My mother made blonde brownies that could have stopped a zombie apocalypse….at least for a few minutes. Minutes count when you’re trying to avoid being eaten by an advancing horde.
I know, the simplest thing to do would be to ask my mother for the recipe. She’d give it to me over the phone tonight if I called her. She won’t do that at midnight however. Midnight here is three in the morning her time. Mother’s need sleep, too. So I had a hankering and I just had to wing it. I went through my normal routine of research and only when I’d finished had I realized that blonde brownie and cookie pie must be the same thing to some people. I’m here to set the record straight – they’re not.
Cookie pie is a denser more…dare I say cookie-ish, final product. Delicious. Blonde brownies are like the chocolate chip version of a regular brownie. And not a fudgy brownie. It’s not cake-like either. It resides in that middle ground. And it’s got a lot of brown sugar, butter, and chocolate chips. And vanilla.
A word about vanilla. Imitation vanilla causes civil war. In many countries. Perhaps your own kitchen. You have been warned. I know the real stuff isn’t cheap. I don’t like spending money any more than the next guy. It’s often on sale or cheap in weird places. Like Home Goods, for one. I will often leave there with three or four bottles if it’s discounted enough. If I didn’t we’d have start a plantation.
Because we’re only two people, unless I’m bringing stuff into work, I try to cook the smallest portion I can. That’s often an 8×8 pan in the baking world. That’s just about right; a few days worth of dessert and snacking, done before it gets stale or you’re tired of it. If you have a family (or are just very hungry) you can double this recipe, and it’ll fit nicely into a 9×13 pan.
Sift 1 and 1/3 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a bowl. Got that done? Sift it again. Why? It mixes the ingredients really well and it also aerates the flour that’s been packed and stored, thrown onto a shelf, into your car, dipped and swept in…you get the picture.
Melt about 1/3 cup of butter in the microwave. I say about because how many tablespoons is 1/3 of a cup. I had no idea until I looked it up, so don’t feel bad. And why should I? It’s five and one-third tablespoons. So…as close as you can to five and half and call it a day. Add the one cup of firmly packed brown sugar. Technically the recipe calls for light brown sugar. I’m a molasses man so it’s dark brown for the win, no matter what I’m making. Mix well.
While that’s cooling off, crack an egg and beat it. You can add the tablespoon of vanilla right to the egg. I won’t tell if you don’t. You need to add the egg to the butter/brown sugar mixture. If it’s too hot the egg will cook. That will not make for good brownies, I promise. If it seems a little hot still, wait. If you stir quickly and slowly add the egg, you should be fine. Now add the flour mixture, bit by bit, mixing the whole time. I just used my ancient hand mixer. Generally there’s less cleanup for smaller recipes than getting into the KitchenAid. It’s the same hand mixer my mother had for as long as I can remember. It’s great in that it works – not so much in that it essentially has one speed – which is whatever speed it’s currently running at.
For the chocolate chips, I usually use a range from what the recipe calls for. Depending on what you’re using and your tastes, let’s say anywhere from a half to a full cup of chocolate chips. One of our markets carries Callebaut mini chips for next to nothing – so it’s all we use. That or Ghirardelli. I wait till they’re on sale. Because I’m cheap.
Whatever and however much you’re going to use – mix half in with the batter, and sprinkle the other half over the top after its spread into the pan. I lightly grease my pan. You can use butter or shortening or be lazy like me and Pam that sucker.
It takes about 20 – 25 minutes to bake in a 350 degree F oven. A toothpick inserted will come out clean, excepting for the large quantity of chocolate that will be abounding.
Give it a few minutes to set and cool before you cut into it. Being the selfless individual that I am, I will generally use an implement to remove a scorching hot sample to ensure the safety of all those who follow. Quality control has its perks.
For an 8×8 square pan of blonde cookie pie brownie, you’ll need:
- 1 and 1/3 Cup AP Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/3 Cup Butter (Let’s Call it 5 and 1/2 Tablespoons) – Melted
- 1 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
- 1 Egg – Beaten
- 2/3 Cup (1/2 to 1 Cup) Chocolate Chips of Choice