Last week I went to visit one of my closest friends in York, by train, because I am a fool. I usually drive, but decided to take the train this time, reasoning that in the cumulative seven hours of train time over two days I could get a significant amount of work done. I did not take into account the fact that the train would have no working WiFi, or that you would only be lucky enough to be granted a plug socket if you had booked a window seat. So by the time I got to York I had basically wasted three and a half hours and was absolutely starving because I had also assumed the train would have food and so had not packed any lunch.
God, this is a really whiny blog post.
Anyway, when I got to York station there was a brownie stall, so we all know what happened there. I got many, many brownies. They also had blondies, which I did not buy because they were not brownies and brownies are basically my favourite food (I wish I was joking). But they did put the idea of blondies into my head. I realised I had never had one, and enquiries revealed that many of my friends did not know what they were. I think maybe they are more common in America?
The short story is that I made this batch and tried one and then immediately had to give them all away to stop myself from face-planting into the whole tray.
Source: Liberally adapted from the goddess at Smitten Kitchen.
Notes: I have taken the same approach to these as I would with brownies, i.e. that they should be dense and fudgy, rather than light and cakey. Thus I prefer to bake them the night, or a few hours, before I need them, enabling me to undercook them slightly and leave them to set and cool out of the oven, rather than drying them out. However, if you don’t have that kind of time, it’s perfectly fine to either add five minutes to the baking time or eat them hot and gooey from the pan with a fork (or your fingers, no judgement here).
You can obviously put whatever you want into these – different fruit, different nuts, skip the chocolate – but I think this is a winning combination.
This recipe is stupidly easy. You can put the batter together in ten minutes. There is no reason not to make them right now.
180g butter, melted and browned
270g dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
180g plain flour
80g dried cherries
80g toasted pecans
50g white chocolate
1. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin. Pop your pecans into the oven to toast for about 5 minutes – keep an eye on them and shake them around occasionally, because they will go from toasty-delicious to burnt frighteningly fast. Pop your butter in a pan to melt and brown it (you can just melt it if you are short on time, but if you take it to the stage of brown nuttiness then it will add an even better flavour to your blondies).
2. Mix your melted butter with your dark brown sugar, then beat until smooth, ensuring you get any lumps out of the sugar. Add your eggs and vanilla, beat again, then add your salt and flour and mix to combine. Chop your cherries and pecans fairly finely and mix them in too, then pour the mixture into the tin and level it out.
3. Break your white chocolate into squares and press them into the top of the raw blondie batter – you can also just mix them in, but I think white chocolate is extra tasty roasted and exposed directly to the heat of the oven.
4. Bake for around 20 minutes – you are looking for it to be set in the middle, but only just. Eat while hot and squidgy, or leave to cool and set for a few hours or overnight and cut into squares.