Gentlemen Prefer Blondies.

Third attempt, the defining batch.

When my girlfriends and I gather together for a night of dirty talk and television we like to have dinner and dessert. For a while we were meeting weekly and ordering up a new treat each time. On this particular night I had an intense craving for blondies, so I met up early with Amanda and went over to our favorite spot for tasty treats. You guys, they had never heard of a blondie. Seriously. After we explained it to them they still looked confused… and then offered us brownies. FIVE bakeries later, all with the same resulting interactions, not only did we feel like kicking brownies in the junk, but we were very disappointed with Staten Islands bakery community. We even called a few restaurants that we thought might have them listed on their dessert menus, they were just as confused and brownie pushing. We were getting annoyed, so we started a fruitless tour of supermarkets. Just as we were about to give up and make cookies I decided to try my hand at baking blondies from scratch.

I quickly pulled up a couple of recipes on my phone and devised a plan of action. When we finally all met up, we told the girls about our adventure. They also gave us perplexed looks… they’d never heard of blondies either. What’s wrong with society these days, blondies are AMAZING.

My first attempt that night tasted ok but I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the results, after more tweaking and one more try I had settled on a recipe that I stand by. Blondies have actually become somewhat of a tradition amongst our inner circle, they’re expected. I’m even baking a couple dozen for our engagement party next weekend. My mother and I will be cooking our asses off in a couple of days, this should be fun.

First attempt, not yet perfected.

  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt (I use Kosher salt crushed with a mortar and pestle)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup diced walnuts
  • Recipe adapted from here.

    Happy nomming,
    Ana

    Make a pie entirely from scratch.

    Over the holidays I knew it was time to do this. When I first imagined making a pie from scratch I thought about apple or cherry. They seemed like the go to filling for homemade pies. But I don’t like either pie, so why make something I won’t enjoy. Given the time of year I decided to go with the holiday standard, the most delicious of all the pies… pumpkin.

    Apparently this was a particularly unpopular choice of pie. Not that baking pumpkin pies isn’t a holiday staple… but people generally don’t bake these from scratch. Finding a pumpkin that wasn’t intended for carving was pretty much impossible, actually in late November finding any pumpkin at all was impossible. Thankfully Terrence had bought a pumpkin back in October for us to carve or possibly eat, it wasn’t my first choice but given the circumstance it was going to have to do. According to Alton Brown, pumpkins have to shelf life of two months… so I was safe. But just in case I bought some butternut squash to back me up.

    Don’t let anyone tell you cutting a pumpkin in half is easy… it’s not. It might have been if I had the proper knife, but since I didn’t I’m gonna be a big baby about and say that halving a pumpkin is bullshit.

    The recipe I used called for a gingersnap crust, but I much prefer graham cracker crusts for pumpkin pies.

    This pumpkin pie business was a difficult and long process. My friend Amanda came over and we were both supposed to bake pies from scratch. She was originally going to make an apple pie, but felt tired and instead got the above pictured cans of blueberry pie filling and some frozen crusts. She was done in an hour… it probably took me that long to crack open my pumpkin halves. It was after midnight when she left and the pumpkin halves weren’t even close to done baking yet. Next year we’ll have to remember to start this bake fest in the day time instead of after dinner.

    We made the pies the night before Thanksgiving, Amanda had work the next morning (she works in a hospital) so she couldn’t stay with me until the bitter end. Also, Terrence went out to party hard with all the other kids in bars, so I was left all alone to bake. In my down time from assembling the pie I kept myself busy, and awake, by prepping other Thanksgiving sides. When it came time for the last stage of the pie, the baking, I had run out of busy work. I set the timer for 40 minutes and sat on my bed to watch some television… next thing I knew I was awakened by the scent of burning an hour and twenty minutes after the timer had gone off. FML.

    I was so angry, I tossed the burned pie onto the stove top and stormed back to my bedroom defeated. Thankfully I had enough puree to make one more pie. I set my alarm and went back to bed. Bright and early before all the other holiday crazy started I went back to work on my pie. After I blind baked the crust and took it out of the oven I foolishly set it down on the stepping stool beside me. Without thinking I kicked the oven door shut and it hit into the baking sheet tossing the crust into the air and butter side down onto the floor. I began screaming obscenities, this was in fact the Murphy’s law of pies. After Terrence calmed me down, I picked myself and my pie pan up off of the floor and began working on my third pie crust. This time things finally went smoothly.

    That night both of our families had shared the pie. Terrence was across the street with his family while I was in our apartment with mine, we crossed back and forth and ate way too much as usual. I was at home when Terrence and his kin were having dessert, my phone began exploding with text messages with single word exclamations… apparently the devil pie was a hit. So much in fact that Terrence ran over with the other half for me and my family to enjoy. Everyone was pretty floored by it, being my own worst critic… I thought that the Libby’s pumpkin pie from a can version I usually make were better. Terrence called me crazy.

    Both of our families told me that I had to make this evil pie annually. So now I have a new job, hopefully next year I won’t fall asleep on it.

    ***

    Oh and for those curious about Amanda’s blueberry pie… here’s her quick and painless baking experience.

    She never even ate it.