Epic Blondies

A year in the making. 

One of the easiest things to bake is a simple blondie recipe – melt some butter, add some sugar, egg, flour, and you’re pretty much set- but oh, the possibilities! My starting place was another Smitten Kitchen recipe entitled, “blondies, infinitely adaptable,” and from there, I went down the rabbit hole. I work with a LOT of computer scientists, who have taught me the power of iteration and comparative analysis. This particular recipe took a year of A / B testing. 

Ever tasted the wonders of browned butter? Basically, you melt butter over a low heat until it starts to simmer and this gorgeous froth starts to bubble up. It will take a while and you will be tempted to turn the heat up. If you reeeally can’t wait, you can melt it down to liquid over medium, but be sure to get it back down to a low heat so it doesn’t burn. After it froths, stir over a low heat using a rubber spatula to scrape up the delicious bits of brown that blossom on the bottom. When you start to see brown appearing, keep stirring and watch it like a hawk to be sure it doesn’t burn. When it turns from a few golden speckles to a nutty brown and even starts to smell a bit nutty, you will know it’s perfect. This flavor was the key to my blondie perfection. 

You know what else kicks the flavor up a notch? Toast the nuts before putting them in the blondies.  Trust me, the toasting makes a huge difference in the final flavor. I’ve got  few favorite flavor combinations, but there was a clear winner from my extensive A/B testing — toasted walnuts, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries. Another amazing combo is toasted pecans, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.

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