Growing up, I spent nearly every weekend with my mother’s sisters – one on Friday night, the other on Saturday. They were childless and apparently needed the giggles, whorls of bouncy blond curls and the swoosh of pink that I could provide.
We visited their friend’s homes for tea, shopped for outfits that matched (too much), went to church (they were Baptist, one sang in the choir, and we sat in the front row so I had to behave), put together countless jigsaw puzzles and a whole host of other seemingly mundane but powerfully exciting activities, at least when you’re a girl emulating the women you admire.
But of all those things, what left the deepest imprint, a lasting one that even you see, is that we cooked. We made bread and cookies and candy and baked hams and turkeys and every side dish imaginable. There were burgers on the grill in summer and giant bowls of melt-y, snow ice cream in winter – just like their mother had made for them. And there were blondies, rich with (too much) butter, two kinds of sugar and sometimes, if I had my way, too many chocolate chips (if you add too many chocolate chips to your blondie batter, they won’t hold together, trust me).
What we didn’t do back then is make our blondies with baking mix. But, give a recipe developer an accidental shipment of 20 boxes and she’ll give you LOTS of baking mix recipes worthy of anyone’s fabulous old auntie. They really are great and you would never know I let the mix measure the leavening & salt. ;-)
One word about sugar: I try not to over-sweeten my posts here, but with this recipe, I can’t help it. Blondies are… well, they are blondies and they really must be rich and very sweet. I don’t want you to eat them every day, and I certainly don’t want you to make this giant pan all for yourself! This is a “sharing pan” size of treats (or half the recipe and make an 8×8-inch pan if you prefer). We used to make these on Saturday nights to take to church on Sunday to share with the ladies in Sunday School. You could take some to work and share, gift your neighbor, you know… share the love. They taste better when you share, anyway.
If you want to go completely over the top, frost these with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle a few toasted pumpkin seeds on top for a fun seasonal treat!
Gluten-Free Blondies with Chocolate Chips & Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups gluten-free baking mix (like King Arthur Flour GF Baking Mix)
16 Tablespoons butter
2 cups light brown sugar (not firmly packed, just scooped)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (hulled; use salted if you like)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (make sure they are GF / allergen-free)
Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and grease lightly.
Preheat your oven to 350F.
In your stand mixer, whip butter and sugars together until well combined; add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium-low speed after each addition, then add vanilla and beat again.
Add flour to butter/sugar mixture and stir until a smooth batter is formed (if you use your mixer to incorporate the dry ingredients, do not over-beat).
Stir in seeds and chips and spread batter into prepared pan, smoothing with a spatula dipped in water.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until set and top appears *mostly* done. The center may appear to have some underdone areas, but the blondies will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven and blondies should be on the slightly gooey side, so do not over bake.
Cool completely in pan at room temperature. Once cool, lift out using the foil and either frost with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting, then slice into squares or bars, or leave plain, if you prefer.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered. You may also freeze unfrosted blondies, individually wrapped, up to 1 month.
If you frost with cream cheese frosting, store in refrigerator.