Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie

pinit fg en rect gray 28 Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie

Two blondies Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie

If you are not yet familiar with that chewy, caramel wonder bar of a cookie known as a Blondie, you are in for a WOW taste experience. I can’t imagine how you missed it, however, considering it’s preeminence on the web. To see what I mean, check out the amazing collection of Blondies (with stunning photos) at TasteSpotting, FoodGawker, and DessertStalking. Holy cow!

Adding melted butter to brown sugar Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie

After conducting a fair amount of research on the Blondie, I debated whether I should add my own simple recipe to the treasure trove. After all, there are already so many tempting renditions from which to choose. But I decided to go ahead based partly on the size of the pan specified in most of the other recipes I surveyed.

Adding beaten eggs to brown sugar and butter base Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie

If you use the typically specified 9- by 13-inch baking pan for this amount of batter, your Blondies will be a mere ½- to ¾-inch in height. That just doesn’t seem right for The Divine Miss B. I much prefer my Blondies to be 1- to 1½-inches in height. After all, this is not a cookie for dainty consumption. It’s meant to be blowsy, carefree, and indulgent, rather than refined, elegant, or dainty.

Folding in the flour Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie

Another way in which my recipe differs from most of those I surveyed is that it uses only brown sugar. Why hold back on that fabulous caramel flavor? Bring it on I say. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would use a mixer for these cookies when they turn out perfectly with a few turns of a big spatula.

Trio Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie

In fact, if you have a young wannabe baker in the house who is ready for her first baking lesson, this cookie is the perfect place to begin. Except for melting the butter (which is easily done in the microwave), the rest of the prep involves only a bowl and a big spatula. Child’s play. And chewy, gooey, lick smacking results are practically guaranteed. No one can resist a big beautiful Blondie!

Fresh from the oven Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie

Note   For a humorous Battle of the Blondies, be sure to jump over to Q’s Eats to see how Smitten Kitchen’s Blondies and Martha Stewart’s Blondies fared against one another. I’m not going to take sides, as I haven’t tasted either contestant’s version, but I will say that baking powder is an important ingredient in my Blondies, and that both Deb and Martha’s versions use too large a pan in proportion to the amount of batter. I do agree, however, that a tall, very cold glass of milk is the perfect accompaniment to this much loved bar cookie.

Three blonds on a plate Oh You Great Big Beautiful Blondie

Caramel Blondies

Blondies are the perfect bar cookie for office treats, picnics, or anytime you want a portable dessert with plenty of WOW flavor appeal. Add chewy to the mix, and no one can resist.

This recipe is a snap to remember, much like the Blondie itself. Just add 2 of everything but the salt: 2 sticks of butter, 2 cups of brown sugar, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 cups of flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder.

I have seen many Blondie recipes that specify a 9- by 13-inch baking pan for this amount of batter. That will make a very thin Blondie, which is NOT what I’m after here. This Blondie is big, bold, and extra chewy. An altogether SWEET experience.

Note   I prefer an 8- by 8-inch baking pan, but if you want a somewhat thinner Blondie, use a 9- by 9-in baking pan.

vegetable oil spray or unsalted butter, to coat the pan
1 tablespoon all purpose flour, to coat the pan

1 cup unsalted butter or unsalted browned butter  
2 cups packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
 2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

  1. Line an 8- by 8-inch (8-cup capacity) or 9- by 9-inch (10-cup capacity) metal baking pan with two crisscrossing strips of foil, shiny side down. Coat the foil lightly with vegetable spray or softened butter and sprinkle on the flour. Tap the pan from side to side to evenly coat with flour and then tap out any excess. Reserve.
  2. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave.  Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the brown sugar.
  3. Cool the mixture until just warm but not hot. Stir in the beaten eggs and vanilla.
  4. Over the top of the batter, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine well.
  5. Spread batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake at 350? for about 35 minutes, until the top of the cookies is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist, but not gooey crumbs. With these cookies, it is better to err on the side of under done than over done.
  7. Cool on a wire rack, and then lift the Blondies out of the pan using the edges of the foil.
  8. Cut with a serrated knife into 2- by 2-inch squares.
  9. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Makes sixteen 2-inch square bar cookies.

