Thursday, April 9, 2009

Brownie-Blondie Double Deckers, or the 10x10 Pan

For this week's Lost Lunch Thursday, I was a little fixated with making a batch of bar cookies that combined a blondie with a brownie. I've made a couple of different versions before, but this week, I decided to use a recipe from Abby Johnson Dodge's The Weekend Baker.

After I read over the recipe, I looked at the photo of the bar cookie in the book. Much to my dismay, the bars displayed in the photo -- as baked in a 9x13 pan -- were thinner than what I'd been hoping to make. I then decided that I needed to assemble and bake the cookie dough in a smaller pan to get a thicker cookie. An 8x8 pan would be too small. Even a 9x9 pan seemed as if it would be too small (81 sq. in. vs. 117 sq. in. for the 9x13 pan). Then I remembered the 10x10 pan.

In a couple of her books, Lisa Yockelson has recipes developed to be baked in a 10x10 pan. When I first saw the reference to that pan size, all I could think was "Who the heck owns a 10x10 pan? Where on earth can you buy a 10x10 pan?" Even though I managed to track one down at, I didn't buy it.

Then one day a few years ago, I was in a Sur La Table store in SoHo in Manhattan. The 10x10 randomly crossed my mind, and lo and behold, there it was! And I bought it! I took it home! I washed and dried it! Then I put it away until yesterday! (I think the lesson here as I'm brilliantly rationalizing it is that eventually, I will some how, some way, use the pans and gadgets that I've purchased even though they might spend some portion of their lives gathering dust.)

In the end, I think the 10x10 pan gave me the kind of bar cookie I was looking for. It's thick enough, and it required only 12 minutes or so of extra baking time. Plus, the bars are good. I did my own riff on the recipe and added a cup of white-chocolate chips to the brownie part to contrast with the semisweet chips in the blondie part. They ended up looking and tasting great.


Obscure said...

Positively Dylanesque with the blonde on brown. :^p Can you put the brownies on top, or do the blondies need to be the top layer?

Chris H said...

I've tried three different recipes for this type of bar cookie, and the brownie portion has always been the bottom layer. The brownie seems to be denser (no leavening agent!) and also firms up a bit when the blondie batter is being prepared. I guess that having the denser layer on the bottom helps to maintain the stratification. For this recipe in particular, the brownie was extremely fudgy, thus makes a good base.