I’ve been haunted by the philosophical story my father always told about Buridan’s ass: A thirsty and hungry jackass is put between a bale of hay and a bucket of water. Unable to choose which one to have first, he starves to death. Which, simply put, inspired me to create the Browndie.
I didn’t want to be forced to choose which dessert I wanted more, a chocolatey brownie, or a chewy butterscotch-studded blondie. No no! After my success marrying brownies and banana bread, I thought I’d give a brownie-blondie wedding a try. What a happy couple!
If you can manage it, try to make both batters at the same time. I prep all the ingredients in advance and give each group of ingredients their own special part of the counter. You could also enlist the help of a loved one to make the other recipe. Both of these batters are made by hand, so as the Castro convertible ads used to say: ‘It’s so easy, even a child can do it!”
Apologies for the ‘meh’ lighting. That’s what comes from a fiendish need to bake at night in a poorly lit kitchen.
I baked half of the browndies in a mini-muffin pan, and the other half in an 8 x 8-inch pan. You can do it however you wish. The ones baked in the muffin pan had crunchier tops and make a nice alternative to cupcakes for a kid’s birthday party; the ones in the square pans were fudgier and easy to prepare. If the thought of fussing with individual muffin cups makes you insane (it sort of did me), then just use a 10 x 13-inch pan and make the whole thing at once.
Getting the batter into the muffin tins was annoying, but if you are of a more peaceful nature than I, you will be pleased with the crun-chewy results.
I used only whole wheat flour in the blondies, plus two tablespoons of ground flax seed. Not only does it keep the blondies from being too cloyingly sweet, it also makes me feel less guilty about feeding them to my kids. If you can find whole wheat pastry flour use that. Arrowhead Mills—which I find at Whole Foods—is more finely ground than regular flour, so finicky kids (Shout out to my daughter!) won’t have any textural issues with the flour.
Even in the strange light of my night kitchen you can see the whole wheat goodness.
After a few of these in my tum, I’m beginning to think my indecisive nature has its merits. Enjoy.
- 14 Tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (I used Arrowhead Mills w.w. pastry flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Butterscotch chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use about 1/3 cup of each)
What You’ll Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
2. Grease the pan/s you’ll bake the browndies in (see note above).
3. Melt the butter in a large, heat-proof bowl over simmering water.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
5. When the butter is melted, remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar. You will need to beat the butter and sugar together with some real gusto in order to properly blend the two. For a minute or so the butter and sugar will not come together and you will think I have lied to you. Be patient but strong and keeping stirring. Soon all the butter will be absorbed and the mixture will look like slightly gritty caramel.
6. Add the eggs in, one at a time, beating until each one is absorbed. Stir in the vanilla.
7. Add the flour mixture in and stir until just blended. Add in the butterscotch chips and chocolate chips (if using–and why wouldn’t you?).
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli 60% cocoa)
What You’ll Do:
1. Melt the butter and unsweetened in a large, heatproof bowl over simmering water.
2. Remove the bowl from the heat, and stir in the sugar until thoroughly blended.
3. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating until each one is absorbed. Stir in the vanilla.
4. Add the flour mixture in three additions. When blended, add in the chocolate chips.
Make the browndies:
If you are make them in mini-muffin tins, use about a teaspoon of each batter. I put the chocolate brownie batter on the bottom and then topped it with the blondie batter. The muffin cup will be about three-quarters full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until light brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, or with moist crumbs.
If you are planning to bake them in a pan, layer the chocolate brownie on the bottom, then smooth the blondie batter over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, or with moist crumbs.
It’s the start of Browndie Stonehenge, of course.