Essential baking repertoire: Chocolate chip toffee blondies

Although I strive to bake interesting and creative items when I can, there are certain classic baked goods that I want to make sure I've made at least once and succeeded at, if only to be able to whip out a simple dessert for a backyard BBQ somewhere down the road. I don't know how it happened, but I've never baked blondies before, even though I've eaten them countless times. And since I've changed my blog tagline to "everything tastes better homemade", well I'd better practice what I preach!

Blondies, like chocolate chip cookies and brownies, deserve a spot in every kitchen's recipe box. That's why I'm creating a new category of posts called "Essential baking repertoire" (or EBR for short) – nothing fancy, just simple, tried and true recipes that I can always turn to when I want something that is sure to please every time. So often food bloggers are so busy churning out new and innovative recipes that the traditional ones get left behind because they might seem "boring". But sometimes all I want is a good recipe for a no-frills, common dessert. Anyway, I'll slowly try and build up this category of posts (my favorite sugar cookie recipe is probably coming soon). I haven't decided if any other recipes I've posted thus far should be included. If you have any such recipes to share, or suggestions for things you'd like to see, please let me know! :)

So then, the main event of this week's baking was the blondie – sort of like a chocolate chip cookie in bar form. I have seen a zillion different variations of the blondie, some with coconut, some with white chocolate chips, some with nuts. I found my blondie EBR recipe on Allrecipes.com, one of my favorite places to go. A recipe site that has lots of reviewers is always useful in determining if a recipe will be a winner or a dud. The recipe calls for walnuts, which I omitted due to lack of availability (and also because I don't think traditional blondies should have nuts in them), and chocolate chips, for which I used half chocolate chips and half toffee chips, since I was low on chocolate chips. Other than that I followed the recipe down to the word, and boy does it make a sinfully chewy blondie…

Chocolate Chip Toffee Blondies  (makes about 16 small squares)              original recipe at Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips of your choice (I prefer milk chocolate here)
1/3 cup English toffee bits

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Melt butter. Allow to cool briefly, and stir in brown sugar. Beat egg separately, and add to butter and sugar mixture. Stir in vanilla and mix well to get a creamy batter.

4. Gradually stir in flour mixture with the batter until well-mixed. Fold in most of the chocolate chips and toffee bits, reserving some to sprinkle on top of the blondies (or you can just add extra for the top).

5. Spread the batter evenly into an 8×8 inch baking pan (I used an 8" round pan because I don't have a small square pan). Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and toffee bits on top of the batter if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes until top is a light golden color and edges are crinkly and pulling away from the side of the pan. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.

Note: Recipe can be doubled to fit a 9×13 inch baking pan.

P.S. These are best the day after you bake them (they're a little bit gooey right out of the oven), so plan ahead and bake these the night before :)

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