If I had to pick a favorite dessert, it would be brownies. Just the fudgy or chewy kinds, not the cakey ones. I have a favorite recipe, but I'm more than willing to try new ones, because you never know when you might find something else that's great. There are times, though, when I want something not as chocolatey. Lemon bars are another favorite bar cookie, but they're a little more fussy and time consuming (it always seems to take me forever to juice the lemons; my favorite recipe uses a lot of juice). Things with brown sugar are something else I like, so sometimes I just make blondies.
My favorite recipe (which I really need to blog one of these days) uses melted butter, lots of brown sugar, and no chemical leavening. So the texture ends up being rather dense and fudgy, a lot like the brownies I prefer. This weekend, though, I got to try a new version, thanks to Tuesdays with Dorie. Our hostess this week is Nicole of Cookies on Friday, and she picked Chewy Chunky Blondies for us to make. Dorie's version of blondies reads a lot like a chocolate chip cookie recipe (it uses the creaming method), but as usual, she adds all sorts of interesting things, to the point where there's almost more stuff than batter. =)
I decided to halve the recipe--in case we didn't like them that much, or we liked them too much. =) For the additions, I immediately eighty-sixed the coconut (if you've read my blog for any length of time you'll know why). I also decided to skip the nuts, since I wanted Brianna and Gillian to actually eat these. They don't seem to like any nuts but cashews and pistachios, and prefer to eat those out of hand, not in things. That left me with the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. For the chocolate chips, I went with bittersweet (Guittard 63%) since I knew the batter would be sweet. That made me worry about the butterscotch chips, which tend to be incredibly sweet. I wasn't up for that, but still wanted to add something besides the chocolate chips. I recently reorganized my chips collection (yes, I think it qualifies as a collection--I can think of about ten different kinds in my pantry right now) and I remembered that I had a bunch of peanut butter chips. Perfect! I used 100g each of chocolate and PB chips for my half recipe.
I mixed the dough by hand, like I do with chocolate chip cookies and my usual blondie recipe. The process was pretty straightforward. Cream together the butter and sugars (white and brown), then mix in the egg and vanilla. Next up, dry ingredients (AP flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt). I kept the original amount of salt even though I cut everything else in half, to help combat the sweetness a bit more. Finally, I stirred in the chips. The batter was very stiff, and was a bit of a challenge to spread evenly in the pan. I used an 8" square Pyrex pan (I really need to get a metal 8" pan one of these days), but left the oven temp at 325F. To make sure I'd be able to get the blondies out of the pan without a problem, I lined it with non-stick foil (I love that stuff!). I ended up baking them for 30 minutes or so (might have been a minute or two longer--I was upstairs and didn't hear the timer right away).
The verdict? I was prepared not too like these that much. After all, I messed with the add-ins, guessed at the baking time, and was worried about the texture, since they seemed to have puffed around the edges. I was thinking they'd be cakey, or dry. Well, I shouldn't have worried. Gillian pronounced them one of the best things I've made. Brianna inhaled hers as well. Jamie enjoyed them, too (especially the peanut butter chips). I liked the texture quite a bit--the top was crunchy and the inside chewy without being overly gooey.
If you'd like to try these for yourself (and have fun deciding what to mix in), you can find the recipe over at Nicole's blog. And be sure to check out this week's links to the other TWD bakers.