cook's illustrated's blondies

hi everyone! i hope you had a nice st. patty's day! did you see any northern lights? i missed them but have loved seeing pictures on facebook of the green sky last night. so amazing!

today is my last full day home on break already and i don't know where all of the time went! i wish i had some more so that i could visit with more friends and bake more things and eat more of the jellybeans on the dining room table but the real world prevails.

yesterday, i made some blondies from cook's illustrated and they were so good i had to quickly run to give them away to people before i ate entire pan. really! i've included the recipe below if you're feeling like it's wednesday and maybe you just need to stuff your face with chocolate, too.

there are so many things i should be working on today (hello term paper due next week! i promise to spend time with you soon!) but i am mostly focused on spending time with my mom and baking cakes! so the paper will have to wait.

side note - went to the dentist yesterday and didn't have a cavity! last time i went i got my first one so i was absolutely beside myself even though i shouldn't be, i mean look at my hobbies. but i didn't have one yesterday! 

these blondies originate from cook's illustrated circa july 2005, but i found them with rave review's on food52. blondies have long lived in the shadow of brownies, but it's time for them to take a stand! blondies are so easy to make (no double boiling required! pantry ingredients!) and you can use whatever you want as mix-ins - and actually see them! 

the recipe stresses erring on the side of underbaking and i both agree and disagree. if you want a gooeier, fudgy-er blondie, go ahead and pull them out when they have just a touch of color and have cracked at the tops (22-25 mins). for a crunchier cookie bar, let the edges get a little brown. this halves well, if you must.

some other fun additions would be: butterscotch (pictured!), different chocolates, candy pieces (health, reeses, etc.), dried fruits, pretzels, oreos (!!)

cook's illustrated's blondies

3/4 c pecans or walnuts

1  1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour

tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp table salt

12 tbsp unsalted butter ( 1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled

1  1/2 c packed light brown sugar

large eggs, lightly beaten

tsp vanilla extract

1  1/2 c chocolate chunks

heat oven to 350° F. toast nuts on a rimmed baking sheet until golden brown (10-15 minutes). once cool; chop coarsely and set aside.

line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with foil or parchment, leaving enough overhang to lift the blondies from the pan once they're done. grease foil or parchment-lined pan with butter or oil.

in medium bowl: whisk flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

whisk melted butter and brown sugar in medium bowl until combined. then add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.  fold dry ingredients into egg mixture with a rubber spatula, stopping when about 75% mixed (or some pockets of flour remaining). add in chocolate and nuts and other yummy things, which should mix in the rest of the flour. don't overmix! turn batter into prepared pan - it won't spread super easily - so even it out with a rubber spatula.

bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown (22-24 minutes). cool on wire rack to room temperature. cut into squares (you pick the size!) and serve.

tip: cutting brownies and blondies becomes a zillion times easier if they are chilled. so, once cooled on the rack, throw them in the fridge and after a few hours cut them with a sharp knife. i use a pastry cutter/scraper and it's perfect because i'm concerned with appearances and stuff.