The Best Ever Blondie Recipe
Joanne has been baking professionally for 25 years. A talented recipe and product developer, she has crafted desserts for hotels, restaurants, and gourmet grocers across the world. Joanne developed Cookie Chips® Baking Mixes for bakers who wants professional results at home using the same high-quality ingredients she uses in her professional kitchen.
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Easy Blondies That Taste Amazing
The question I often hear on the topic of blondie bars is, are they chocolate chip cookies baked in a pan, a brownie without chocolate, or something completely different, and do you have a recipe?
To understand this delicious dense and chewy creation we should explore a bit about its history which dates back over 80 years.
The exact origin of blondies is not entirely clear, but they are believed to have originated in the U.S. in the mid-20th century. Some sources suggest blondies were created as a variation of brownies, which have been around since the late 19th century. However, instead of using chocolate or cocoa powder, blondies were made with brown sugar, giving them a caramel-like flavor and lighter color.
The first known mention of blondies in a cookbook was in a 1941 edition of the “Gold Medal Flour Cookbook” by General Mills. The recipe was called “Blondie Brownies” and was made with flour, brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and nuts. Since then, blondies have become a popular dessert in the U.S., with many variations incorporating different flavors and add-ins such as chocolate chips, white chocolate, butterscotch chips, toasted nuts, coconut, & dried fruit. You’ll even find the addition of milk powder in Stella Parks baking book Brave Tart. She claims the milk powder gives her blondie recipe a “flavor reminiscent of a butterscotch milkshake crossed with a malt ball”.
One of the more modern variations in a blondie is the incorporation of brown butter. In French “beurre noisette”. Literally translated, it means “hazelnut butter”, which refers to the nutty aroma and flavor that brown butter takes on during the browning process.
So, why bring the French into the topic of a very American blondie dessert? Well, brown butter is commonly used in French baking, particularly in traditional French pastries and cakes such as madeleines, financiers, and tarte tatin.
French cuisine has a long history of using butter in both savory and sweet dishes, and brown butter is often used as a flavor enhancer. It adds a richer, nuttier flavor and gives depth and complexity to whatever you put it in. It’s commonly used in French sauces, such as beurre blanc and beurre noisette sauce, which are often served with fish and seafood dishes. In these sauces, the nutty flavor of brown butter pairs well with the delicate flavors of the fish.
The science behind browning butter involves a combination of heat, water content, & milk proteins. Brown butter involves cooking it until the milk solids in the butter start to caramelize, resulting in a golden-brown color, nutty aroma, and rich, toasty flavor.
When butter is heated, the water in the butter evaporates, leaving behind the milk solids and butterfat. As the heat continues to rise, the milk solids in the butter begin to break down and undergo the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction that occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars in the presence of heat.
During the maillard reaction, the amino acids and sugars in the milk solids react to create new flavor compounds, resulting in the nutty, toasty flavor that is characteristic of brown butter. The longer the butter is cooked, the more complex these flavor compounds become, resulting in a deeper brown color & more intense flavor.
Brown butter is a common ingredient in many blondie recipes, as it enhances the rich nutty flavor and aroma of this dessert. Thank you French!
The question for me was do I brown the butter in my blondie recipe or just melt the butter. Because I’m starting with my chocolate chip cookie mix, I had to think a bit differently about creating the perfect blondie that's easy to make. In order to know which is best, brown butter or melted butter I had to create both.
There are recipes, like Ina Garten's blondies which you will find in her cookbook Ina Garten Foodproof that start by creaming butter and sugar. This isn’t a practical method for my Best Ever Blondie because you can’t separate out the sugar from the cookie mix. I would also be concerned about a blondie that is more cakey than chewy using this method.
Melted butter is the absolute best way to go as this method yields a more dense and chewy texture. Thus, the connection with brownies. The difficult question I faced about melting vs. browning was when I came across Cook's Illustrated Blondie recipe graciously provided by Food52 and reviewed very positively by The Kitchn.
Cook’s Illustrated is a tough act to beat. They are super recipe developers and really know how to create top notch recipes often using creative procedures. Along with helping the reader to understand the principles behind everything they create. Unfortunately you have to be a member of their website to get fully loaded with what they do. I would definitely recommend a subscription if you love to cook and bake.
Besides the Food52 Cook’s Illustrated recipe where the butter is just melted, I also found a brown butter blondie recipe from Cook’s Illustrated in their America's Test Kitchen.
So I went to work creating a recipe incorporating the Cookie Chips® Chocolate Chip Baking Mix and testing my recipe with both melted butter and brown butter.
You may be asking why start with a cookie mix like Cookie Chips®? The reason Cookie Chips® exists is to make baking easier and fun to do. My recipes also guarantee perfect baking everytime. Of course, you have to follow the instructions. I have often found that many recipes pushed out on the internet just aren’t that good. There are a lot of baker’s out there & while it’s awesome that many people are baking and creating recipes, the quality of the final product isn’t always all that.
I can personally attest to this as I have been often intrigued & inspired by recipes and their developers only to find the thing that I baked did not bake well or taste good at all. Frustrating.
I do have my go to recipe developers that I know will always give me great products. There’s a lot of work that goes into creating new formulas. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. Doing this for over 25 years for the best in the best in the professional world has provided me with the expertise to always give you great results.
Let’s get baking. Here’s what I’ve learned works best for my blondie recipe. Both melting and browning the butter work perfectly. You get the expected dense and chewy texture. I found the flavor of the blondie with just melted butter to fall a bit flat. It’s still good, but WOW, the brown butter takes it to a whole new level.
I have to say, my kitchen smelled incredible after browning the butter and adding it to the blondie mixture. I love the way the dough is dotted with the brown milk solids. The delicious brown butter smell stays with the blondie even after they fully bake. I loved this version and I don’t think I’d do it any other way.
The only thing I learned after creating this recipe is it didn’t have enough white chocolate or toasty pecans. I added more to the recipe and you can adjust this to your tastes. I also didn’t add any to the top of the bars, but I indicated doing this on the recipe. Again, this is optional.
The Best Blondie Dessert Bar Recipe!
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Set up a 9x13 pan by spraying sides and bottom or brushing on melted butter & dusting with flour. Line with parchment paper.
- On a sheet pan lined with parchment, spread out the nuts.
- Toast in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes. They should be fragrant and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
- In a bowl, add cookie mix, flour, baking powder, & brown sugar. Blend together.
- In a pot, melt butter and cook it until it foams and is brown with a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Pour melted butter over dry ingredients and add eggs & vanilla. Start to blend and before fully incorporated, add nuts and white chocolate.
- Pour batter into the pan spreading evenly. Sprinkle more chopped pecans and white chocolate over top.
- Bake for about 22-24 minutes or until shiny and golden brown.
- Cool before cutting into squares, then enjoy!
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