Nancy Drew blondies are like butterscotch brownies that are chewy and gooey and loaded with chocolate chips that melt into a luscious swirl. Lovely in the best, most indulgent way possible.
Yes, these blondies are named after the teenage detective in the series of mystery novels that your mother or grandmother read as a child. [Editor’s Note: If the name “Nancy Drew” means nothing to you, then take your millennial patootie to the library—either in person or online—and reserve or download some of the books in the series. Or at least take a twirl through Google and see what she’s about. Consider it homework for when you sit down with these blondies.] Make no mistake, these are not the blondies of your childhood. These are even better. They’re rich, chewy, and butterscotch-y with swirls of molten chocolateyness.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Nancy Drew Blondies
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cold
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar or muscovado sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg cold
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk or semisweet or dark chocolate chips or chunks
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or chunks (if you don’t want super sweet blondies, substitute more milk or semisweet or dark chocolate)
- 1/3 cup walnuts lightly toasted and roughly chopped (optional)
- Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8-inch (20-centimeter) square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang around each side.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and with a wooden spoon or sturdy silicone spatula, mix in the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt until relatively smooth. Quickly stir in the egg and mix until smooth and lump-free. Add the flour, chocolate chips, and walnuts (if using) all at once. Stir the mixture until just incorporated. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
- Bake for 23 to 30 minutes, until the blondies are golden and crinkly on top, set in the middle, and a toothpick or cake tester plunged into the center comes out clean or with just a few stray crumbs attached.
- Let the blondies cool completely in the pan. (Hah! We know the temptation. Trust us, we know. Still, try to wait. These blondies are better after they rest a little.) Lift the ends of the parchment paper and transfer the entire block of blondies to a cutting board. Cut the block into rows of 4, 5, or 6 to yield 16, 25, or 36 squares. The blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. (Hah! As if you’ll be able to resist for that long.)
Nancy Drew Blondies VariationBlondies Without Chocolate If you’re not in the mood for milk or white chocolate, you can leave it out and increase the amount of walnuts to 1 cup (105 grams). If you’re not into walnuts, either, use pecans or any kind of nut you feel to be appropriate. Bitter Chocolate Blondies If you prefer your blondies on the not-terribly-sweet end of the sweet spectrum, opt for dark chocolate chips and omit the white chocolate. Cakey Blondies The secret to the moist, chewy texture of these blondies recipe is the cold egg; if you prefer a blondie that’s a little less moist and a little more cakey, use a room-temperature egg and briefly beat it with a whisk before adding it to the batter. Once the batter is ready to be baked, add a couple more minutes oven time.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I read the Nancy Drew mysteries as a child many years ago, and I also liked to make butterscotch brownies, although I’m not sure if there’s any connection between the two. Butterscotch has always been a favorite of mine (I prefer it to chocolate—blasphemously, I suppose). Having not baked or eaten blondies in years, I gave this blondies recipe a try, unsure about how it would turn out. I don’t recall ever adding chocolate to blondies before, and I’m not even certain about the nuts. But this recipe exceeded my expectations. The batter seemed almost like fudge going into the pan (coincidentally, I used the ancient pan my mother always used for her box-mix brownies), but the texture turned out just right. After 30 minutes in the oven, the blondies were a bit crinkled on the top, just the way I like brownies, and a few crumbs came off the toothpick used for testing doneness. The blondies might have been done a few minutes before that, but knowing my oven’s quirks, I waited 30 minutes to check for doneness. The chocolate chips, which melted and swirled a bit after being whisked into the hot mixture, were a nice accent to the buttery brown sugar base. The chocolate chips were somewhat visible in the final product but not distinct in flavor; they certainly added to the sweetness.
Not wanting too big a hit of sugar and calories, I cut these into 36 pieces. Each piece is (was!) a modest but entirely satisfying couple bites. They are very sweet and rich, and smaller seems the way to go in terms of size. I might like to try making these only with walnuts, as they pair well with the butterscotch flavor. I used whole-wheat pastry flour in this, which worked great. I lined the pan with parchment, which I found hard to keep in place until the pan was filled. The liner worked great for getting them out of the pan. Next time I’ll use foil. There was a bit of variance when weighing the brown sugar (I got 214g instead of 200g) and pastry flour (I measured 130g in 1 cup instead of 120g).
This blondies recipe was so easy to make and tasted so delicious. I sort of cheated and melted my butter in the microwave to make the batter a one-bowl operation. I used light brown sugar and all-purpose flour as that was all I had on hand. I look forward to trying the whole-wheat version next time. I only had milk chocolate chips and so this is what I used along with pecans. I can’t wait to try these with white chocolate! The hands-on time was approximately 9 minutes and the baking time was 27 minutes. I was eager to cut the blondies while they were still warm, but found that the flavor seemed to develop more once they were completely cool. I liked the slight hardness to the crust and the chewiness of the middle, which was achieved by using a cold egg. I cut these into 25 squares and think this size is perfect! I like this blondies recipe better than my old one as it’s not too, too sweet. However, next time I’ll add more salt as I found this blondie a bit bland. I hope you will enjoy this as much as me. It was a perfect treat for a snow day!
