Blondies are a bar cookie quite often compared to brownies but without chocolate. I had never baked or even considered baking a blondie until recent years. I was fortunate enough to be in vicinity of being able to purchase cookie boxes from Joy Cho Pastries. Joy presented a sampling of various cookies in her boxes, all with her unique application of ingredients to traditional cookies. Occasionally the boxes included blondies. The blondies became my coveted favorite that I would declare as mine, not sharing with anyone else. Sounds kind of harsh, but my husband prefers chocolate cookies, so it worked out well. Joy is back in NYC doing fabulous baking and I am left on my own to bake blondies.
First, I had to do some research to find a base recipe. It turns out blondie recipes can be somewhat controversial among bakers. I have learned that the first blondie recipe came into publication in the1890's using molasses as the sweetener, lending a dark color to the cookie bar. Blondies were quickly upstaged by Brownies using a similar recipe with the addition of chocolate and using white sugar in place of molasses. Blondies fell out of favor until the late 1980s when New York City bakeries and delis started selling the homemade cookie bars as packaged sweet treats. Recipe development took off from there, with a more modern spin on the traditional recipe by adding leavening (baking powder and baking soda), increasing the amount of butter used, switching from molasses to brown sugar, and adding decadent ingredients like chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, toasted nuts and more.
The first recipe I tried was from one of my mother's old cookbooks. It was truly awful, very bland and flat. I am using them as dog treats. Much research later, I have found my base recipe for Blondies. This recipe is a blend of modern and traditional, with the use of leavening, and the only add-in is toasted walnuts. My vision is to use this base recipe with various changes such as adding spices like cinnamon or cardamom. I most certainly will add chocolate chips at some point, and maybe adding dried cherries or cranberries.