[M]y idea of blondies (bar cookies, not actual blondes) was that they were simply chocolate chip cookie dough, spread into a pan and baked. Not necessarily so, as I discovered when I checked into recipes for them. Had I ever really made an actual blondie? I realized I had not.
My recipe came from Ann Byrn’s “American Cookie” (Crown Publishing Group; 2018), which features loads of classic recipes and the stories behind them. A blondie is kind of a reverse brownie…it’s a butter, brown sugar and vanilla type of dough, and the extent of its chocolate is the chips you may or may not add to it. Byrn writes that blondies likely originated during World War II, when chocolate and white sugar were rationed. The first blondie recipe was published by Mrs. Alexander George of the Associated Press in 1943 as “Light Colored Brownies.” As blondies — and times — evolved, the buttery bars were studded with bits of chocolate.
The blondie recipe I chose to make differed in its method and its results were unlike other blondies I had eaten. Prepared on the stovetop (this seemed unusual, but I realized some brownies are prepared this way) and the final resulting bar cookie had both a soft and delicate, but slightly chewy cake-like texture. It begins with melting butter in a large saucepan on the stove.
Brown sugar is added and dissolved, and then white sugar is added. The whole caramel-like mixture is then given a cooling-off time.
Dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) are blended together. And three eggs are beaten with vanilla.
These are added in to the sugar mixture gradually and alternating.
The mixture makes a nice soft, buttery (and butterscotch-smelling dough).
Speaking of butterscotch, a friend gave me some butterscotch chips, and I thought these, along with some semisweet chocolate, would be lovely to add to the bars.
The dough is spread in a buttered and floured 13- by 9-inch pan. I briefly decided to also add parchment paper, but I decided to go with the recipe instructions.
The pan of blondies baked up to a beautiful golden brown and the added chips on top provided a nice polka dot pattern of flavor.
After cooling, I cut the bars. The texture seemed light and almost cake-like.
They tasted light, too…a surprise since I was expecting a chewy texture. But I think dissolving the sugars in the beginning stages lightened the bar. Their soft flavor was punctuated with butter and brown sugar and those bits of chips added a nice sweet note (the recipe suggested pecans, which would be delicious, too). I was pleased with these little bars, prepared easily, in minutes on the stove. A little old-fashioned, but nothing wrong with that.
You can find Byrn’s recipe at https://food52.com/recipes/77782-brown-sugar-saucepan-blondies.