By Pat Sinclair NABBW’s Cooking for Two Associate

pat_sinclair_assoc_photo-2Here’s another easy bar cookie recipe. I often take these bars to potlucks because there are always lots of plain brownies. This gives an alternative, especially for people who can’t enjoy chocolate.

The opposite of a brownie is a blondie—the colors are different but the texture of the bars is similar. It is much easier to determine doneness in the blondies than in the brownies. If the blondies are not done, you can see the batter move under the top crust when you shake the pan. Because of the high amount of sugar in these bars, the edges rise and get dark and chewy—I think this is the best part!

This recipe comes from my recently revised and updated cookbook, Baking Basics and Beyond: Learn These Simple Techniques and Bake Like a Pro. (Second Edition, softcover)

This book would be a great gift for a grad, bride, or just about any beginning baker, because it focuses on simple baking techniques and includes detailed directions. Plus it includes great recipes that any baker would love.  At the beginning I’ve included tips and information on baking equipment, ingredients, measuring, and some helpful “how-tos” (How to Dissolve Yeast, How to Melt Chocolate, etc.). Each chapter opens with  several pages of helpful baking tips and I’ve included additional notes and tips with each recipe.

Each of the 12 chapters in the book focus on a different kind of baked good, such as Biscuits and Scones, Coffee Cakes, Cookies, Pies and Tarts, Yeast Breads and Rolls… My goal was to include a chapter on just about anything you’d want to bake!

The yummy looking photo of my Butterscotch Cashew Blondies, featured below, was shot by food blogger NancyC, whose enticing food blog is found at NancyCreative.com. The picture is taken from her delightful review of Baking Basics and Beyond.

BUTTERSCOTCH CASHEW BLONDIES
Makes 36 bars
2 cups all-purpose flourbutterscotch blondies
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup butterscotch chips (6 ounces)
1 cup cashew halves and pieces, coarsely chopped
Heat oven to 350°F with oven rack in middle. Line bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, extending foil about 2 inches beyond pan on each long side. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl and stir slowly to mix. Add eggs and mix with a wire whisk until well blended. Slowly stir in flour mixture until it is moistened. Beat with wire whisk 30 seconds until smooth.
Add butterscotch chips and cashews. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until center seems set when touched lightly with a finger. The blondies will also start to pull away from pan edges. When checking, shake the pan a little and see if batter jiggles. A toothpick will come out dry. Cool in pan on wire cooling rack.
Remove blondies intact from pan by loosening ends with a metal spatula and lifting out, using the aluminum foil. Cut into bars. Make sure foil is not stuck on bottom of any blondies.
Baker’s Notes:
  • When you combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla, mix until smooth, crushing any lumps of brown sugar.
  • Lining the pan with foil makes it easy to remove bars and cut evenly.

baking basics bookPat Sinclair, NABBW’s “Cooking for Two” Associate,  is a food consultant with more than  25 years experience in test kitchens and recipe development. Her newest cookbook, “Scandinavian Classic Desserts” was recently published by Pelican Publishing.

She is also the author of “Scandinavian Classic Baking and “Baking Basics and Beyond,”  which received the Baking Cookbook Award for 2007 by the Cordon d’Or Gold Ribbon Award International Annual Cookbooks and Culinary Arts Program.

Pat has worked for corporate clients Land O’Lakes, Pillsbury and General Mills. She is currently working on her next cookbook, “Dinner for Two.”  She lives in the Twin Cities where she also teaches cooking classes. Pat invites you to contact her on her website, PatCooksandBakes.com, or via her blog.