How was the weekend?? My weekend was quite good - because I chose for it to be good. I could have ran all over the city running errands in an effort to shrink my to-do list, but sometimes choosing to put yourself at the top of your to-do list is best. I chose to go to Pilates, take a 2 hr nap (I had a few dreams, so you know it was a good nap!), read, cook (I made this stew - so good!), and bake. It was like I took a little vacation from life and I'm kinda sad that it's over. But on with life and on with a new week!
So about what I baked... I think I've mentioned a few times here that I have a new job. The people I work with are really sweet and have made me feel very welcome over the last few weeks, so I thought I would make a little treat for them today. I wanted to make something really good for that I was already familiar with, so I decided to make Ina Garten's Chocolate Chunk Blondies. I've made these tons of times for people and they get rave reviews every single time. Simply put, they taste like a really rich chocolate chip cookie that is the form of a bar. The chocolate chunks melt into the bar and add the perfect amount of richness. The walnuts (which are optional) add right amount of crunch and compliment the sweetness of the blondie. These blondies are so good and are honestly super easy to make. So if you want to impress someone with a sweet treat, or attempt to do so, this would be a mighty fine option in my book... :)
Here is what you need and what to do (makes 12 large blondies):
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 lbs semisweet chocolate chunks (about 1 1/2 11.5 oz bags of Nestle's chocolate chunks), chocolate chips work, too if that is what you have on hand
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13x9x2 baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. Cut the paper long enough so that some of it hangs over the sides of the pan. Use binder clips to clip the overhang of the parchment paper to the sides of the pan. Spray the paper and sides of the pan with cooking spray. All of these steps will make it so much easier for you lift the blondies out of the pan when they are done. The alternative is to simply butter and flour the pan...
2. Add the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix the ingredients for 3 minutes - not a minute shorter! Add the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl down after each addition.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the mixer. Mix until everything is just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chunks and walnuts using a spatula.
4. This is the messy, but fun part! Pour the dough into the center of the prepared pan. Use your clean hands to spread the dough out evenly in the pan. This will be messy, but the goal is to make sure that the dough is even. The binder clips should be keeping the parchment paper in place at this point. Once you get the dough evened out, smooth the top with a spatula. This will look messy, but it will get prettier as it bakes!
5. Remove the binder clips (if using) and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (i.e. no uncooked dough). These are really dry if they cook too long, so make sure you don't over-bake them! Once they are done, let them cool in the pan. Once they are cool, lift the blondie out of pan using the parchment paper and cut it into bars.
6. These are best if served slightly warm with a side of vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce, but they are good at room temp, too! Store in an airtight container.
Images by me