That chocolate craving hits, and the search begins for something sweet and homemade. It happens all the time. I love baking a pan of bar cookies for a sweet tooth emergency of this sort, because it’s such an efficient solution.
The recipe that inspired these Chocolate Chip Blondies came from Chloe Coscarelli, the award-winning vegan chef who made news when she won the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.
Her recipe was delicious from the start, and already vegan, but after doubling the volume to fit a 9 x 13-inch pan, I was on a mission to lighten it further.
That’s when I removed a full stick and one half of vegan margarine from the recipe, along with about 1200 calories and 130 grams of fat.
Here’s where this story gets complicated.
In place of all that margarine, I was using nondairy yogurt…until my favorite yogurt, made by the WholeSoy & Co. became unavailable for months on end, creating a dire soy yogurt drought for fans like me. Apparently the company, quite unexpectedly, had to move, locate a new site, and begin from scratch to rebuild production facilities.
But that’s a story for another day.
Fortunately, WholeSoy & Co. yogurt is due back on the shelves any day now, according to their blog.
Back on topic, I found that in the absence of yogurt, guess what! Silken tofu works equally well. Because silken tofu is so soft and mild tasting, it blends easily with other ingredients. (I buy silken tofu in shelf-stable aseptic boxes, which don’t require refrigeration.)
My husband loves these, as does my non-vegan son. And this is the kind of recipe you can throw together while the oven is still preheating. Combine ingredients, spread in the pan, and watch the magic through the steamy oven glass.
Do allow these to get a little crispy and golden around the edges. They’ll still be plenty soft and chewy in the center.
I have made a few other modifications to the original recipe, but they are mostly minor. In this version (below) I doubled the vanilla, halved the salt, and omitted walnuts.
If you have extra bars, stash them in the freezer for later. They freeze well, and you’ll be glad to have them waiting next time you’re looking for something sweet, chocolaty, and homemade.
CHOCOLATE CHIP BLONDIES
Inspired by Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, by Chloe Coscarelli
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup plain nondairy yogurt, or silken tofu
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9 x 13-inch baking pan with light coat of cooking spray, if desired.
In a large bowl combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine yogurt or tofu with brown sugar and vanilla. Mix well, either by hand or with an electric hand mixer, until smooth. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture. Once incorporated, mix in chocolate chips.
Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Cut into 1 x 2-inch bars, and serve.