Source: Smitten Kitchen and my childhood
Yield: One 9×9 pan
When I was in middle school, my mom would pay me ten dollars a week to wash the kitchen floor. From what I recall, I usually did it when I was home alone, so I could crank up the music and glide around the kitchen like a blissed-out Cinderella. Sometime during that era, I also learned how to make blondies from scratch. I had found some recipe in my mom’s worn, fragile family cookbook — one that was filled with her own mother’s handwriting — and I was sold on the simple combination of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Easy, delicious, perfect.
I remember making that recipe one afternoon before I started washing the floor. As I prepped my cleaning supplies, the pan of blondies — set out on the counter to cool — sat patiently waiting for me to devour them. One bucket of hot, soapy water later, I was in a rhythm: run the mop up one row of floor tile, stop at the counter, eat a blondie square, run the mop down the next row of floor tile. Repeat. Until most of the blondies were gone. Now THAT, my friends, is the way to make household chores fun. I might as well have been a puppy in training, eager for my comestible reward.
You might think I’d have ruined blondies for myself, associating them with kitchen cleaning. But no. For one thing, I actually kind of liked cleaning the kitchen floor. And for another, blondies are irresistibly delicious. Warm, caramelized brown sugar; thick, chewy, buttery bites; plenty of room for whatever add-ins suit your fancy, from chocolate chips to nuts to dried fruit. These cherry pistachio white chocolate blondies have all three. They’re ripe for experimentation, too, so feel free to adapt your add-ins. But I think this particular combination is my favorite.
To this day, eating a blondie hits some part of my brain that says “Good! Good good good!” I’m pretty sure I would do most any chore with the promise of a blondie at the end. Clearly, positive reinforcement works.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt (reduce to a pinch if you’re using salted butter)
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
1/3 cup chopped salted pistachios
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
(A note on the amount of add-ins — feel free to add more or less of each depending on your taste. I did an even split among the three and it was pretty perfect.)
Another awesome thing about blondies? They could not be easier to make. A baking pan, a saucepan, and a stove are all you need. And also, ingredients. Unless you’re making Air Blondies, which, if you are, get off my blog.
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9×9 square baking pan and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then beat in your egg. Stir in flour, then fold in cherries, pistachios, and chips.
Smooth batter into pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it.
Cool, then cut into however many squares you want.