It’s hard for me to imagine that I’ve been blogging for long enough to have classic recipes but this definitely is one of them. Back in December 2009, through luck and well-placed drinks, I managed to capture the crowd favourite prize at a Foodimeet bake-off with these blondies.
In my youthful exuberance (well, the blog was young, I wasn’t really) I wrote a post about the event, the blondies, and the bacon that I cured myself for them. I might have made the recipe once or twice more then promptly retired it to my dishes-I’m-bored-with-making list.
Thankfully, after more than two years there I’m ready to bring the bacon blondies back. For the Super Bowl party I went to this year I added an extra layer of indulgence in the form of whipped peanut butter frosting with a chocolate swirl.
The other change that I think really turns up the good came as a suggestion from Michelle Edgar, co-owner and head dessert wizard at The Sweet Escapes. When Michelle makes blondies she browns the butter instead of just melting it give the squares another level of a richness and complementary sweetness. Coincidentally, Michelle also took a trophy home from that bake-off two years ago, but hers was in the pro category.
Adapted from the blondies recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that was published July 1, 2005.
Blondies are the love child of chocolate-chip cookies and brownies. The shape of one, the flavour of the other. Obviously bacon just adds that little bit extra.
Prep time: 20M Cook time: 25M Total time: 45M
Yield: One 9 x 9 pan of bacon blondies.
- 115 g (4 oz) good-quality bacon or my cinnamon dessert bacon for the ambitious
- 210 g (7.5 oz, 1 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 170 g (6 oz, 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned
- 300 g (10 1/2 oz, 1 1/2 packed cup) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten so that the yolks and whites have just started to integrate
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g (5 oz) semi-sweet, bitter-sweet, or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped so that no piece is larger than about a centimeter and a half cube. I used pistoles this time but the Baker’s squares also work as will chips in a pinch.
- Arrange slices of bacon on a well-greased broiler tray or a similarly lubricated wire rack and cookie sheet setup and put the pan into a cold oven. Set oven to 400°F and cook until bacon is just starting to crisp, turning once. I find this takes about twelve minutes a side but that will vary widely depending on how thick your bacon is. Thin store-bought stuff will be done more quickly and you want to be careful not to over crisp the bacon. Remove from oven and pat with paper to remove excess fat. Cut into bacon bit size pieces.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Create two aluminum foil slings that are each about four inches longer than the length of a standard brownie pan (9″ X 9″). Fit the aluminum foil into the pan so that the excess hangs over both of the short sides of the pan. Use your fingers to press the foil tightly into the corners of the pan. Spray the inside of the pan and foil liberally with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk dry ingredients (AP flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt) in a medium-size bowl until very well combined.
- In another medium bowl (the larger of the two if there is a difference) whisk together the browned and cooled butter and the brown sugar. Try to break up any clumps of sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue whisking until well combined.
With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there are no large clumps of flour but the ingredients are not fully integrated. Add the bacon and the chocolate and continue folding until the ingredients are barely integrated. There should still be faint hints of flour in places but no un-hydrated clumps. Do not over mix or gluten will form and the blondies will be tough and chewy.
Bake in preheated oven for 23 to 26 minutes (obviously by setting your novelty pig timer to 23 minutes and checking every minute after it rings). Flip the pan once (front to back, not top to bottom) during cooking. The blondies are done when the top surface has started to crack and is just turning a golden brown in spots.
- Remove from the oven and cool, in the pan, on a wire rack. Use the aluminum foil sling to lift the blondies from the pan and peel the foil away. (Parchment paper would be easier to peel but because it doesn’t have the heft of foil I’m not sure that it would perform the sling function as well.)
- Serve the bacon blondies on their own or top with peanut butter-chocolate frosting. (Stay tuned for a separate post with my recipe or check out this one that I used as a rough base.) I usually prefer a very softly cooked blondie but with the addition of fluffy icing found that the chewier texture of a more well-cooked version made for a nice contrast. Vary yours between 23 and 26 minutes depending on your preference.