The season of sugar is upon us, and though I fully intend to stay waist deep in an assortment of tried and true cookie recipes from now until the New Year (I promise I will share!), I’m always game for a bit of newness as far as flour and sugar and butter are concerned. You’d think that eventually there’d be an end to reinvention in the kitchen, that someday we’ll have tried all the combos and be forced to a forever after of repeats. But no, baking is like entertainment that way. Sure, we’ve seen 10 bazillion remakes of A Christmas Carol and Groundhog Day, but did you say you have a new spin on it tonight, Hallmark Channel? Well, I’ll be there. Again. And it will be awesome.
I realize that blondies are no new thing in the dessert world, but I managed to go 26 years without ever tasting one. Apparently they’re a big hit on the Midwest carry-in church dinner circuit, so when I asked Jared if he’d ever had one before, he laughed at me like I’d asked him if he’d ever seen a dog. Clearly my lack of exposure to this buttery amalgamation of flour and sweets meant I had missed an integral part of the growing up experience. But alas, we are never too old to learn new tricks (er, new foods). And thank goodness for that.
Blondies seem to be the result of a love-filled marriage between the brownie and the chocolate chip cookie. They’re chewy, almost fudgy like brownies and buttery, almost caramely like chocolate chip cookies. The sliced almonds (or pecans, which most blondies recipes seem to call for) add good texture and are actually a welcome break from all that sugar. Speaking of all that sugar, I highly advise topping your blondies with a healthy (by way of size) scoop of vanilla ice cream. ‘Tis how it’s done, I gather.
Adapted very slightly from the Foster’s Market Cookbook (Sara Foster, p. 252)
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
• 2 cups packed light brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup sliced almonds
* vanilla ice cream for serving
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and butter a 9-by-13-inch pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until it’s light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, and blend after each addition. Add the vanilla, and blend until the mixture is fluffy.
Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture just until combined (don’t overmix!). Fold in the chocolate chips and almonds, and then transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the bars to cool for about 30 minutes before cutting. Serve with a big happy scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Are there any foods you never tried growing up that seem to be super popular among the masses? What’s your all-time favorite sweet treat? And has anyone started their holiday baking yet? Do tell!
Christmas is less than four weeks away (woo hoo!), and do you know what that means? It’s that time of year for the second annual Wrapping Week! Check back next week for a new holiday gift wrapping idea every day. And if you can’t wait that long to get started, check out last year’s tips and tricks here, here, here, here and here.