Blondies

I came across yet another fantastic recipe from Cook’s Illustrated a few years ago when I was searching for something sweet but a little different for me to bring to a bridal shower.  I had the All Time Best issue and decided to try their Blondies Recipe. 

You will need…

  • 1cup pecans or walnuts (4 ounces)
  • 1 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
  • 1teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon table salt
  • 12tablespoons unsalted butter ( 1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2cups packed light brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs , lightly beaten
  • 4teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6ounces white chocolate chips (1 cup) or chopped bar, or 3 ounces each white chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Pre-Heat your oven to 350 and line a 13×9″ baking dish with two sheets of aluminum foil overlapping one another and hanging over the edges to make for easy transfer from the pan to the cutting board.  Coat aluminum foil with nonstick spray and set aside. 

If your nuts are not already toasted you’ll need to put them on a cookie sheet and pop them into the oven for a few minutes (until they’re fragrant. 

2.  Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.

3.  Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Use a rubber spatula to fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined making sure to not over mix 

Fold in chocolate and nuts and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.

4.   Bake until the top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown about 22 to 25 minutes.  Be careful not to overbake or else your blondies will be dry, and fall apart. 

Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

The recipe is relatively easy to follow, and these tasty treats are sure to be a hit wherever you may take them!

Are you a Brownie or a Blondie type of Person?

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Homemade Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

If you’re like me and enjoy skipping the boxed mix for cakes, cupcakes, brownies and muffins, when you can 😉 but prefer a recipe to help you out a bit, then you need to know about Cook’s Illustrated.

If you’re not familiar it’s published by the people from America’s Test Kitchen, so there is a lot of trial and error and science behind their cooking, (perfect for my Hubby who loves to know how and why things work) We’ve tried several of their recipes and haven’t had a bad one yet!

So here is the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for:

Best Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Streusel Topping

  • 3tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • Pinch table salt
  • 1/2cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 5tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and warm

I find that when I’m baking and I measure by weight, that my recipes turn out better because the ingredients are more precise.  You can use a food scale, just be sure to tare the scale after you place whatever receptacle you’ll be placing your ingredients in on it.

Instructions for the topping:

Stir together sugar, brown sugar, salt, and flour in small bowl until combined. Drizzle with warm butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea-sized pieces throughout. Set aside.

Muffins

  • 2cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), washed and picked over
  • 1 1/8cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon
  • 2 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2large eggs
  • 4tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4cup vegetable oil
  • 1cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract

*Did you know that if you don’t have buttermilk on hand that you can substitute 3/4 cup of yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup of milk???  I didn’t but it worked…and it saved me a trip back to the store!!!

 FOR THE MUFFINS:

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and spray your muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray

Bring 1cup of blueberries and 1teaspoon of sugar to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir frequently while cooking and mash the berries with a spoon until they have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4cup (about 6 min)

Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature 10-15 minutes.

Next, whisk your flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl and set aside.

Then whisk 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick, about 45 seconds.

Slowly whisk in butter and oil, then the buttermilk and vanilla until combined

Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture

and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture

Mix until just moistened (being careful not to overmix) your batter should be lumpy

Use an ice cream scoop or a large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly).

Spoon a teaspoon of the cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter.

Using a chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion.

Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over muffins and bake until muffin tops are golden (about 17 to 19 minutes), rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes,

Then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving

Cut your muffin in half and put a pad of your favorite butter in the middle…

I like to close my muffin back up after I put the butter on it so it melts a little on both sides 🙂

…or if you prefer your muffins plain that’s fine too because these muffins are so good that they still taste great!  And you can enjoy them in the morning with your coffee, or at night with a glass of milk 🙂