This is hands down favorite blondie recipe. It comes from Cook's Illustrated, which is rarely a bad thing. It also has an almost absurd amount of vanilla extract. But, the experts at CI say that it makes all the difference. The result is hard to argue with, so I'll take their word for it!
Though nuts are optional, my favorite is to add pecans, very finely ground. I admit, I tend to think any dessert benefits from nuts. (Okay, okay, maybe not chocolate pudding.) So when I can, I add nuts, finely ground. Here, the result is a cross between pecan pie and a chocolate chip cookie. Heavenly!
cook's illustrated blondies
Makes 36 2-inch squares
1 cup/4 oz nuts (optional)
1 1/2 cups/7.5 oz flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbs unsalted butter ( 1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups/10.5 oz packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tsps vanilla extract
6 oz chocolate chips (a mix of chocolates would taste pretty fabulous!)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Spread nuts (if using, otherwise, skip to step #3) on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack until deep golden brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Check frequently and stir if necessary as nuts can scorch quickly. Transfer nuts to a cutting board to cool. Once cool, chop finely and set aside.
Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
With a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. Don't over-mix. Fold in chocolate and nuts (if using) and turn batter into greased pan and smooth the top.
Bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes.*
Cool to room temperature. Cut into 2 inch squares, serve, and enjoy!
The recipe says "Do not overbake." While very important, sometimes the fear of overbaking drives me to the other extreme of underbaking. Most people have a preference for which of the two blunders to make. Having made these a few times, I think it's safe to judge with visuals along with a toothpick tester and clinging crumbs. Or, go by however you judge when your brownies are done. :)
Recipe adapted from here.