As I so boldly declared in my guide to holiday survival, December is the baking month. There’s no getting around it. You’ll be baking, your friends will be baking, everyone you know will either bake (or buy) a batch of gingerbread people in the frantic course of the next 31 days.
It’s enough to potentially turn someone off of gingerbread. An over-saturation, if you will.
Let’s start the month off simple. In non-gingerbread territory.
Let’s start the baking month off with some baking. But easy, delicious, ready in mere minutes baking.
Let’s leave the cookie decorating for December 21st.
These amazingly rich, tender and moist blondies are the universal answer to any of your baking questions: What will take less than 45 minutes? What will appeal to everyone at the party? What will satisfy my mid-morning craving for chocolate chip cookies (without the hassle of actually making them)? These will!
Bar cookies are the holidays’ way of saying: it doesn’t have to be so hard. Rather than spooning tablespoon after tablespoon of dough onto multiple baking sheets, these blondies ask only to be dumped (as dough) onto a tray, spread evenly, baked and cut. Easy, easy, easy.
Oh, yes. They also ask that you eat them warm. With milk.
PS. Browning the butter makes these. If you ignore this step, you will surely regret it.
PPS. You’re gonna love them!
Brown Butter Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chips
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter over medium heat and continue to cook until brown and fragrant. Remove from pan and pour into a heat-proof measuring cup. Allow to cool slightly. Combine brown butter (including brown bits at the bottom of the cup) and brown sugar. Beat until smooth and incorporated. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Add salt and stir in flour. Fold in chocolate chips.
Batter will be quite thick. Pour (or spoon) onto a buttered 8x8 baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, just until the middle is set. Chewy and gooey is best so don’t overcook.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.