Out of any recipe that I’ve developed and written myself, this has got to be my favorite. It began as an experiment, then turned into a labor of love, with more batches baked (and substitutions tested) since last November than I can count. At long last, I feel it’s finally ready to be shared with all of you, and the blogosphere at large!
So this, friends and foodies, is the debut of my baking magnum opus. Combining my three favorite sweet flavors – nut butter, white chocolate, and vanilla – in one perfect baked good, it’s a sweet symphony of nutty, buttery ingredients, laced with fragrant vanilla and studded with chunky chocolate. I am pleased and proud to present to you…
The Ultimate Almost Vegan Blondie! I hope you love it as much as I do.
Per serving: 193 calories, 8.4g fat (3g sat), 26.4g carbs, 1g fiber, 3g protein
- 3.5 oz. white chocolate (vegan if desired)
- 3.5 oz. creamy natural peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 6 Tbsp warm water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup chocolate chunks or chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. In a small saucepan, combine the white chocolate (in bar or chip form), peanut butter, and margarine. (To make it 100% vegan, seek out certified-vegan white chocolate. If for any reason you want it less vegan, feel free to use butter instead of the Earth Balance!)
- Transfer to the stovetop and cook over low heat, stirring consistently, until the mixture is mostly melted. (Alternatively, you can use a double boiler or the microwave method.) It’s ok if it’s not entirely smooth; in fact, scattered bits of white chocolate are a nice touch! Set it aside to cool.
- While that mixture is cooling, combine the flaxseed and warm water in a large bowl and whisk for 30 seconds, until it thickens slightly. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine.
- Add the cooled white chocolate-peanut butter mixture to the flax-sugar mixture and whisk thoroughly to combine. Sift in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until almost-but-not-quite combined, then add the chocolate chunks or chips. (I personally like it best with chunks, but for this particular batch, all I had were chips.)
- Fold in the chunks/chips until just combined. No overmixing! Scrape the batter into your prepared baking pan—but not before taking a [lot of] bite[s] of it first! (Seriously, don’t skip that part. It is SO GOOD. Some of my batches almost didn’t even make it into the oven!)
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. (Err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking. Gooey blondies are better than crispy!) Let cool for as long as you can stand before cutting.
- Slice. Eat. Rejoice. Repeat.
As many of you know already, I am all about substitution and customization in cooking and baking, and I almost never make a recipe exactly as written. With baking in particular, though, substitution can be tricky; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. With these blondies, I’ve done some of that legwork for you, what with all the test batches I baked, so I can tell you at least a few things that I know for a fact will or won’t work. Unless otherwise noted, these are all 1-to-1 substitutions.
Substitutions I’ve tried that worked:
– Light stick butter in place of Earth Balance margarine
– 2 eggs in place of flax + water (yes, once in a very blue moon I do bake with eggs!)
– Splenda Baking Blend (½ cup) in place of sugar (yep, sometimes I use Splenda too!)
Substitutions I’ve tried that did not work:
– Additional ½ oz. each of white chocolate and PB in place of Earth Balance margarine
– Reduced fat natural peanut butter in place of full-fat PB
– Spelt flour in place of all-purpose flour
I also have countless ideas for even MORE possible substitutions. Sky’s the limit, people!
Substitutions I have not tried…yet:
– Coconut oil in place of Earth Balance margarine
– Almond or cashew butter in place of peanut butter
– Brown sugar or Sucanat in place of white sugar (half or all)
– ¾ cup agave nectar or honey in place of sugar (omitting 2-4 Tbsp water)
– Gluten-free flour or flour blends in place of wheat flours
– Soy, hemp, or almond milk in place of water
– Butterscotch or toffee chips in place of chocolate chunks
– Adding ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
If any of you make these (and hope MANY of you do!), I’d love to know what you tried substitution-wise (if anything) and, of course, how you liked them. As I said, I am unabashedly proud of these blondies, and I want to see as many people as possible try them! I would love for this recipe to spread like wildfire to all of YOUR kitchens, and blogs as well. So here’s my challenge: MAKE THESE BLONDIES! Substitute to your heart’s content! Be creative! Go crazy! Then by all means please let me know how they turned out, what worked or what didn’t, and how much they changed your life (just kidding on that last part…maybe).
I’ll leave you with (I hesitate to say this, since I myself am blonde, and I fear anyone should think it self-referencing and thus get the wrong idea, but I’ll say it anyway!) one last series of gratuitous blondie porn.