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Brownies and Blondies

Some of my returning participants joke that they come for the brownies, but they stay for the writing exercises. I make a fresh batch of brownies for every workshop in the hope of making it a tradition among those I've trained in this method. The first night I went to a workshop at Pat Schneider's house (she's the founder of the method), she had brownies there. In honor of Pat's generosity, please find my version below, and scroll down to find my blondies recipe too.


Laguna Writers Brownies

4 ounces Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, melted until soft
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted until soft

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs, lightly beaten
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix melted chocolate and butter until smooth, then add sugar until it is mixed in thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients, except flour, which should be mixed in separately and last. Stir together until smooth, and pour into a greased (buttered) eight inch, square baking pan.

To make the brownies extra fudge-like, melt an additional ounce of Baker's chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl with three tablespoons of water (one minute on high). Mix water and melted chocolate together until the mixture is thick, but pourable, like gravy.

Spoon the melted chocolate over the top of the brownie mixture in the pan in thin strips, from top to bottom, and also from side to side (making a criss-cross pattern on the top of the mixture). Run a butter knife through this pattern to form a ragged "fleurs-de-lis" pattern that will melt into the top and take the brownies to a whole new level. (A special thanks to AWA Affiliate Joan-Marie Wood, who taught me this).

Place rack in the upper third of oven, and bake for 25-28 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Cut into small squares.

Eat, write and enjoy!


Beautiful Blondies

Blondies traditionally are brownie substitutes (as if there could be such a thing). Most recipes call for half white sugar and half brown, and white chocolate chips only (hence the blonde in blondie). I insist on adding dark chocolate chips, and also find that using all brown sugar really gives them a rich, butterscotch flavor.

The blondies used to only show up for special events: the Lake reading, for example, or the pot luck we always have on the last night of every nine-week session. But then I started making them whenever I got bored of the brownies, and they really caught on. I get requests for them now, and I gladly oblige.


Laguna Writers Blondies

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt

2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate and peanut butter chips (1+1)
You can also substitute or add white chocolate chips, but the peanut butter chips make this recipe special, so leave those in!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Butter and flour a 9 x13 Pyrex (glass) baking dish (metal pans won't work as well)

Firmly pack the sugar and place in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a small skillet or in the microwave in a glass measuring cup. Stir the butter into the sugar until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

Beat the eggs lightly, then add with vanilla into the sugar mixture. Add the flour mixture a bit at a time and mix until a smooth, thick batter forms. Stir in the chips.

Spoon the batter to the prepared dish and spread to evenly fill the dish. (note: it will be sticky, so work that spatula!)

Bake until the blondies are light brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean: 20 minutes is just perfect.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut into squares and serve.



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