Variations

Basically, you can add 1-2 cups of almost anything to your Blondies to jazz them up. Think chopped peanut butter cups, chopped toffee, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, or any chopped nut.  Or ½ cup creamy peanut butter or almond butter. Or ½ cup of mashed fruit or vegetable, such as banana, cooked pumpkin, cooked sweet potato. Or 1-2 cups whole berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries. Or some combination of the above. You can also add spices, such as cinnamon, allspice, and cloves to the basic batter.

Here are a few of my favorite variations:

Caramel Walnut Blondies

Above ingredients
2-3 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped

  • Follow basic directions, adding walnuts to the finished batter.

Caramel Coconut Blondies

Above ingredients
2 cups shredded coconut

  • Follow basic directions, adding coconut to the finished batter.

Peanut Butter Caramel Blondies

This version is supreme goodness. You get the chewy caramel cookie with dollops of creamy peanut butter caramel throughout. The method specified below assures even distribution of the Peanut Butter Caramel.

Above ingredients
2-3 ounces Peanut Butter Caramel, 16-20, 1½ teaspoon dollops, frozen (recipe coming soon)

  1. Follow basic directions, but spread only half the batter in the pan.
  2. Top the batter with 16-20, 1½ teaspoon size dollops of frozen Peanut Butter Caramel. (See photos above.)
  3. Spread the rest of the batter over the top of the dollops, and smooth with an offset spatula. (See photos above.)
  4. Let rest 15 minutes before baking as directed in the basic recipe.

More Blondie and Brownie Recipes from LunaCafe

I Love Hear­ing from You!

Let’s talk. Include your blog URL and Com­mentLuv will auto­mat­i­cally link back to your most recent blog post.  Happy baking!  …Susan

Copy­right 2012 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.

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About Susan S. Bradley

Intrepid cook, food writer, culinary instructor, author of Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking, and founder of the Northwest Culinary Academy.

Comments

  1. Keep oon working, great job!
    Aurora´s last blog post ..AuroraMy Profile

  2. I just made the basic recipe this week and sent some over to neighbors after a humongous snowstorm that everyone was out helping each other with. Everyone who’s tried them want the recipe so this is a real winner if you haven’t tried it yet! I did let bake longer and the one thing I added was 1/2 bag of butterscotch chips. This added a small snap to the texture which I loved but definitely not a must. Used a 9×9″ pan and they still came out nice and thick.

  3. Here’s the URL for the Peanut Butter Caramel: http://thelunacafe.com/peanut-butter-caramel/

  4. I too had a problem with it not cooking in the time given, but I wanted them so bad, I let them keep cooking, almost twice as long! They didn’t burn or anything. They’re perfect! I’ve been looking for a chewy, flaky crusted blondie and was unsuccessful until now! Thanks!

  5. I have a dairy allergy and i love coconut flavor but not shredded coconut, so I adapted this recipe by using 1/2 cup Earth Balance soy free vegan butter and 1/2 cup coconut oil — melted together — then at the end added some vegan chocolate chips. Wonderful! Thanks for a simple, delicious recipe.

  6. I just wanted to send you a note and let you know I was successful in making these gluten free using cup4cup flour. We made them with chocolate chips first, then days later made a second batch with white chocolate and cranberries. I’m hoping to give your Rhubarb cardamom lime muffins a whirl with the cup4cup flour, I’ve missed them since going gluten free.

  7. Hello! I am very late to this Blondie party…just found these on Pinterest, and they look better than any other ones I’ve seen! :) Mmmm! I don’t seem to be able to find your Peanut But­ter Caramel recipe/post…could you direct me to it when you get a chance? Thank you so much for such a lovely recipe, and for your help! :)

  8. Thank you so much for introducing us to your wonderful blondies!
    I’m looking forward to making them, and was wondering if you may be willing to say how much 2 cups of dark brown sugar, and 2 cups of all-purpose flour should weigh. (I trust the kitchen scale…)
    Thank you!

    • Micky, i usually include the weight for flour in baking recipes. It’s not super critical here, but 2 cups of all-purpose flour weighs 9 ounces and 2 cups of packed dark brown sugar weighs 12 ounces. Hope this helps…

  9. I know you posted this recipe awhile ago, but I just wanted to say that I tried this this evening, and it’s sooo delicious! I made the plain version but now I’m dying to try all sorts of variations!

    So good, thank you!
    Mandy´s last blog post ..A Little HopeMy Profile

  10. Hi there! I made these blondies twice, and they taste awesome but the only problem is that only the sides bake well, while the center ends up way underbaked. Not jiggly, but there just is no crumb like the edges do. :c Any suggestions on what I should check?

