In the last 24 hours, I've made 4 batches of Blondies. I went on a quest to develop a simple and superlative recipe, something that was both easy to make and tasty yet a little more complex than the blondies I've had of late. There's an excellent, 4-ingredient recipe by Mark Bittman from How to Cook Everything that I used as a check for my recipe development. I wanted to take that idea of a blondie, add a few things to it, adjust ratios, and end up with a recipe of more depth of flavor and a sure-fire gooey middle, which I covet in both blondies and brownies.
If you've been reading Cake and Commerce lately, you may have noticed that I've been on a whiskey kick and have been adding it as an ingredient to just about everything I've been making, from sweet to savory. This is no different. There's 1 T of scotch in this recipe. A blended whisky or whiskey will be just fine - try to avoid whisky with heavy smoked peat flavor or you may end up enjoying a blondie that tastes like it just came off a bbq.
I looked at a number of recipes online and looked at ratios - I always look at ratios. After thinking about the attributes I like in a blondie (good bottom crust and crinkly top crust, a wet and gooey but not oozy middle, and the balance of sweet, butterscotch, and salt) I played with a couple different methods, including an approach that involved making a quasi-caramel before blending with the eggs (it turned out very cakey but had a nice glazed top. It definitely needs to be underbaked to taste more 'brownie-like').
Here's the recipe I ended up with. I use only a small amount of scotch (Bittman recommends significantly more in his recipe, but personally that's a little strong - I want a hint of butterscotch, not a sledgehammer to the palate), I increase the egg content, add only a few more tablespoons of flour, and use coarse salt in place of regular salt. I don't play with the add-ins - I think a cook should add in ingredients at his or her own discretion - different types of chips, nuts, or candies aren't going to change the recipe much.
I made this recipe by hand - no stand mixer or food processor were involved.
Try it and let me know what you think.
Blondies (with a kiss of scotch)
yield: 1 8x8 baking pan
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 C packed light brown sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1 t vanilla extract
1 T whiskey or bourbon
1 t double acting baking powder
heaping 1/4 t coarse salt, such as kosher or sea salt
1 C + 2 T unbleached flour
3/4 C chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.
Melt butter and allow to cool.
Combine eggs, vanilla, whiskey and sugar and whisk until smooth and lighter in color
Whisk in cooled butter
In a separate bowl, combine baking powder, salt, and flour
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, folding and stirring until completely mixed.
Stir in Chocolate Chips
Immediately pour into a prepared or non-stick baking pan. Bake for 15-22 minutes (I realize now the oven I used wasn't calibrated correctly, so I'm leaving a LOT of room for you to decide when your blondies are done). Centers should be wet, but not oozy. Reduce baking time if using a convection oven, and for wetter centers, reduce cooking time by 2-4 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Chocolate chips can be replaced by 3/4 cups of just about anything - or more, if a chunkier blondie is desired.