Inspired Blondies

Blondies are a brown- sugar-based cake bars resembling the chocolate brownie. They are baked in the same fashion as traditional brownies, then cut into squares or rectangles for serving. They are sometimes referred to as blonde brownies. Blondies are usually made from flour, brown sugar, butter, eggs, baking powder and vanilla. They may also contain a variety of chips and nuts; but the dominant flavor of a blondie is brown sugar — not chocolate. Blondies are very adaptable; you can add lots of different chips, nuts or fruit. We even turned blondies into a cheesecake!

Most blondie recipes call for a 9” square “brownie pan,” which is very different from an 8” foil square pan. The heavy weight of a real pan will yield the best texture in your blondies. Do a side by side comparison; and you will be amazed at the difference a great pan makes.

Coconut Blondies

Feel free to switch the coconut and pecans to any flavored chips and your favorite nuts.

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans (6 ounces), toasted and cooled
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack in middle. Grease and flour a 13- by 9-inch baking pan, or line it with parchment paper or foil.

Beat oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time, until mixture is glossy and smooth.

Stir in flour and baking soda. Stir in pecans and 1 1/2 cups coconut.

Spread in prepared pan, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Bake until a pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Blondies

Yes, this recipe has it all: cheesecake, salted caramel and buttery blondie. Could it get any more delicious?

  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Cheesecake batter:

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blondie batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons caramel sauce, melted, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool, then lightly chop.

Coat a 9-inch square pan with butter. Line with parchment paper; coat the parchment with butter.

Make the cheesecake batter:

Beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla until combined; set aside.

Make the blondie batter:

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar in a large bowl; whisk in the remaining 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla until combined. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in 3/4 cup pecans.

Spread the blondie batter in the prepared pan. Pour the cheesecake mixture on the batter. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of caramel sauce over the cheesecake batter. Using the tip of a knife, gently swirl together to create a marbled effect. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Let cool.

To decorate, drizzle with more caramel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup pecans and the fleur de sel. Refrigerate until completely cooled, about 2 hours.

Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.