Square and blonde and sweet all over, this Ovenly recipe is made with a combination of dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, and a heap of honey. Chunks of raw pecans keep them from being cloyingly sweet, and a teaspoon of salt makes all the flavors pop.
Tips: Using chocolate that's 60% cacao or higher is the key to keeping these blondies from tasting too syrupy. It's also the preferred percentage of Ovenly authors Erin and Agatha, who also recommend increasing the amount of chips in the recipe to 2/3 cup, if you are a chocolate lover (and who isn't?). A nice semisweet or bittersweet chocolate goes very well with brown sugar, and helps the pecans stand out, rather than being an incidental inclusion.
Tweaks: Since Ovenly is known for adding salt to their sweets, I thought that these would have been a bit more balanced. They weren't hypersweet, but they did lack the brightness and depth salt can bring to baked goods. Perhaps a more generous helping of kosher salt in the batter would have made things better. A sprinkling of flaked salt on the blondies before they baked would have provided a more dramatic contrast.
Excerpted from Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin (Harlequin Nonfiction). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Winona Barton-Ballentine.
- Yield:makes 16 blondies
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:45 minutes
- Softened unsalted butter and all-purpose flour, for preparing the baking pan
- 1 stick + 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup chopped raw pecans
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with softened butter and dust the pan with flour.
In a small saucepan over low heat (or in a small, microwave-safe bowl in a microwave oven), melt the butter and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugars, honey, egg, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the flour and chocolate chips, and mix together with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.
Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan. Smooth out the top and edges, and then top with the pecans.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the center is just set and the edges are barely golden. The blondies will be fully set when cool
Cool completely before cutting the blondies into 16, 2 x 2-inch squares.