Friday, September 17, 2010

Grandma Lois' Blonde Brownies

These brownies are something special. When we were kids, my grandma would make them every time we came to visit. But that side of my family is pretty big (my mom has six brothers and sisters, and almost all of them have multiple kids) so a single (or even double) pan of brownies didn't go very far, especially when you count the number of boy grandchildren. We girls were lucky if we got a crumb of brownie. But that made them all the more special. Today my aunt, who lives across the country, asks my grandma to make her a pan of blonde brownies whenever she comes back home.

Like many things that are delicious, these brownies start with butter.
The butter gets melted and then mixed with brown and white sugars.
Butter and sugar. Butter and sugar. Butter and sugar.
To make sure you don't eat just the butter and sugar, crack in two eggs.

Gotta get protein when you can get it.

Is the salmonella threat enough of a deterrent to stop you from eating brownie batter?

It's not for me. Bring on the cake batter, the cookie dough, and two eggs over easy, please.
Next comes a mixture of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

The original recipe called for these to be mixed in a separate bowl. You know what? I never mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl unless there's a very, very specific reason (like the need for sifting). I try to make sure the soda and powder are well distributed in the flour before I really start stirring and I've never bitten into a chunk of baking powder in these brownies yet.
Give everything a good stir. Your last ingredient will be a nice splash of vanilla.

People wonder if vanilla makes a big difference in baking. It does! Once I forgot to add the vanilla and eating the brownies was just a downer. It really felt like they were missing something. It was like eating chocolate cake without frosting--it was okay, but you know it could be way better.

And I'm going to take time to preach again about the virtues of good, quality vanilla. One time I was forced to use cheap, fake Mexican vanilla. The brownies tasted like Play-Doh. Please, for the love of all food that is holy, spend the extra couple bucks and get the real thing. Real vanilla ... it's not just for holiday baking.

Spread the brownie batter into a greased cake pan.

Resist the urge to put your handprints in the dough and writing your name. I know I always want to do this. But that's what fresh cement is for.
Now comes the fun part--the toppings!

My grandma's original recipe called for semisweet chips only, and for them to be mixed into the batter.

I found that using a variety of chips (my favorite blend is here, butterscotch and semisweet chips, along with pecans) helps cut the sweetness of the brownies somehow. And sprinkling them on top, rather than mixing them in, makes them less messy to eat, and, I think, prettier.
Sprinkle your chips and nuts over the batter. Try to make sure you get a good amount around the edges; the edges rise up a bit and can push the toppings off if you're not careful. And, not that the brownies are bad plain, but why would you want plain brownies when you can get the dressed up version?
Now pop them in the oven and let them work.

When they're done, be sure to grab one before the rest of the family catches on. That way, you're guaranteed to get at least one!

Recipe: Grandma Lois' Blonde Brownies
2/3 c. (10 2/3 tbsp.) butter, melted
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1/2 c. pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine butter and sugars. When cooled slightly, stir in eggs.

Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Stir in vanilla.

Spread batter into greased cake pan.

Sprinkle chips and nuts over the top, taking care to get toppings into corners and sides.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

1 comment:

  1. I showed this to grandma and she said they looked very fancy!