I have been making too many brownies of late. The deep dark fudgy ones, ones with nuts, brownies swirled with peanut butter or dulce de leche, brownies with a coffee kick or the cool lingering feeling with creme de menthe. Everytime I suggested a blondie my daughter would baulk. Then came a dinner party where I was requested to provide the sweet ending to the meal. In my mind, there was a lingering blondie hope. Hesitatingly, I asked the host for any requests they may have and when they seemed adequately confused, I swooped in with my blondie suggestion. “You can have it with a scoop of ice cream” I suggested “or a drizzle of chocolate or a fruit sauce. You can save up the extras and have them for tea tomorrow.” “Go ahead,” they said ” but could you add something chocolate to it please?”
I have always loved Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for blondies. They are like fat satisfying cookies. Maybe a tad too sweet ( you can always cut down on the sugar if you please) but then, the request was for something sweet. I stuck my tongue out at my daughter for refusing my earlier tempting offers of blondie heaven and went on to brown my butter. I prefer to brown the butter for these bar cookies simply because they add such a lovely mellow flavour when combined with brown sugar. Think about a soft , chewy cookie, which in your mouth bursts into the flavours of comfort and happiness.
It is pretty easy to put together. You just need to basically combine all the ingredients and pop it into the oven. But please do use brown sugar. If you don’t have some ready at home, take the trouble to buy some. This blondie does not quite taste the same without it. White sugar does not quite cut it. It needs the rich molassey goodness and the moisture to really make this work. To the mix, I added some dark chocolate (the good kind please) some white (they wanted chocolate remember, and sweet) And I could not quite help myself and added some cranberries and some pecans. I had to cut down the overload of sweetness and I needed that crunch.
You can, however, add whatever takes your fancy at that moment. I have added orange zest, a little cinnamon, a hint of espresso or my favourite alcohol of the moment. It all works wonderfully well. I have double the recipe or halved it ( I still used the 1 egg for the halved recipe) without any problems. I have always wanted to make it completely Indian by adding a pinch of cardamom and some cashew nuts but never got around to it.
Allow the blondies to cool completely before you decide to cut into them. Of course, you could bake it like a giant cookie, and serve it with a scoop of ice cream while it is still warm. That is entirely up to you.
8 tablespoons or 113 gms butter, melted (I used brown butter. Go past melting the butter till it starts bubbling and the residue turns a pale shade of brown)
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar (the dark one will almost make it look like an insipid brownie)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
(up to 1 cup of any additional ingredients. I used a mix of dark and white chocolate, cranberries and chopped pecans)
- Butter an 8×8 pan. A bigger pan will give you a flatter blondie.
- Mix the brown butter with brown sugar. You will need to beat it until smooth. Don’t worry if there are tiny granules of undissolved sugar.
- Beat in egg and then vanilla. Beat well until fully incorporated.
- Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any additions that you may have. I dusted my berries in a little bit of flour.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 175 c for about 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. I like them slightly on the underbaked side so the blondie is all gooey and chewy. if you like it a little firmer, go ahead and bake a little longer. Be careful not to over bake because it can turn the blondie dry and quite unpalatable. Cool on a rack before cutting them.
The blondies, by the way, disappeared even before dinner.