May I point out, to begin, that this whole “melts in your mouth, not in your hand” thing is bull. These buggers melted all over my hands while I was picking out the red ones.
I suppose I should mention here that these M&Ms – and the blondies they went into – were for the UCLA-USC game, for which any colors nearing red are patently unacceptable. Provided you’re on the correct side, of course.
My dad has worked at UCLA for nigh on 35 years (maybe more? Eek), so I half grew up there. I do not, however, come from what one would call “sporty” stock, so I got jumped into the UCLA football scene 23 years after I should have – with an eight-hour tailgating session.
Why eight hours, you ask? Don’t. If you don’t know, we’re clearly not friends with the same people, including one whose birth certificate proclaimed the arrival of not merely a bouncing baby boy but a future Bruin.
Clearly, such a marathon demanded sustenance. I went simple with this one – it’s a recipe that I’ve had filed away in memory since I started baking on my own years ago. It’s based on the Toll House cookie recipe that’s on every single bag of chocolate chips you’ve ever bought, just tweaked a bit. These are great because they’re so versatile – make them plain (as is often my sister’s preference – whenever I used to bake them as cookies, I’d always pick the chocolate chips out of some of the cookie dough and make her a few chipless ones), go traditional with chocolate chips or chunks, or throw in some candy (I suggest chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups or Butterfingers, although a Snickers certainly wouldn’t go amiss). I’ve also marbled chocolate in with excellent, cookie dough-like results.
I know people in the World of Gourmet Foodies sneer at Toll House, but I bet they’d shut up if they spent eight hours eating Bruin-themed blondies.
The key to these is upping the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. If you want to highlight whatever mix-in you choose, you can dial them back and replace some of the brown sugar with traditional white, but I like my chocolate/candy/etc. vehicle to be equally as enticing.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
generous teaspoon salt
1 cup (two sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 cups chocolate chips or mix-in(s) of your choice (try white chocolate or butterscotch chips or coarsely chopped candy canes or candy bars
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom of a 13×9-inch pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugars, and vanilla until fluffy and light in color. Add eggs one at a time; beat on medium speed until fully incorporated.
With mixer on low speed, gradually stir in flour mixture, periodically scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Stop when there are a few little bits of flour left unincorporated. Gently stir in chocolate chips (you can do this by hand as well if you’re paranoid about overmixing – which results in a tough cookie – like me).
Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes (on the safe side – it may end up being longer) – or until golden. Cool before slicing.
*Alli’s note: The piped lettering on top is really just for show (not flavor), but if you’d like to duplicate it, it’s just powdered sugar with a tiny bit of milk and food coloring. Add a few drops of milk at a time until the icing is at piping consistency.