Do you know how to make blondies? They’re a cinch! Vanilla brownies and chocolate chip cookies have a few things in common. but if you’re a fan of the bar cookie, you’re about to meet a new favorite.
There’s no cocoa powder in these “blondies” so calling them vanilla brownies is both due to their pale color but also from mixing in a healthy pour of vanilla extract. We like to use Sun-Maid and Orchard Choice Golden Figs for their tangy, delicately sweet, and slightly nutty flavor but also their golden color.
Like most cookies and bars, plan on whisking the dry ingredients first to equally distribute them. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar before mixing in the eggs and vanilla. Toast nuts in the oven until deep golden brown. Cool them before giving them a coarse chop.
Fold dry ingredients into the wet ones until just combined—do not over-mix—because next, you will fold in chocolate, chopped figs, and nuts before transferring the batter into the prepared pan.
Use your senses when baking as well as the timer—the top of the blondies will be shiny, cracked, and light golden brown when they’re set. Transfer them by sling to a wire rack—they will continue setting up as they cool. Slice and serve.
Tips for How to Make Blondies
- Be very careful not to over-bake the blondies; they dry out easily and will turn hard. Start checking the oven a couple of minutes before they will be done.
- Not all white chocolate is created equally. Our favorite brand of white chocolate chips is Guittard Choc-Au-Lait. If you can’t find this brand, coarsely chop a good-quality white chocolate bar.
- Make a foil sling or parchment paper sling that will help to release the blondies easily from the pan after they’ve baked and cooled. Misting the sling with cooking spray is added insurance.
Blondies with California Figs
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs large, lightly beaten
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 ounces chocolate chips or chopped bar, or 3 ounces each white chocolate and semisweet chosolate chips
- 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
- Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on large rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer nuts to cutting board to cool; chop coarsely and set aside.
- While nuts toast, cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width). Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.
- Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in chocolate, figs and nuts and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.
- Bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes; do not overbake. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.