Being known for a recipe is a pleasant marker of adulthood. I’m not talking about “adulting” in that “lol omg I paid a bill” way but in the sense of having lived long enough, and done something enough times and with increasing confidence, that others can rely on you for it. It can be something elaborate and impressive, or just something you happen to be good at making. For every birthday party I have a friend who makes incredible, fondant-decorated cakes, and another who makes onion dip from those Lipton soup packets, and both are as respected and adored for their contributions.
What I’m saying is that if you’re of potlucking age, it’s good to have some standbys. It’s even better to hit that sweet spot of making a crowdpleaser that’s not the most common thing you could bring. Mine is blondies.
This recipe was passed down to me from my mom and the back of a Hershey’s bag of mini chips, and became a favorite of high school musical rehearsals and sleepovers. For a long time any invitation to a party at my place would be met with “but will there be blondies?,” and holidays are celebrated with a pan of them sitting on the counter as little squares keep mysteriously being cut out of it all day until it’s gone.
For those of you unfamiliar, blondies are sort of like chocolate chip cookies if you baked them into brownie form. This recipe has been tinkered with some from the original package instructions, mainly in the sugar ratios. You can mess with any combination of white and brown sugar you want, but I’d recommend not going with all white sugar, as you’ll miss out on some of those caramel and molasses notes that make these so good. I have been known to substitute maple syrup for vanilla when I’ve run out of the latter to great success.
Some recipes call for nuts, which I suppose you can add if you’re the type of person who likes to ruin things.
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3/4 cups butter (1 1/2 sticks), ideally at room temperature but sometimes you need to bake emergency blondies and don’t have time for that
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 generous tsp vanilla
2 cups (12 oz. package) chocolate chips (the original recipe calls for mini-chips, but I’ve found that regular semi-sweet chips make them all the gooier)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 13×9 inch pan (glass/pyrex pans work best).
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat well. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones about 1/3 of the bowl at a time, until everything is thoroughly combined. Stir in the chips.
Spread the batter as evenly as you can across the pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean and the edges are a nice golden brown. You should probably wait a little bit before cutting into them so the chips set up a bit.
Arrive to a party with great acclaim.