Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dorie Greenspan's Chewy, Chunky Blondies

My friends and I get together at least once a month to play board games, and when we do, the rules are pretty simple: You bring your own booze, and games and a snack to share. Most people pick up a bag of chips or some hummus and once, famously, a box of Twinkies.

As you can imagine, that's not good enough for me - not when I have a whole captive audience on which to try out new baking recipes.

In preparation for the last get-together, I was flipping through Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours and came upon these "Chewy, Chunky Blondies." (By the way, if you don't have this book and you're into baking, you need to buy it - right now.) I just happened to have all the ingredients in my pantry, and so it made the cut for Game Day.

The thing I love about Dorie's cookie recipes is that they usually are chock full of add-ins, which is how I think cookies and bars should be. In the case of these bars, we're talking a full cup each of coconut, chopped nuts (I used walnuts), butterscotch chips and hand-chopped bittersweet chocolate.

There were almost more add-ins than cookie, and that was just fine by me. But the cookie itself is nice and moist, full of rich, brown-sugary, buttery flavor. They went over a storm, and are definitely something I'd make again.

As a bonus, Game Day was held at the home of a couple; I'd played with the husband before (that sounds weird), but had never met the wife. When I walked in, she looked at the container and said, "If those are what I think they are, you're my new best friend." I asked her if she thought they were blondies and voila...I had a new best friend.

Chewy, Chunky Blondies
a Dorie Greenspan recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into chunks, or 1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips or Heath Toffee Bits
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan and put it on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, until well-incorporated. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until they just disappear into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate, butterscotch chips, nuts and coconut. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and even the top as much as possible.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the blondies comes out clean. (Note: Careful here; a couple of times I got "false readings" because I hit a chunk of butterscotch or chocolate.) The blondies should pull away from the sides of the pan a little and the top should be a nice honey brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes before turning the blondies out onto another rack. Invert onto a rack and cool to room temperature right side up.

Cut into 32 bars, each roughly 2 1/4 by 1 1/2 inches.

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