I have wanted to tell you about these for a long, long time. It never quite works out - I end up all jazzed just thinking about making them, then I hurry hurry hurry to get the batch in the oven and suddenly the whole family is eating them out of the pan with a fork, jaws agape and uttering something to the effect of, "...haaawwwt." It's not until some time after I swish it all down with a few glugs out of the milk carton that I realize I didn't snap a single photo the entire way and I've got nothing but a fully belly to show for my efforts. Not that a full belly is ever a bad thing.
I would normally peg myself as a chocolate person, chewy chocolate to be exact. Regular brownies, brownies that pose as cookies, anything dipped in chocolate, coated in chocolate, swathed in chocolate. I generally scoffed at the very idea of Blondie's, it seemed like a slap in the face to the timeless brownie, the way they parade around like a woman of ill-repute, flaunting her goods around town, assuming her goods are brown sugar, toffee bits and vanilla bean. Just work with me here. It's just that they didn't strike me as anything that would rival the undying affection I feel for an unadulterated chocolate brownie.
But these? I got down on both knees and apologized for all the bad things I've ever said about Blondies. The only true experience I had with Blondies was several years ago when I made a batch that were loaded with toffee chips and ended up being overkill sweet without any depth of flavor. I promptly dropped the pan into the garbage can and oh yes, I slept just fine that night. This recipe comes from the guys at Baked, the cookbook that brought us brownies, homemade granola, red hot velvet cake, monster cookies, and lemon-lemon loaf, a source that usually treats me like a lady, but a slight mishap over the weekend drove a wedge between us and these Blondies have since bridged the gap.
You see, my sweet mother had a birthday over the weekend and I made it my number one priority to bake her a birthday cake. I had my heart set on the Baked Sweet n' Salty Cake, but I was vetoed by my Dad who insisted on the Malted Milk Ball Cake. I had made the recipe once before, only halved it, and attempted to make it into cupcakes. The batter overflowed the tins and I didn't even attempt the frosting - my garbage can is well fed. I tried again, followed the recipe spot on, pouring the batter into three 8-inch cake pans only to find it overflowed in the oven...again. But it didn't stop there, out of three cakes, only one baked normally, the other two remained raw on one side and overdone on the other, falling flat as a saltine cracker in some spots and standing souffle-tall in others.
I made a completely different cake, thinking the frosting for the malted milk ball cake would still suffice, only to find myself peering at a puddle of chocolate ganache that never firmed up enough to be called frosting so much as chocolate pudding. I was using the actual cookbook, but the online versions of the recipe are different, calling for varying amounts of chocolate, cream, and corn-syrup than the hard copy. I don't know who I'd like to shake silly - the guys at Baked or the publishers who scammed me so hard.
Thankfully, these Blondies brought sweet redemption between me and the guys at Baked. They are flavored with malted milk powder, chopped malted milk balls, milk chocolate chips and toasted walnuts. They smell heady and smoky, old-fashioned and rich. The batter itself is a bit like toffee, and the bits of malted milk ball melt into the batter and turn into chewy bits of spun sugar. It can cure even the deepest rifts between a Brittany and her recipes gone awry.
Adapted from Baked
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons malted milk powder
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 3/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup malted milk balls (like Whoppers or Maltesers), coarsely chopped in a food processor
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Vanilla ice cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and malted milk powder together.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until completely combined. Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined.
Add the flour mixture in two batches until just combined. Add the malted milk balls, chocolate chips and walnuts and beat until just combined, about 10 seconds. The mixture will be thick. Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly.
Bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the blondie comes out clean.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. These blondies taste delicious warm. Cut them into squares and serve with ice cream. They also taste great at room temperature. Once thoroughly cooled, cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.