My son attends a private bilingual school here that has a very culturally diverse student body. In fact, a few weeks ago I attended a dinner for the mothers in his class and of the 14 of us around the table, there were moms from Italy, Germany, Lebanon, Israel, Iran, the UK, Japan, Russia, USA and of course, a handful from France.
Parents in the elementary school were recently asked to bring in a "gouter" (a snack) that is representative of "your country or region." Being from New York, my thoughts first went to cheesecake but I honestly didn't have the time to make one. Of course, I also thought of making cupcakes but after all, I'm more than just a one-trick pony! When my husband suggested blondies, I thought "Wow, that really is something different, and unique to the States."
For fans of Dairy Queen and other chains where you can do dessert mix-ins, you'll really enjoy this recipe cause the sky is the limit...you can mix in anything your little heart desires. Some of the classic blondie mix-ins include shredded coconut, caramel chips and pecans. I opted for white and dark chocolate, and then threw in the remains of the marshmallows I had left over from my Halloween Scary Spider cupcakes. These bubbled up as they cooked and left a sugary sweet glaze on top.
So here is my very easy, no-fail blondie recipe. My one gripe is that since you can't really find light brown sugar here in France, I make them with dark brown. These tend to come out looking a little more like "brownies" but pack all the chewy caramel goodness of a classic blondie.
Little Miss Cupcake's Mix-In Blondies
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 ounces soft unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 c dark brown sugar (or light brown if you have it)
2 large eggs lightly beaten
4 tsp. vanilla
Add whatever tickles your fancy such as chopped pecans, shredded coconut, caramel chips, M&Ms, chocolate chips, etc. I use 180 grams chopped white chocolate, 180 grams chopped dark chocolate and about a dozen chopped marshmallos.
Set oven to 350F/180C. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, set aside
Whisk softened butter and brown sugar til combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Fold in dry ingredients with spatula til just combined. Fold in chocolate, marshmallows or other mix-ins and pour into prepared pan , smoothing top with spatula.
Bake 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. DO NOT overbake. Cool to room temperature before cutting. Can be stored in an airtight container and kept for 4-5 days (if they last that long!).