    • Sam, have you checked your oven temerature and/or tried increasing the baking time by 5-10 minutes? What you describe is a characteristic of brownies and blondies alike. The edges are different than the center. The center will be denser, but of course should not be unbaked. i have a new pan that I will try on my next bake of these. It’s called a biscotti pan and is long and narrow. This shape should help considerably is allowing the heat to reach the center of the pan quickly. I’ll post the results back here. The only other thing I can think of (which works fantastically for cakes) is to wrap the pan with damp baking strips. This keeps the edges from overbaking while the center reaches the correct internal temperature. I’ll also note waht that temperature should be at the center of the pan of blondies. Thanks vey much! …Susan

  11. Oh, Jessica, I’m so sorry these aren’t working for you. The flour measurement can vary dramatically, depending on how the flour is measured (dip and sweep or spoon and sweep). I do wish I had specified the flour weight here.

    When I run another test on these, I’ll come back to the post and add the flour weight. That said, I have been making this particular Blondie for many years and have always loved it. It is moist but not greasy in my tests.

    Just to be sure I didn’t introduce an error in the formula, however, I checked a couple of other reliable sources to see if the butter is out of proportion to the flour and it appears to be a rather typical proportion for this particular cookie. Nevertheless, by all means cut the butter back and see if you like the results.

    I don’t understand your caramel result here either. Your own caramels, which however need to be on the very soft side, should have worked.

    All the Best…Susan

  12. I’ve made these brownies twice (using an 8 X 8 pan) and both times I have had to drastically overcook them and they were still very wet and pasty in the middle. I feel as though there is way too much butter in the recipe because they’re very greasy and just don’t seem to set up properly. I am a meticulous baker, and I know that my oven temperature is correct so I am unsure what happened. The second time I made these, I added my own homemade caramels and followed your procedure for adding peanut butter caramel. All my caramels sunk to the bottom and became rather hard because I had to bake them brownies for over 45 minutes because the middle was very jiggly and a toothpick was wet when inserted. I’ve made many of your recipes and believe you have an amazing talent for pairing flavors and perfecting recipes, but this was a double disappointment for me.

  13. Hi Susan,
    I sure appreciate the effort you have put into these unique recipes – for me they are just the right balance of sophisticated, yet approachable. I am enjoying myself poking around your blog.

    Any chance you will be getting back to the peanut butter caramel recipe soon? (Sorry to be a nudge!)
    Saskia

    • Saskia, thank you for your very kind words! I’m so sorry about the delay on the peanut butter caramel recipe. If I can’t get it posted tomorrow, I will simply include it here for you. We have had a whirlwind week with the birth of Lillian (Lily) Mary Ellen (our daughter Rachel’s first child) and just got back to Portland tonight. All the best…Susan

  14. Looks great. So moist looking. If they’d hold up to a few peanut butter chips it would make my husband happy!
    Mary A´s last blog post ..American Airlines – Adventures in flyingMy Profile

  15. I see typos on my comment…forgive me!
    Baking is my Zen´s last blog post ..Dulce De Leche Blondies Brownies cousinMy Profile

  16. I made the blondies and used sweetened condensed milk in the center, which turns to dulce de leche when cooked. My family loved it.

    Thanks for such a great recipe and ideas. Your log is wonderful. Lots to learn here!

    I had problems getting onto your site…don’t know why…it’s fine now.

    Heard a portion of your podcast. Very cool.

    Carmen
    Baking is my Zen´s last blog post ..Dulce De Leche Blondies Brownies cousinMy Profile

  17. Michelle says:

    Great-looking blondies, and thanks! Any chance you can post the peanut butter caramel recipe in time for me to bring these to a friend at the end of July, for a housewarming party? I suspect it’s melted caramels and peanut butter and possibly cream or sweetened condensed milk, but it would be great to have the actual recipe. My friend loves hidden things in her sweets, and these are just the ticket.

