Blondies versus Brownies
Hello there! Okay, let’s start off with a debate today: the age-old division of blondies versus brownies. Here in the U.S., brownies are super common. Their chocolatey, rich, fudgy flavor and texture slay the dessert game. You can add an assortment of mix-ins to brownie batter including chopped nuts, marshmallows and chocolate chips. But brownies have a cousin. An arch nemesis, if you will, called the blondie. Blondies come from the same dessert bar family, but instead of cocoa powder and chocolate, they are made with brown sugar. Therefore, they are a “blonde” golden color. Both brownies and blondies are equally delicious in my opinion. But some folks have very strong opinions in this debate. Have you tried both blondies and brownies? Which is your favorite? 😁 If you haven’t tried blondies before, you can whip up a batch of these chocolate hazelnut blondies in just an hour!
How to Make Swirl Blondies
First, if you’ve ever made brownies before, then you can totally make delicious blondies. With just a few ingredient changes, this dessert bar goes from fudgy cakey brownies to caramelized chewy blondies. You can make your dessert extra impressive with a fun swirl of chocolate hazelnut butter on top. Just dollop about nine tablespoons of chocolate hazelnut butter onto the blondie batter in your baking dish. Then use a toothpick, chopstick or a knife to drag the nut butter around, creating an intricate swirl pattern. It looks beautiful and it imbues each bite with an extra hit of salty-sweet chocolate hazelnut butter.
There are numerous brands of chocolate hazelnut butter on the market. But unfortunately I found out that the beloved brand I grew up eating has 25% more sugar than frosting! So I scoured the grocery store shelves for a healthier alternative. Then I found Wild Friends Foods chocolate hazelnut spread, which I love since it has 50% less sugar than that brand I grew up eating! Which means you can feel better about swirling it into some blondies. 😉
Hazelnuts – the Star of the Show
Hazelnuts are one of my favorite nuts. They have a rich flavor, and they become really creamy as you chew them, similar to macadamia nuts. Believe it or not, my home state of Oregon has one of the best climates for growing hazelnuts! The temperate climate along with its volcanic soil are ideal for growing this versatile little nut, or “filbert” as some Oregonians call them. In fact, the hazelnut is Oregon’s official State Nut. Who knew that states even had official nuts??
Hazelnuts are added in two ways to these delicious chocolate hazelnut blondies. First, whole hazelnuts are chopped up and mixed into the blondie batter. This adds a marvelous crunch with each bite. Second, chocolate hazelnut spread is swirled into the blondie batter, adding sweet ribbons of chocolatey goodness. Each bite of these blondies is balanced with crunchy hazelnuts, cakey blondie, and sweet chocolate hazelnut spread.
Chocolate Hazelnut Blondies
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup chopped hazelnuts
- ½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch x 8-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla.
- Add the brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix just until there is no visible dry flour.
- Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts.
- Spread the blondie mixture evenly into the greased baking dish. Dollop spoonful's of the chocolate hazelnut butter on top, then use a toothpick or a knife to swirl it around.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 20 minutes, then slice and enjoy!