Hi, my name is Emma (Hi, Emma!), and I have somewhat of an addiction to baking aisles. I’m like a kid in a candy store. Whether it’s in my own tiny grocery store or in a Super Target on the mainland, a trip down the baking aisle means distraction, desire, and inevitable additions to my shopping cart. Limited edition Andes Mint baking pieces? How could I possibly pass them by? Cute little heart-shaped Valentine marshmallows? Into the cart they go. En route for a single box of pudding mix to make some of my favorite Pudding Cookies? Somehow 4 different flavors make their way onto my receipt. Like I said, it’s a problem.
Naturally, when I decided to do a little de-cluttering of my baking cupboard after Christmas, I ended up with a multitude of half-full bags on my counter. Shredded coconut, miniature chocolate chips, pecan halves, chocolate chunks, white chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, butterscotch chips, semisweet chocolate chips, crushed peppermint candies, dried cranberries, stale dates, rancid walnuts, and golden raisins. Whew!
After throwing out the dates and walnuts (left over from the date-nut bread I made back on July) I stood there wondering how to use up all these space-stealing ingredients. Then it came to me! Blondies! Blondies, the often over-looked cousin of brownies, are essentially cookie-bars only better. They have the usual cookie base (butter, brown sugar, flour, vanilla, eggs…) but as they bake the brown sugar and butter do a magical thing and you end up with a chewy, gooey, almost caramelized concoction. They’re delicious as-is but are also the perfect blank slate to fill up with any type of add-ins you like. In this case I chose sweetened shredded coconut, chopped pecans, semisweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and white chocolate chips. I could have gone the whole nine yards and thrown in the crushed peppermints, dried cranberries, and raisins, but somehow that combination sounded substantially less appealing. And possibly inedible unless you’re, like, an 18-year-old brother. Those ones will eat anything!
Moral of the story: when you find yourself with way too much baking junk (I’m not the only one, right?!), just make blondies! They’re pretttty hard to resist, if I do say so myself. The good news is that now my baking cupboard is nice and de-cluttered…until my next trip to the store, that is!
Everything-but-the-Kitchen Sink Blondies
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9″x13″ pan and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add in the sugars and beat until well-combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
Gradually add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in the chips, coconut, and nuts. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until edges pull away from the pan and the top is golden-brown. Cool completely before slicing into bars.
(Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)