You guys, it has been HOT here in Los Angeles the last few days. Normally, since I live pretty near the beach, the heat isn't as much of an issue, as it is at least 20 degrees cooler than going inland, but damn man, it's been hot even here! Which makes baking a bit of an issue, as you might imagine, in a small apartment with no air conditioning. During the winter? Sure, it heats the whole apartment right up! In the dregs of summer when it always seems to get super hot in SoCal? No thank you.
Luckily, I made these bars just one or two days before the heat wave really hit, so they didn't heat up the apartment too heinously. I also was able to use this fancy ground vanilla a coworker brought back from Mauritius for me, so that was fun as well! I've never used ground vanilla, and it took me a little bit to figure out that's what it actually was in the first place too! But really, you just use it in place of vanilla bean or vanilla extract. I can't compare these bars when using the other two, but feel free to scrape a full bean into the batter or just put in a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract and I'm sure they will still taste great!
These bars are super easy and take only a handful of ingredients, making them a great little bar for when you want something fresh-baked, but don't want it to take ages, and especially if you aren't in the mood for brownies. They keep pretty moist for a couple days afterward if you store them properly wrapped away from the air, and are especially delicious if slightly warmed, or straight from the oven. The ground vanilla gives these an extra something as compared to just vanilla extract, but if you can't get ground vanilla (or vanilla paste as it may be called), then I would recommend scraping one 1 vanilla bean rather than using extract if possible. Who doesn't love the sight of the little brown-black flecks?!
Vanilla Blondie Bars
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 inch pan with foil.
- Cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in your vanilla paste. You can also substitute the beans out of 1 vanilla bean if you so desire. Beat that in with the egg and salt until well combined.
- Finally, slowly stir in the flour until it is just mixed. Your dough will be thick, but try your best to get it into your prepared pan and smooth the top into an even layer.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bars a tester comes out clean and the edges are just slightly browned. Let cool in the pan, then lift out your foil and slice 'em up!
No step-by-step photos this time around, as they really weren't very exciting. I may stop doing the step-by-step photos on a general basis unless the recipe is particularly difficult, as most of the time, the steps are very similar in most baking recipes.
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