The Blondie is an American favourite – the paler cousin of the rich, dark brownie. The dough features butter and brown sugar with vanilla for a fudgy flavour, and can be studded with walnuts, white chocolate chips, or a mixture.
In search of perfection
What is the perfect blondie? Soft and squidgy or firm and portable? Just like brownies, blondies are subject to fierce debate in the baking world. You might want to try a few variations before picking your favourite way to eat these delicious teatime treats.
Commercial white chocolate is often made from sugar and vanilla, so it won’t add much to the flavour of the basic dough. Look for chocolate that contains pure cocoa butter. If you are using white chocolate chips in your blondies (they aren’t essential) then it’s worth buying a good brand such as Valrhona or Hotel Chocolat. To make double-chocolate blondies, use unsweetened (70% cocoa) chocolate for the best flavour without too much extra sweetness.
Tips for success
If you’ve made brownies before, like our Double Choc Chip Brownies you might have suffered from tray-stick. Brownies, and blondies, are made from such a dense and sticky dough that they often stick to the tin. You end up poking bits out with a spatula, which does not produce the picture-perfect plate of squares that appears in magazines. So what can you do about this? The very best solution is to grease AND line your tin. Oil it lightly, then cut two strips of greaseproof baking paper. Cross them over so that the bottom and sides of the tin are lined, and you have a little overhang (which you can pull to release the blondies when they are cooled).
As for the tin, we’ve found that the best choice is a square (8”x8” or 20x20cm) tin. This helps the mixture to cook evenly; a rectangular tin can produce a tray of blondies that is a little undercooked in the very centre.
To get perfect blondie results, test your oven temperature using a thermometer and adjust the recipe’s cooking time (or the heat dial) accordingly. (Incidentally, testing your oven will help you to get best results on other recipes too.)
For a pretty finish to your blondies, reserve some of the chips or walnuts and sprinkle over the top of the mixture – before baking (for nuts) or immediately after baking (for chocolate). If you use two types of chocolate chip, you can sprinkle them over the hot blondie mixture and swirl with a knife for a rippled effect.
Vary the chocolates and nuts you use in these blondies to find your favourite version.
- 110g (4oz) unsalted butter
- 1 cup soft brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 cup plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- Optional: 110g (4oz) chopped walnuts
- Optional: 110g (4oz) chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 175ºC and butter and line a 20cm square tin. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar. Cool slightly, then whisk in the egg and vanilla. Sift in the flour, salt and baking powder and stir in the optional additions (chocolate chips and nuts). Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-25 minutes (start checking early). If preferred, sprinkle some of the chips over the top of the blondie batter before baking. Cool on a wire rack and cut into fairly small squares to serve.