You have served me well, it’s true, but after almost 20 years of faithfulness to you, my eyes and tastebuds are being tempted by others. There are, after all, totally desirable variances among chocolate chip cookies. While today I might want you thick and soft, tomorrow I may want you wide and flat. (But rest assured, I will never want you crispy.) More importantly, I might not feel like baking in batches, battling minute by minute to resist the unrelenting draw of your buttery raw dough as it sits and waits its turn in the oven. I might want an entire pan of cookies right now, in and out of the oven less than a half hour. After all, it’s hot outside.
We would have called these chocolate chip bar cookies when I was growing up. We probably would have just used the same exact dough recipe, perhaps with a minor variation in oven temperature. But “blondies” is more enticing name, calling to mind shockingly albino brownies. In my opinion, that’s much more enticing than chocolate chip cookies baked in a pan. Additionally, the good folks at Cook’s Illustrated figured out a few tweaks that make the dough more amenable to pan baking.
5 minutes of direct labor yields a full pan of caramelly, buttery, chewy blondies, with hits of pecan crunch and chocolaty richness in almost every bite. The version pictured here included only regular chocolate chips. I’ve also made it, as Cook’s Illustrated recommends, with half white and half dark chocolate, and found that delicious as well. Feel free also to use any kind of nut; walnuts and almonds would also be delicious. While I know that toasting nuts makes them even more delicious, in the middle of summer I’m willing to sacrifice that additional 15 minutes of oven time for my personal comfort.
Chocolate Chip and Pecan Blondies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make a foil sling in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan: Cut 16-inch and 12-inch lengths of foil. Layer them into the pan at right angles (the longer goes down the long way), covering the inside of the pan and smoothing the extra over the sides. Spray with non-stick spray. This will make it really easy to get the blondies out of the pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, combine butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Smooth the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until the top is shiny, cracked and golden brown, about 22-25 minutes. Do not overbake! Cool the blondies on a wire rack, then use the overhang on the foil sling to remove them from the pan in one big piece. Cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch squares.