The Let-Your-Hair-Down Blondie Recipe

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

So I’ll just come out and say it. I am not a baker. I actually am pretty afraid of baking because I tend to turn cookies into scones, and brownies into some flavorless hybrid brownie/cake thing.

For the longest time, I could not figure out why I struggled while others succeeded. Then I got schooled. Apparently, my method of measuring was not up to par. I rounded my tablespoons when I should have leveled them, and I was quite good at packing the wrong ingredients when measuring.

One little gem I learned is to never pack anything unless it specifically says so.

For example, when the recipe calls for a cup of flour, they don’t want you to see how much flour you can smoosh into that little cup. Oops. What they want is for you to spoon the flour into the cup measurer and then level the top without packing it down.

Sometimes that precision is not what I am looking for in a recipe. I mean, can’t a guy rebel a little? You know, let his hair down, roll up his sleeves and bake a mean “good” without all these rules?

This blondie recipe is about as close as it gets. It is basically a brownie without the chocolate base, but with potential for greatness. At the end of the recipe, there are a few additions to add. I highly recommend the chopped nuts, chocolate chips and whiskey. Yum!


Adapted from How to Cook Everything

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or ½ teaspoon almond extract

  • Pinch salt

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Rub butter onto an 8-inch by 8-inch pan and dust with a fine coat of flour, shaking out any excess. Mix melted butter with brown sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the egg and then vanilla. Add salt, and then stir in flour, followed by any of the additions below.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. It’s always a good idea to be cautious with your bake time, because nobody really gets angry when their brownie is gooey in the middle. Same goes for blondies. Cool on rack before cutting them.

Further additions; use one or a combination of:

  • ½ to 1 cup chopped nuts, toasting them first for even better flavor
  • ½ to 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon mint extract in addition to, or in place of, the vanilla
  • ½ cup mashed bananas
  • ¼ cup bourbon, scotch or other whiskey; increase the flour by one tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons of espresso powder with the vanilla
  • Stir ½ cup dried fruit, especially dried cherries, into the prepared batter.