Chocolate Chip Blondies

Chocolate Chip BlondiesNote to self: taking a 2 week baking “vacation” maybe isn’t the best idea. 14 days out of the kitchen is a pretty long time. You tend to forget basic skills, such as reading directions clearly, and knowing what sized pans you own. My first trip back into the kitchen after my sabbatical resulted in not one but two, and almost three potentially disastrous mistakes…

It’s not that I didn’t want to bake these past 2 weeks. It’s not that I couldn’t bake. It’s just the mere fact that I’m absolutely, unequivocally lazy. I literally just sat around the house doing next to nothing. Well. Not entirely true. I’ve been glued to the Olympics like it’s my job. I don’t know what it is. I honestly haven’t even heard of half these people, and I would never find myself watching these sports in any other setting. Really. When would I ever think, “hey let’s go see a Biathlon”? But put it on the Olympics and I can’t take my eyes off it. There’s just something about watching the best people in the world excel in what they love that just gets me. That, and the inherent danger of the Winter Olympic sports. I don’t think there’s a single sport that doesn’t defy laws of gravity or hold the possibility of severe physical injury. I mean seriously—have you seen Skeleton? Who in their right mind would throw themselves down an ice tube, going 80mph headfirst and facedown, with nothing underneath them but a cafeteria tray on skis?? These people have to be crazy! And I just can’t get enough. So instead of spending time in the kitchen baking, I’ve been sitting on the couch for the past 2 weeks, holding my breath and mumbling “holy $#&%” the entire time.

But enough about the Olympics. Let’s talk about these Blondies. They came from this great book called, appropriately enough, Great Cookies by Carole Walter. I think I used up half a pack of post-its marking all the recipes I wanted to try. The first—Chocolate Chip Blondies. They’re basically just thick chocolate chip cookies in a handy bar size. Yum! I read over my recipe and directions before I started, and thought, these sound simple. I can totally do this! I sifted my dry ingredients and cut my 2 sticks of butter into cubes and threw them into a glass bowl in the microwave to melt, then added my brown sugar. On to the next part of the recipe. Cream the remaining stick of butter and granulated sugar together. Wait, what? It said to melt my butter. Looking back up at my previous directions—“Warm ½ cup (1 stick) of butter, either in a saucepan or in the microwave until just melted.” Crap. I was only supposed to melt half the butter. Well. Too late now. Time to improvise. It ended up a lot more like my mom’s style of baking, just throwing everything in and hoping for the best, but the dough came out tasting pretty decent. So maybe there was hope. Time to spread it on my pan and bake it!

Chocolate Chip BlondiesA 10x15-inch jelly roll pan. That’s gotta be my big one right? The one I used to make my Petit Fours and my Berry Roulade. Yeah, it’s gotta be that one. As I’m trying desperately to spread my dough as thin as I can to miraculously get it to reach all four corners to no avail, I notice my pan has measurements printed on the little handle at the end. 11x17. Ah! No wonder this isn’t working. I should actually be using my smaller pan after all. So after scraping it all back off and smoothing it out in the right sized pan, it was time to finally head to the oven.

While my first two mistakes weren’t really make or break disasters, the third and final one I almost made would have proved fatal for my poor little batch of Blondies. The recipe said to bake the pan for 28 to 30 minutes. Something told me to set my timer for 25 minutes and start checking early. My nose told me at 23 minutes that there was a good chance they were already done. That yummy baked cookie smell suddenly hit me and my brain said, “Hey. Go check on them.” Sure enough, the top of my Blondies were perfectly golden. If I had left them on for the 28 minutes the recipe said, they would have been perfectly burnt to a crisp.

So with only a few minor bumps and a major crisis averted, these Chocolate Chip Blondies came out really good! I’m slightly ashamed to say that I ate somewhere close to a third of the pan by myself... And my coworkers seemed to like them too! Several of them took 2 or 3, and my favorite comment of the night was, “Oh yeah. Oh, HELL yeah.” These are definitely on the “Make Again” list. I’ll just pay better attention to what I’m doing next time. Mmm. I can totally see these at a bake sale… And I can already imagine these with all sorts of other mix-ins, like butterscotch or peanut butter chips, or M&Ms… Nuts for those who like them. Hmm… The possibilities…

Oh I almost forgot! In case you're curious to the answers of my "Creative Facts", here they are! There's actually a bit of truth to all of them, but 2 of them are totally true.

