Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
And that head cold I mentioned? It put me out of commission for longer than I care to admit. Add that to cramming in last minute visits to friends and family, sending away all of our earthly belongings and not seeing them again for a week, two hellish days of driving and delays on pretty much every end, and it’s been a rough couple of weeks.
One bright spot popped up around the halfway point of our drive, as we happily paid a quick visit to a dear friend from college. We haven’t seen her since our wedding and I had to bring along a little something. My frazzled, fuzzy brain thought only of these blondies, probably because they’re equal parts dead easy and crazy delicious.
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Makes about 16 2-inch squares
People, this awesome little number was originally brought to you by the Food Network’s golden boy himself, and it’s no wonder. I definitely hacked it a bit, partly because I’m firmly rooted in the use-what-you-have-on-hand philosophy, and partly because I’m cheap. But the beauty of blondies is that they’re almost infinitely customizable, kind of like the pizza of cookies. Have some dried cranberries and white chocolate chips in the cupboard? Throw them in! Leftover Halloween candy bars? Chop ‘em up! I’ve made these at least three times and have used different combinations of goodies each time, and each time they’ve been delicious. I’m not saying you can’t mess them up, but you kind of can’t. Stick to the relative proportions and you’re good.
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter or margarine
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup flaked coconut
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts*
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing a large enough overhang to pull out the completed bars. Spray the paper with cooking spray.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan; add sugar and whisk until combined and sugar is melted, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and let cool slightly (refrigerate if needed). Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Add the flour and whisk until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips, coconut, and walnuts (or whatever goodies you’re using) and spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top cracks slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist pieces clinging to it. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely (overnight is fine). Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment handles, transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2-inch squares.
*Pecan and almonds work equally well — I’ve tried both! As always, toasted is even better.
Isn’t it about time to get back to business around here? Oh yes. My cookware has finally arrived in the new house and I may have planned the week’s baked goods before its dinners. Suffice it to say, we’re now heading back to our regularly scheduled blogging. Stay tuned!