How many minutes does it take a den of cub scouts to DEVOUR a pan of these blondies? Just 3 1/2 minutes. I timed them. I couldn’t help but notice the parents gladly helping out and polishing them off, too! I wouldn’t change a thing with this blondies recipe, though I did have to improvise on the flour since I didn’t have the whole-wheat pastry flour on hand; instead I used 1/2 regular flour and 1/2 whole-wheat flour. I especially liked that you cook them up in a single saucepan.
I don’t normally opt for baking, however, I found myself stuck inside this morning and hopelessly bored after the first 2 hours. I happened to have all the ingredients for these blondies in my pantry and so I gave it a go. They only took about 10 minutes to prepare. I love that you melt the butter before mixing in the sugar instead of having to lug out the mixer to cream the 2 ingredients together. I used all-purpose flour. According to the recipe description, the original recipe only had walnuts, and so that’s what I did. I used 1 cup of chopped, toasted walnuts. I don’t think these need chocolate chips of any kind, but if you ABSOLUTELY need some, I think dark chocolate would keep things from getting too sweet. The dough was pretty sticky and very chunky and it was slightly difficult to spread it in the pan evenly. Once in the oven, the blondies took about 35 minutes before they passed the toothpick test (however, my oven usually takes a bit longer than recipes specify.) The blondies came out rich, chewy, dense, and delicious.
Delicious! I love a great recipe with very little clean up. My hands-on time was less than 10 minutes. The flavor and chewiness from the butter and brown sugar makes these a treat you want to make again and again. I used white chocolate pieces, dark chocolate chips, and toasted pecans instead of walnuts and the blondies were done to perfection in 23 minutes. I cut them into 20 pieces, which I feel is the perfect size. I think they will be even more sinful with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! I think I’ll try that tonight!
Blondies have always been a childhood favorite. After reading the recipe for Nancy Drew blondies I knew I had to make these for 2 reasons. The first is that I grew up with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew and nostalgia is always a great motivator. The second reason is I do not remember the blondie version I grew up with having chocolate in them—I think a different chip was used, though I do remember them having nuts for a while until my sister proclaimed she didn’t like nuts. I used all-purpose flour and both white and milk chocolate chips along with walnuts. The ease of the recipe is great—no having to wait until the butter or egg comes to room temperature, so when you decide to make this blondies recipe you can start at once. I also loved the parchment paper lining, which made lifting the blondies out of the pan easy once they had cooled. A tip about waiting for the butter mixture to cool a little might be a nice tip for the inexperienced cook who might end up with the egg cooking a little. This would also help with chocolate not being to warm and melting while mixing in. The were blondies baked perfectly at 25 minutes, and I cut them into 25 squares, which seemed a good snack size. The flavor was good but too sweet for our preference. This was probably be due to the white chocolate. If I make them again, I will increase the walnuts and eliminate the white chocolate.
What’s not to love about a rich, chewy, delicious bribe you can whip up in a flash? And all the ingredients get mixed in a saucepan with a spatula—even better! This is going to be my second go-to blondie recipe (the other one is for Cinnamon Pecan Blondies, which is also found at Leite’s Culinaria). I didn’t have whole-wheat pasty flour or white or milk chocolate, so my blondies were made with all-purpose flour, 1 cup dark chocolate chips, and the optional walnuts. The blondies baked perfectly in 25 minutes in my oven and cooled in about 45 minutes. The batter may not seem enough for an 8-inch pan at first, but not to worry; just gently spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Although the blondies puff up a bit in the oven, they end up on the thin side. I recommend cutting them into 16 pieces—any smaller and you’d end up grabbing more than one anyway.
I have never made blondies, so I was curious as to how these would turn out. This blondies recipe was a cinch to put together. The total time was one hour—25 minutes to put them together and 35 minutes baking time. I used all-purpose flour, toasted walnuts, and semisweet chocolate chips (as I didn’t have any white or milk chocolate chips on hand). The batter was quite stiff, so it wasn’t possible to smooth it out evenly in the pan. No worries, though, as the resulting blondies were perfect! The bars had a good chewiness and were not too sweet. Sixteen squares of deliciousness!
Quick desserts are always a good thing, and this blondies recipe is as close to a dump-and-stir recipe as it gets. The only issue I had is that they’re more closely related to butterscotch brownies, which tend to be chewier, than they are blonde brownies, which tend to be cakier. That aside, these were sweet, salty, and tasty.
I’ve never made blondies, so I was curious as to how this blondies recipe would turn out. It was a cinch to put together. I used all-purpose flour, toasted walnuts, and semisweet chocolate chips. The batter was quite stiff, so it wasn’t possible to smooth it evenly in the pan. No worries, as the result was perfect! The blondies had a good chew and were not too sweet. The recipe made 16 squares of deliciousness!
Originally published January 31, 2015
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I thought this blondies recipe would be good, but I was not expecting it to be THIS good. When I saw the recipe, I had to make it. First, I am a huge Nancy Drew fan, and second, I love blondies but rarely make them. This recipe is so easy to make, and it only requires dirtying one pot to whip up the batter, which I loved! The ingredients come together extremely quickly once the butter is melted. I used 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet Valrhona bar and 2/3 cup chopped walnuts and regular all-purpose flour. These blondies are buttery and not too sweet with a nice, moist texture. I found that 36 squares makes for an incredibly small serving, and even though these are rich, 16 blondies seems more reasonable. I’m glad I found this recipe.