Cook's Illustrated's Blondies

By • May 20, 2014 44 Comments

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Author Notes: These are the blondies you'll become known for. A few notes: The key to their flavor is the heavy dose of vanilla -- don't skimp, and don't use artificial extract. Err on the side of under-baking. These are delicious cold from the freezer or fridge (and easiest to slice that way). Adapted slightly from Cook's Illustrated (July 2005).Genius Recipes

Makes 36

  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts (4 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter ( 1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces white chocolate chips (1 cup) or chopped bar, or 3 ounces each white chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350° F. 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.
  2. While nuts toast, line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving enough overhang to help you lift the blondies from the pan when they're done. [Here are Cook's Illustrated's measurements, but you can just wing it: 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).] Grease foil-lined pan with butter or oil.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.
  4. 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 and nuts and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.
  5. 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.

More Great Recipes: Chocolate|Cookies|Desserts

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Comments (44) Questions (1)


3 months ago kim

I love blondies since first eating them in Charleston, S.C., where they incorporate "Praline" into all kinds of scrumptious delights. I baked my version in 9" x 9" pan to get a rich, chewy texture & substituted a little over 5 ounces of finely ground & roasted hazelnuts along with about 2 1/2 oz. course chunks of Valrhone Ivoire Feves (left-over from making white chocolate shortcakes with strawberries and cream). It was phenomenal! This is a "Genius Recipe"! For my next batch, I'm want to try portioning the batter into individual silicone baking cups and freezing; Can you recommend the proper baking technique if the batter is frozen raw in standard muffin-size portions? Should I bake them frozen or thawed and make any adjustments to the temperature? Thanks!


3 months ago Kara

I've made these Blondies twice now and both times have been an absolute hit with all who have eaten them. I really like that these blondies are chewy on the inside but crunchy on the outside.


3 months ago Beysh

This recipe and technique are almost identical to the Blondies recipe in the second Silver Palate cookbook--including the large quantity of vanilla. Sprinkling a few extra chips on the top, along with a some flaky sea salt, takes them even a level higher.


3 months ago Awads

I use this recipe as my standard, but switch up the fillings--sometimes mini-marshmallows and chocolate, sometimes M&Ms. This is the perfect base, as opposed to Bittman's, which come out flat and not very impressive due to the absence of baking powder. This one is a winner every time!


3 months ago jbfalise

Made this today with Bobs Red Mill GF 1 to 1 flour, and had to sub coconut palm sugar for light brown sugar (1 to 1 substitution). It is SO yummy.
Also I lined my pan with parchment instead of foil and I had a beautiful golden brownie.


3 months ago Tracy

I made these today for a bbq. They were delicious! My kids loved them. I usually make Bittman's blondies, but I think these are better, moister.


3 months ago Brewingliberally

I replaced one ounce of chocolate chips with an ounce of dried cranberries for my healthy version, cheers!


6 months ago glutwin

Could these possibly become the Peanut Butter Blondies…I remember from the High School Cafeteria Lunch Ladies (I remember with great fondness) with the addition of a certain (?) amount of peanut butter….perhaps subbing in for some of the nuts or butter? Please say yes! The texture looks to be spot-on!!


8 months ago FavourFlavour

I originally made the Brown Butter Blondies from this site. I personally found them to be gooey and delicious, and loved them! My son, however, said they didn't taste fully cooked to him, so I thought I would try these out, given the slightly different ingredient list, noting the inclusion of the baking powder might give the cookie a more familiar texture. I did three things different with this recipe - I made them with cooled browned butter, I pulsed my walnuts in a food processor to a fine grind before adding them with the flour, and I baked them in a 9x9 square pan for 32 minutes. So good. You really can't go wrong with either recipe. I like to cut these into bite-sized cubes and send a container to school with my teenager to share at lunch.


8 months ago Ellie Irving

These were AMAZING! I used a blend of Guittard Choc-au-lait and simi-sweet and toasted my walnuts to pretty dark. I wonder if it would matter if I used parchment rather than foil, which I prefer not to bake with.


8 months ago Lorrie Baetge Fulton

I'm making these for the big Oregon/Ohio game tonight--can't wait for them to come out of the oven! I've been wanting a reason to bake them for so long now--at least a reason where I have to share them. Thanks!


8 months ago Denise

Has anyone tried making this with browned butter?


7 months ago 1234cake

I have, and it works but since I often use dark brown sugar in this recipe I'm not sure it makes a discernible difference.


8 months ago Samsmom

This is a fantastic recipe, thank you! Putting the cooled down pans of finished brownies in the fridge made cutting neat-looking bars of blondies so much easier. Great tip. Doubled the recipe for an intermission of a high school Christmas band/orchestra concert cookie feast - families contribute holiday treats for it - 300 or so guests to feed - these went fast!


9 months ago sonya

These are amazing blondies!!! I made them today from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, where they were republished, and my GOD are these good!!! I actually made four recipes side by side that I'd all liked in the past (The Mixer Bible, Ben and Jerry's Dessert Book, and a new-to-me reduced fat version from Cook's Country), and this was the clear winner, and just fabulous. It isn't too cakey and the background is butterscotchy for the reasons you mentioned. And I love the addition of white chocolate chips (I use the Cook's Illustrated Guittard Choc-au-lait which are really good), because they are not only delicious, but you they don't cover up the base flavor like semisweet chocolate chips do (though they're delicious in the ratio that this recipe uses). I love Cook's Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country and am so crazy about this Blondie recipe!!!


9 months ago Lemoncat

One issue with the math- a 9x13 pan produces approximately 24 2-inch blondies, not 36 as the recipe says. You could maybe get 26 or 27, but they won't be uniform squares. I plan to bake these today anyway!


about 1 year ago Cari Godbois

This recipe confuses me:
1 cup is not 4 oz nor is 6oz, 1 cup! 1.5 cups of flour is 12oz not 7.5. I don't understand! Can anyone clarify?


12 months ago Maggie Muggins

You're thinking in terms of liquid, where one cup of water equals 8 ounces, but different things weigh different amounts. One cup of nuts will weigh a different amount then one cup of flour, and even that can change depending how tightly packed the cup is.


about 1 year ago Jtcmd27

I have made these before and they were phenomenal. I went to make them today, and realized that I was out of white chocolate chips. I have a batch in the oven made with mini peanut butter cups and roasted peanuts instead....I'm sitting in the kitchen, waiting for the timer to sound!


about 1 year ago Shelley Hamlin

I have made these several times.
I brought them to a work pot luck. We haven't even had lunch and my double batch is almost gone.
They are now being labled "crack blondies." AMAZING.


about 1 year ago Rebecca Clarizio

Just made these today to bring to a bbq tomorrow. Had to try one, obviously. They are amazing & addictive! Definitely going to be my new go-to baked good.


about 1 year ago Leslie

How do you freeze them?