Friday, February 11, 2011

A Lighter Shade of Blondie

Most people seem to have the eye rolling idea that reducing fat consumption will automaticallty render food less enjoyable to eat.  I'm here to tell you that this idea is often false.  In my opinion, some things actually benefit from a little less fat. 

Take blondies for instance.  Last Wednesday, I made some for a church dinner.  I did a brief survey of recipes and chose one that seemed to fit the most common ingredient measurement pattern, expecting splurgy good things from a full-fat, whole-hog version.  I mean, I'm not fat phobic any more.  When I have dessert other than my usual small piece of chocolate, I'm fine with going all the way.

Remarkably, I wasn't impressed with this full fat experience.  The taste was pleasing, but the high amount of fat in the recipe made the top greasy, which was not attractive. It also produced the exact texture that my husband and I do not like in a blondie or brownie--gooey, like an under baked paste.  The church folk were fine with them, but I resolved to go in search of a recipe that would produce my idea of a good blondie, for blondies should be in any one's sweets repertoire, pantry staple beauties that they are.

As I often do for a starting place, I turned to my friends at Cooking Light, who normally do a good job with lightening recipes. The apparent fluffy yet chewy quality shining forth in the web site photo sold me, but adaptation was required.  The first change I made was substituting real eggs for egg substitute. (There's something horribly wrong with that statement).  I also changed the mixing order, combining the melted butter with the brown sugar first because it's easier to eliminate brown sugar lumps that way.  I could now kick myself for not browning the butter first as directed, which sounds scrumptious, but at the time I was in a hurry and hadn't more butter to use if the browning turned into blackening. (Next time, which case I'll update.)   

The resulting blondies were just what we both wanted--with half the fat.  They were still caramely rich and chewy, but not greasy and pasty.  Fats may be important to baked goods, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.  This recipe had what we considered to be a more judicious amount, one that gave the full, rich experience we wanted without the undesired side effects of excess. 

Plus, although these lovelies are quite enough on their own, less fat in the blondie leaves more room for a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce, with which they go very well.  And that's a splurge worth having!

Adapted from Cooking Light

Servings: 24

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, micro-cook the butter until melted.  Add the brown sugar and stir until combined.  Add eggs and combine well.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to butter mixture and stir just until moistened.

Spoon batter into a 9 x 13 baking pan coated with cooking spray. Smooth top with spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.  Cut into 24 squares.

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