Monday, November 15, 2010

"Anything" Blondies

     What a week. I've started a new job (working with babies and toddlers now. eek!) and feel as if I've been in a whirlwind of change and doubt and fear and whatever else one might feel during such a transition. It's in these times that I so long for familiarity and comfort. This weekend brought respite, thankfully. And, now, I begin this new week with a hopeful and courageous outlook (I've had all weekend to work on this.). I'm forging on---to conquer! In the meantime, it can't go without mention that I'm certainly enjoying my fair share of chocolate, one worldly comfort I put to good use. On Sunday we had another dessert need at church and I knew, immediately, what I would take. I've had my eye on these babies...
     I'm a fan of any recipe you can adapt to your preference. For instance, bran muffins...I love that one day you can add walnuts and raisins. Another, chocolate chips and dried cherries. And another, just bake 'em up plain. All from one base recipe. That's marvelous. Blondies are this way. I've never had a great recipe for them and have actually not made them much. However, I do believe these are the ones. One of my most favorite cooking websites is called smitten kitchen. The author produces consistently creative and yummy foods, along with frequent photos of her a-dor-a-ble little boy. I impatiently wait between posts for her next one. That said, this is her recipe for a fantastic pan of Blondies. I see nothing to change. They're simple, require one bowl, only a few ingredients, offer endless variations of add-ins, and come out pretty much like one giant doughy chocolate chip cookie in a pan. What could be better? 
     *One note I'll add is that I made this batch with half dark brown sugar and half light brown sugar. I thought the molasses taste was a tad stronger than most would want it. So, next time, I'll probably go 100% light brown sugar (the molasses added to the dark brown sugar is what differentiates it and gives it a bolder flavor, by the way). This time around I threw in three different types of chocolate: semi-sweet, dark, and white. I named them "Triple Chocolate Blondies." Um, yeah. They were killer. Next batch I'm definitely mixing in some toasted walnuts. Go crazy.

borrowed from smitten kitchen
makes about 3 dozen

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar (unless you love dark, then go for it)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour

 try any of these mix-ins (or try some ideas of your own):
-2 cups chopped, toasted nuts
-2 cups chocolate chips (any type!)
-1 cup mashed banana
-4 tablespoons coffee powder
-1 cup dried fruit

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Butter a 9x13 pan.
3. Mix melted butter with sugar and beat until smooth. 
4. Beat in eggs, then vanilla.
5. Stir in salt and flour (stir minimally all along!) and any add-ins you would like.
6. Pour into pan and bake for around 20-25 minutes (mine took 22), or until fairly set in the middle (meaning a toothpick inserted in the center doesn't come out looking like the batter in the bowl. though, you do still want them on the doughy side. at least i do.). Cool on rack before cutting. 

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