My cast-iron skillet gets a lot of play in the kitchen. In fact, I have two: an 8" and a 10", and I use them for everything from chicken to scrambled eggs. Now, I can add desserts to that long list.If you don't own a cast-iron skillet, they're inexpensive and they'll last you forever. And if you've never had a blondie, they're like a big, decadent chocolate chip cookie. I hope in two short sentences I've convinced you that you need both of these things in your life.
I started making blondies when I was in college because my mom always made them for me and my sister, and for the first year away from home I was chronically homesick. Now I always have a strange feeling of copping out when I make them because they're so darn simple, and I feel like I should spend time baking things I've never tried before. But let's face it: a one pan recipe for buttery, chocolate, crunchy blondies is not much of a cop-out, and it's something that's going to happen a whole lot more in the near future.
This recipe doesn't need a lot of explanation or clarification. It really is as easy as melting a stick of butter in your pan, adding some brown sugar and tossing it all together with your dry ingredients before transferring it back into the skillet to bake. They'll come out of the oven perfectly crispy around the edges and soft on the inside. The chocolate will be melted and gooey, and you'll have trouble eating just one slice.
I used coconut chips in my version, but I know some people aren't fond of coconut so I've left it as optional here. If you have trouble finding unsweetened coconut chips at your supermarket, sweetened flake coconut will work just fine. And in case you need it, here's a quick tutorial on how to get the skins off of your hazelnuts.
Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Skillet Blondies
Makes 8 Blondies
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 large egg
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped (I use 72% Callebaut or Scharffen Berger)
1/2 cup peeled hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
Heat the butter in the 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Once the butter has completely melted, add the brown sugar and whisk together until it dissolves, about 1 minute. Slowly pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg, vanilla, and espresso powder. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
Fold the chopped chocolate, hazelnuts, and coconut chips (optional) into the dough. Transfer the dough back to the buttery skillet, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the blondie is golden brown on top and set in the middle. You'll know it's done when cake tester or a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Cool the blondies for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Slice in wedges like a pie.
Blondies will keep for three days covered at room temperature.
(Images: Megan Gordon)