light golden brown and edges start to brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake.
  7. Cool on wire rack to room temperature.

This is a very forgiving recipe: You can cut the sugar, include a little more or less of the butter and vanilla, and it should still turn out. I dare you not to love the results.

If you’ve tried this recipe or another blondie recipe, let me know in the comments!



It made me tear up. Next step: Trying to read the original Chinese text! It’ll only take a couple weeks.

What Shih Said

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 11.01.21 PM

Following Ang Lee’s second Best Directing win at the Academy Awards last night, this beautiful essay resurfaced. Here is my translation of Ang Lee’s words, written in 2006 (post-Oscar win). Please credit the translation to Irene Shih (and to this blog), thank you!

In 1978, as I applied to study film at the University of Illinois, my father vehemently objected. He quoted me a statistic: ‘Every year, 50,000 performers compete for 200 available roles on Broadway.’ Against his advice, I boarded a flight to the U.S. This strained our relationship. In the two decades following, we exchanged less than a hundred phrases in conversation.

Some years later, when I graduated film school, I came to comprehend my father’s concern. It was nearly unheard of for a Chinese newcomer to make it in the American film industry. Beginning in 1983, I struggled through six years of agonizing, hopeless uncertainty…

View original post 574 more words