How to make blondies – recipe | Felicity Cloake’s Masterclasss

Blondie – by which I mean the bake, not the band, though I’m a fan of both – is to brownie as hamburg steaks are to burgers; the original, now far eclipsed by the popularity of its more famous child. Dense, fudgy brownie recipes date from the late 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1906 that cocoa first put in an appearance; until then, all brownies were buttery blondies.

Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Makes 1 x 20cm tray

165g butter, plus extra for greasing
75g shelled pecans
170g white chocolate
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine salt
175g light brown sugar
50g demerara sugar
2 eggs
, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sea salt flakes
, to top (optional)

1 Melt the butter

Cut the butter into cubes. If using salted butter, you may wish to tweak the amount of salt in the rest of the recipe, depending on your sensitivity, though these are sweet enough for it not to matter too much. Put the cubes in a wide, preferably light-coloured (ie, silver) pan on a medium-low heat, and swirl the pan to help it melt.

2 Decant into a jug

Once the foam has died down, watch the pan like a hawk and get a small, heatproof jug or bowl to hand. As soon as the solids at the bottom of the pan turn from white to brown and the butter smells almost nutty, tip the melted butter into this vessel and leave to cool until barely warm (if you’re in a hurry, put the jug in a bath of cold water).

3 Toast the nuts

Meanwhile, roughly chop the pecans (or other nuts – the slightly bitter flavour of walnuts, say, makes a nice contrast, as do salted peanuts – seeds, crumbled biscuits, dried fruit or dried coconut), toast them in the same pan until they smell similarly nutty, then set aside (NB there’s no need to toast dried fruit or biscuits).

4 Chop the chocolate

Roughly chop the white chocolate, if using (unless it’s already in chips). This feels like the classic choice with the vanilla-scented blondie, but you may prefer to use milk or dark chocolate instead, or chopped chocolate bars of your choice; as long as the crumb itself isn’t chocolate-flavoured, it’s still not a brownie!

5 Start on the batter

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 5 and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Beat the sugars into the cooled butter until dissolved (or vice versa, if that’s easier), then beat in the eggs and vanilla.

6 Finish the batter

Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mix with a large metal spoon or silicone spatula until thoroughly combined.

Once you can see no dry patches of flour, fold in the white chocolate and nuts, being careful not to mix it any more than necessary, otherwise this will make the cake tough and chewy.

7 Bake the blondie mix

Spoon the batter into the tin, put in the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes, until set on top and beginning to come away from the edges of the tin, but still a bit squidgy underneath (unless you’d like a more solid result, perhaps for ease of transportation, in which case leave it in for about five minutes longer).

8 Chill, then cut into squares

While the blondie is baking, prepare a shallow sink of iced water. The moment the cake is cooked, plunge the tin into the cold water, being careful not to let any get into the pan. Once it’s cooled slightly, cut the cake into squares, then ideally leave them to firm up completely, though you may not be able to resist them warm. Sprinkle with salt, if using.

9 Storage tips

The dense, fudgy texture of blondies (and brownies) means they freeze well. Wrap each cooled square in clingfilm or similar, then arrange in a single layer on a baking tray and freeze. Once frozen solid, transfer the blondies to a freezer bag for easier storage. Defrost fully before serving and, if you like, warm them until gooey in a microwave.

  • Discover Felicity’s recipes and many more from your favourite cooks in the new Guardian Feast app, with smart features to make everyday cooking easier and more fun

The Guardian

Leave a Reply