    • Michelle, thanks for the reminder. I’ll try to get this posted tonight. It is a simple caramel with added peanut butter, but the proportion of the two parts is important–so that one element does not cancel out the other. The peanut butter tends to dominate. I had to test this a couple of times to get the balance right. Adding the peanut butter at the right point in the process is also important to the final silky consistency. This stuff is so good, I eat it out of the bowl with a spoon. :-)

  18. Forgot to ask one other important question. Is the butter measured before or after the melting? Thanks.

    • Mandy, in this recipe, the butter is measured before melting, but it doesn’t really matter as the measurement will be the same for soft or melted butter regardless. However, if you are going to use browned butter, measure after you brown the butter because evaporation will occur in the process. The measurement difference will be slight though and won’t make a perceptible difference in this particular recipe. Just go for it. :-)

  19. I have to make thank you gifts for over a dozen places. My mom passed away shortly from a long battle with cancer and I want to thank all the people who personally helped her in her darkest hours (Hospice, doctors and staff, ambulance squad, etc.) I wanted to make thick blondies and brownies (put them in nice enclosed tins, wrapped with colored cellophane and ribbons). Can I double the recipe and use a bigger pan or will, as I fear, the center be raw and the edges overdone. I would love your take and any suggestions you can give me on this. Thanks!

    • Mandy, what a sweet and personal thank you gift. My heart goes out to you and your family.

      The blondies will work out fine with a doubled recipe in a 9- by 13-inch pan. Regardless of which pan you use, the edges are always a little more done that the center. I like this contrast, but if you want to ensure even baking from edge to center, before baking, wrap the pan in dampened baking strips (available at Sur La Table or other fine kitchenware stores). That always does the trick.

  20. I really shouldn’t be browsing your website when I am hungry, especially when you have such a super yummy looking treat on your homepage.

  21. Oh my..such amazing looking blondies, the PB caramel filling sounds awesome!
    pigpigscorner´s last blog post ..Hakka Braised Pork Belly Char Yoke 客家南乳炸猪肉My Profile

  22. Can’t wait to see the PB caramel recipe too, that combination sounds AMAZING (maybe alternating with strawberry jam?
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Bread With a Real JobMy Profile

  23. Stop it! You have my tummy growling and the keyboard is wet with drool. I want one soooo bad!! I’m doing a month without sugar and grains and it is okay till I look at something like this then I’m ready to do the iron man race to get one! Hope your summer is going smashing!
    Dana Zia´s last blog post ..Practice safe grilling in the heat of the momentMy Profile

    • Dana, LOL! :-) So sorry to torture you. You have far more discipline than I. Bravo! Summer FINALLY arrived here today. I think you are experiencing the same on the coast, eh? I can now start focusing on all the fresh veggies and fruit at the farmers markets. Why just today I created a Dark Chocolate BEET Cake. :-)

  24. Wow these look fab! I’m not a blondie person but looking at these makes me drool!
    Thanks!

  25. LOVE Blondies. I’m the only one in my house that does though. Everyone else is chocoholics. :) I’ve made them with toffee chips too. Great combination. Thanks for sharing.
    Ann´s last blog post ..Iced CoffeeMy Profile

  26. I am confused, what are the balls of yummy looking stuff in the pan in your pics that you are covering with the blondie mixture?

    • Sorry, Jay. If you hover over the picture, you will see that these are frozen balls of peanut butter caramel. Directions for this variation are in the Variations section below the main recipe. You an use this same method for evenly distributing any additions, such as chopped peanut butter cup candy. I will post the Peanut Butter Caramel recipe soon. Best…Susan

  27. I am SO craving a blondie after reading this! Great photos.
    Joanne´s last blog post ..Homemade Linguine with Zucchini- Capers- Lemon- Pine Nuts- and Herbs – Cook the BooksMy Profile

  28. This is so similar to my blondie recipe except I brown the butter first adding two tbsp’s extra for evaporation. I mix it right in the sauce pan where I browned the butter. So good! I agree with you about pan size..I like’em thick and chewy, too.

    • Susan, I use brown butter too on ocassion. I always prepare a big batch and keep it on hand in the frig. It makes all desserts better. Try the peanut butter caramel variation if you get a chance. Of course, first, I have to actually post the recipe for the peanut butter caramel. Soon, soon… :-)

  29. I’m looking for a few quick desserts to bring to a BBQ on Sunday. I just may use this.
    Great photos!!

    Carmen
    Baking is my Zen´s last blog post ..Celebrate July 4th with Pastry Cream filled Coconut CupcakesMy Profile

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  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SMS Bradley, Megan Geromichalos. Megan Geromichalos said: RT @LunaCafe: SO GOOD! Caramel Blondies with Three Variations, including Peanut Butter Caramel Blondies. http://bit.ly/bIv9OX [...]

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