Summertime, and the livin’s easy. Well, except for the fact that is was hot as balls last week.
Fun fact: not a single apartment in Portland has air conditioning. I spent most of my days wandering around the house in short shorts and a tank top moaning about the heat, sitting directly in front of the fan gulping ice water, or spending unnecessary money in big box stores and movie theaters, which are kept at a blessedly frigid sixty degrees.
It finally cooled down couple days ago, at least enough that I could turn on the oven without wanting to stick my head in it and die. I celebrated by baking. Lots of baking. Also by turning on the camera without gumming up the ports with sweat.
This recipe is from the [INSERT POPULAR PBS SHOW HERE] cookbook, which my Grandma gave me for Christmas a couple years ago. It’s quickly become my baking go-to, second only to my beloved Fannie Farmer Baking Book, which technically belongs to my mother and lives with her in California. The only problem with [BOOK BASED ON VERY THOROUGH MAGAZINE] is that they’re quite, ahh, protective of their recipes. Also, their Asian recipes are not especially reliable. But that’s another post! Let’s just say that [RECIPE FROM THAT BOOK YOU KNOW THAT ONE] is pretty good, even if the company that owns it is a bit poopy. And I can’t not use it, because buying reasonably priced items at Costco and gifting them to family members is like the highest form of praise in my family.
I like blondies because they’re easy. They’re so easy, in fact, I’m starting to get icky thoughts about how maybe they got their name because of some antiquated notions about the sexual habits of blondes. Hopefully that is not the case? Anyway, they use what my pastry teacher used to call the ol’ “melt & mix” technique, which is exactly as exciting as it sounds. I like making blondies more than making brownies because you don’t have to melt the stupid chocolate in the stupid microwave and nobody will catch you licking the chocolate/butter spoon. Not that that ever happens to me.
I baked these in an 8×8 pan rather than a 9×13 because I love fudgy bar cookies and also because I don’t own a 9×13 pan. I know, right? Sad. Likewise, I dropped the oven temp to 325 degrees and baked them an additional ten minutes or so to avoid death by my oven, aka “the burninator.” The last time I made these I actually overbaked them, so I was more conservative this time and they came out super fudgy, even when I did the “knife pokey/comes out clean” test. On a third try I’d try to hit it somewhere in between, as these were pretty dang rich. But oh, the brown sugar goodness. Excuse me, I have to go drool for a bit.
Delicious Blondies3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs 4 tsp. vanilla 1 1/2 cups A.P. flour 1 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter or spray an 8×8 inch square pan and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar and whisk out all the lumps. Whisk in the 2 eggs and vanilla until smooth, then add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts and pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it into the corners. Bake until the top is shiny and crinkly and a knife or skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. You can wait until it’s cool and cut it into cute little squares, or you can pull a stoner move and eat it with a big spoon. Actually, please do not do that. Please?