Josh, PJ and I worked for a few hours in the backyard yesterday, 'un-rednecking it' as I like to say. The backyard is a steep upward slope, and of course most of the crap we needed to get rid of was near the top of the hill. Since it turned out to be such a good workout, I thought we all deserved a brownie after dinner. But I didn't have boxed brownies. So as I went in search of a from-scratch brownie recipe in my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I stumbled upon an interesting recipe title: Blondies.
"Blondies?" I questioned Josh. "I've never heard of blondies." He said he'd heard that they were a cookie/brownie type of concoction, but that he'd never actually tried one himself. Reading on, I learned that blondies are a butterscotch-based cookie bar studded with chocolate chips. Oooh. Given my recent discovery of homemade caramel, and needing to utilize the jar of leftover homemade caramel in the fridge (before I ate one more cold spoonful), I went for it. Blessedly, I had everything in the pantry.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Blondies will make you sing. They had me so transfixed that I forgot to take several pictures during the baking process, and they were so incredibly rich and delicious that I had to send them with Josh to work just to get them out of my grasp.
You will need:
2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter (1 stick plus all but 3 tbs from another stick)
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup chopped nuts (if you want, but I left them out)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 baking pan; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat, until butter melts and the mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. You should just barely be able to taste the grit from the brown sugar, if you give it a (or many) taste as I did. Allow me to warn you of the molten temperature sugar can reach...and how much it hurts when it's too sticky to get off your finger. So use a spoon.
Remove from heat and cool slightly. Break an egg into a separate bowl and temper with a little bit of the sugar mixture. This means you will add a small amount of the hot liquid into the egg to raise its temperature while you beat it, so the egg won't immediately scramble when it meets the hot sugar. Stir in tempered eggs one at a time; add vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Spread batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. The blondies will more than likely puff up around the sides, appearing to sink in the middle. This is good; this is what you want.
Cool slightly in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars while warm. Die. Repeat.
For an even more terribly decadent treat, heat some caramel and pour it over blondies individually, right before serving.
Here's a quick homemade caramel:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
Pinch sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and stir it over medium heat until it begins to boil. Once it has begun boiling, let it bubble for three more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla, and then quickly pour it into a glass jar if storing, or onto a prepared dessert.