Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Montclair Blondies

Long time, no cookies! Felt I was overdue for an update and I was craving blondies, which is really weird because that is not a "cookie" I typically crave. However, I've always kind of thought of the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland, diverse as Oakland is overall compared to this particular area within Oakland, as the blondie of 'hood cookies, if you feel me. The neighborhood, like the cookie, I can't lie, is not among my favorites. I lived in Oakland for about a decade before I even knew it existed, driving along 13 one day, not a route I typically took when I lived in the Lake Merritt area, and noticing the Lucky supermarket out of the corner of my eye (grocery stores at the time were pretty lacking in the area so a supermarket not already on my radar was a supermarket to try out right away!). Another decade later, I've now sent both kids to a part-time daycare in Montclair, have a handful of friends who've lived or currently live in the neighborhood, and occasionally pop up that way for a particular store or restaurant. But I still find it to be a bit lacking in all the things I value about the rest of this town. What can I say, I'm more of a Laurel or Fruitvale gal.

I will confess, however, that if you add in the "optional" extras like I did, listed below, and mix in a little dark chocolate along with the white, then you've got yourself an acceptably diversified, okay-I'll-admit-this-is-actually-pretty-tasty, baked treat. Here's what you'll need to make 16 2x2 inch blondies:

  • 8 tablespoons (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (215 grams) lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour

"Optional" (but not really) extras:

1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips (I used white and dark)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped and toasted nuts (I used macadamia nuts)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped dried fruit or shredded/flaked coconut (I used the latter)
1/4 cup liquor (I used bourbon whiskey); Note: Increase flour by 1 tablespoon to accommodate


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch by 8-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir melted butter and brown sugar until blended. Add the egg, vanilla, almond extract (optional) and salt then stir vigorously until smooth. When the batter looks well blended, add the flour and stir until no more streaks of flour remain. Stir in chocolate chip, nuts or dried fruit (if using).

Spread the batter evenly in lined pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out relatively clean. Cool then cut into 16 squares.

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