Tuesday, 19 April 2016


Being a follower of many American blogs, I get introduced to various sweet treats that I would normally never encounter in a British bakery or cafe. One of them is these 7 layer cookies that I got to know through my lovely American friend, which are still requested by various family members. Another one, that I have been making almost as long are these blondies. 

What are blondies? Well, I asked the same question 3 years ago, and did what any normal person would do, and consulted google. The first definition that came up was: A blonde-haired person, typically a woman or a girl. Uhhh, not sure that was the answer I was looking for. Thankfully, the next definition gave me a little more clarity: a small square of dense, pale coloured cake, typically of a butterscotch or vanilla flavour. Now that definition didn't sound too bad. After a little more research I understood that a blondie is very much like a brownie, but instead of the cocoa in a brownie, blondies are about the vanilla, and they get their butterscotch-y flavour from brown sugar, whereas brownies usually call for white sugar. 

So, off I went to make myself a batch, seeing as I had a friend coming round for dinner and she could totally be my guinea pig for the evening. After some explaining of what they were, she took her first bite and I'm pretty sure the words that came out of her very full mouth were something like "ohmagadtheseareamazing". And amazing they were. And easy too! But as it happens I kind of forgot about them over the years seeing as everyone always requested brownies because they didn't know about these guys yet, and I was that rude person that forgot to carry out the introductions. But recently, blondies and I have rekindled our love, and all it took was a neighbour coming round for some tea and me realising I have nothing to serve alongside the tea and dammit she'll be here in 45 minutes and I'm not dressed and I can't bake a cake in that time and if only there was a quick dessert I could make that tastes good and still gives me time to get ready.  Oh, but there was. 10 minutes later and my blondies were in the oven, leaving me 20 minutes to get ready, take them out to cool and - hey! I have 15 minutes to spare. 

They're also mess-friendly too! I made the whole thing in a small saucepan and toasted the walnuts in the tin I used for the blondies (although, when I was making this for my neighbour, I obviously didn't have the time to toast the walnuts. They're flexible too!) Adapted to enhance the butterscotch-y flavour with browned butter and dark brown sugar, a little bit of flaky salt for that slight crunch and sweet/salty sensation and adding chocolate chips and walnuts for my favourite combo, although, feel free to change that with other nuts or types of chocolate. Since then, I have made them at least 4 times. You know, making up for lost time and all. 


(makes 16 squares, or 25 for cute teeny squares)

113 grams butter
160 grams dark brown sugar *
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon flaky salt
125 grams plain flour
90 grams walnuts**
130 grams chocolate chips**

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). If you have enough time to toast your walnuts, chuck them into the tin you are going to use and put them in the oven for around 7-10 minutes while you prepare your batter - but keep an eye out on them! If your oven runs hot, check them around 7. Once done, take them out to cool before chopping. If you don't plan on toasting your walnuts, then just chop them and set them aside until needed.

Throw the butter into a medium sized saucepan, and put on medium heat. Let the butter melt, and swirl the pan every now and then to make sure everything is cooking evenly. As it melts, it will start to foam, and the colour will slowly change from a yellow-y colour, to tan, and finally a toasty brown colour with brown bits at the bottom. It will smelly deliciously nutty. Keep an eye on it once it starts turning brown, to make sure it doesn't burn! Once the butter is browned, add the brown sugar and beat together with a handheld whisk. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk again. Add the salt and flour, and stir until just mixed. Add in the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts and stir. Cover the pan in foil and use an oil spray to grease, or some butter. Pour the batter and spread. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (I prefer mine a little gooey-er in the middle so I tend to go for 20 minutes). Take out, cool on a cooling rack before cutting into squares. Enjoy.

* You can use light brown sugar if that's all you've got, or a mixture of both light and dark brown sugar

* You can adapt these to your preferences - more walnuts/less chocolate, more chocolate (and different types!)/less walnuts. Also, I have made these before with chopped chocolate, because I tend to prefer the flavour and melty-ness of chopped chocolate than chocolate chips - however, with these guys I preferred the chocolate chips. They held their shape when baking and, really, save me some time. The chopped chocolate melted into the batter more making it more brownie-like. Go with your preference. 

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