1. I speak fluent Chinese. - False. I took 2 years of it in college, but I'm nowhere near fluent. Unless you call counting and saying hi and thank you fluent. Then yes. I am.

2. Most little kids want to be a astronaut or a doctor when they grow up. I wanted to be a babysitter. - Sadly, completely True. I was obsessed with The Babysitters' Club books when I was young, and that became my life's goal. Except that for the longest time, I hated kids. Little minor detail.

3. I've auditioned for American Idol. Twice. - False. I've been to the American Idol auditions in both Cleveland (Season 4) and Memphis (Season 6), but I was just moral support for my BFF Dani, who auditoned.

4. I helped run a Backstreet Boys fan website when I was in high school. - False. It was a 98Degrees site.. Yeah. Can't believe I just admitted that.

5. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 25. - True. I was scared to death of driving. It was only when my parents moved and I moved out on my own that I was basically forced to get it.

6. I was named after my grandmother. - False. I was named after child psychologist James Dobson's daughter Danae.

7. I played Liesl in the Sound of Music for our high school spring musical. - False. I was actually a nun in the chorus. Too much stage fright for me to be out on stage all by myself!

So there you go! Congrats to Michelle from One Ordinary Day for being the only one to get them right! You win... my admiration! :)

Chocolate Chip BlondiesChocolate Chip Blondies
Adapted from Great Cookies by Carole Walter
Makes 24 2½x2½-inch bars

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10 ½- by-15 ½ inch jelly roll pan well. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Warm ½ cup (1 stick) of butter, either in a saucepan or in the microwave until just melted, but a few pieces still remain. Remove from heat and add brown sugar, mixing well.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together remaining ½ cup (1 stick) of butter with granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Blend in melted butter mixture, and mix on medium speed until thick and creamy. Beat in vanilla.
5. Reduce speed to low and add in flour mixture a cup at a time, beating until just combined. Remove from mixer, and fold ½ cup chocolate chips by hand.
6. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, scrape batter onto prepared pan, spreading evenly and smoothing the top. Sprinkle remaining ¼ chocolate chips across top.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and edges start to pull away from sides of the pan. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Once cool, cut into bars.

Note: It may be helpful to line your pan with buttered parchment paper as well, leaving about an inch of overhang on the short sides of the pan to help you remove from the pan and cut easier. But this isn’t completely necessary. My batch cut and came out of the pan beautifully.
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sarahe said...

glad that the blondies still turned out great! I tend to do the same thing and get all discombobulated when I've been out of the kitchen for a bit. and your facts are so fun :)

oneordinaryday said...

Hahaha. Admiration is good enough for me!

I'm hooked on the Olympics too! I can't wait to see Apollo tonight!! Go short track!

I'm glad you shared all your travails making these. I do things like that too and sometimes my husband kicks me out of the kitchen entirely. ;) I love the chocolate chip addition instead of butterscotch chips. I'd definitely prefer your version.

Ingrid said...

Darn Michelle! :)

I'm sure this is no surprise that I'm thinking those bars look mighty tasty! I've yet to meet a bar I didn't like!

Happy Friday!

Karen said...

Yeah, I wish recipes would say something like "divided use" when they list an amount. Like the recipe will say 2 sticks butter. Then in the directions it says "melt half the butter" well, I don't see the "half" so I melt the whole thing. Been there, done that... glad they came out yummy anyway!

Jamie said...

I feel ya! These blondies look fabulous!

Lucy said...

Mmm I'm not surprised you ate some of these yourself - they look totally irresistible :) Gorgeous (and perfect to munch on in front of the Olympics!)

Karine said...

Your blondies look delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

Amanda said...

My mouth is watering. I'm making these the next time I have reason to. (That sounds hilariously non-committal. I crack myself up sometimes.)

Dot said...

Yum! these look so good..!

Just wanted to let you know that we've linked to your bacon cupcakes from last year for Bacon Week at Foodwhirl.com.


Thanks for sharing it!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Mmmm... totally delicious! I bet these have like 200 calories per bite LOL.

mecca said...

I love chocolate chip blondies and have tried many recipes! They always tasted like a chocolate chip cookie, and not a blondie. Well, i made these yesterday, and "THIS IS A TRUE BLONDIE"! Two thumbs up all the way! I will try them with walnuts next time, but right now, i'm satified! My search is finally over...."you go girl"!

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