Last night, around 8 pm, I got the overwhelming urge to bake.  My husband was doing some schoolwork in the other room; I went in to ask him whether I should make something, expecting him to talk me out of it because it was so late.  He didn’t.  Instead, he got a gleam in his eye that comes from the promise of sugar in the near future.  “Make something for now, like cookies.”  Translation: no muffins or granola or semi-good-for-you stuff.  Bring on the sugar, and throw in a little butter while you’re at it.

Well, who am I to disappoint someone working so diligently on homework on a snow day?  I decided to make some blondies, and set about researching recipes.  I have made them before but didn’t want the bells and whistles of peanut butter blondies, snickerdoodle blondies, or an otherwise gussied-up version, and I wasn’t crazy about the last “plain” recipe I made.  I found what I wanted courtesy of Garrett McCord from Vanilla Garlic.  His recipe matched what I was looking for from a true blondie: a chewy, buttery and almost caramel-like bar.  Some people call them “white brownies” or compare them to a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips, though I think they are in a category of their own.  I like their simplicity: they are so fast to make and require ingredients I tend to have in the pantry.  I threw in a handful (maybe 1/4 c.?) of butterscotch chips because I had them in the cupboard, and you can add white chocolate chips and/or walnuts if you want, for texture and to change up the flavor.  I even see recipes with chocolate chips included, but that is not a blondie to me, so I haven’t made any like that.  All in all, this a nice little recipe to have around if you need something quick for a bake sale, book club meeting, hostess gift, etc.  Bonus: you can make it late in the evening without staying up past your bedtime to get them out of the oven.

Brown Sugar Blondies (from Vanilla Garlic)

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. flour*
  • 1/4 c. butterscotch chips, chopped walnuts or white chocolate chips (opt.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8″ x 8″ pan and set aside.

In a medium-size pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat, being very careful not to burn.  Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar, stirring to combine.  Cool this mixture for 5-10 mins. before proceeding.

Whisk in the egg and vanilla.  In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together; add the dry ingredients to the pot and mix thoroughly.  Mix in any add-ins at this point, then spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Bake for 25 mins. or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For best results, cool completely before serving.

*I like making these with half whole wheat flour, half all-purpose flour or, even better, with whole wheat pastry flour.  The flavor becomes slightly nuttier and the crumb is more textured; they’re delicious!