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White chocolate-peanut butter blondies

September 16, 2010

Out of any recipe that I’ve developed and written myself, this has got to be my favorite. It began as an experiment, then turned into a labor of love, with more batches baked (and substitutions tested) since last November than I can count. At long last, I feel it’s finally ready to be shared with all of you, and the blogosphere at large!

So this, friends and foodies, is the debut of my baking magnum opus. Combining my three favorite sweet flavors – nut butter, white chocolate, and vanilla – in one perfect baked good, it’s a sweet symphony of nutty, buttery ingredients, laced with fragrant vanilla and studded with chunky chocolate. I am pleased and proud to present to you…

The Ultimate Almost Vegan Blondie! I hope you love it as much as I do.

3.5 oz. white chocolate (vegan if desired)
3.5 oz. creamy natural peanut butter
2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
6 Tbsp warm water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan. In a small saucepan, combine the white chocolate (in bar or chip form), peanut butter, and margarine. (To make it 100% vegan, seek out certified-vegan white chocolate. If for any reason you want it less vegan, feel free to use butter instead of the Earth Balance!)

Transfer to the stovetop and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is mostly melted. (Alternatively, you can use a double boiler or the microwave method.) It’s ok if it’s not entirely smooth; in fact, scattered bits of white chocolate are a nice touch! Set it aside to cool.

While that mixture is cooling, combine the flaxseed and warm water in a large bowl and whisk for 30 seconds, until it thickens slightly. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Add the cooled white chocolate-peanut butter mixture to the flax-sugar mixture and whisk thoroughly to combine. Sift in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until almost-but-not-quite combined, then add the chocolate chunks or chips. (I personally like it best with chunks, but for this particular batch, all I had were chips.)

Fold in the chunks/chips until just combined. No overmixing! Scrape the batter into your prepared baking pan—but not before taking a [lot of] bite[s] of it first! (Seriously, don’t skip that part. It is SO GOOD. Some of my batches almost didn’t even make it into the oven!)

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. (Err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking. Gooey blondies are better than crispy!) Let cool for as long as you can stand before cutting.

Slice. Eat. Rejoice. Repeat.

Yield: 16 servings.
Per serving: 193 calories, 8.4g fat (3g sat), 26.4g carbs, 1g fiber, 3g protein.

As many of you know already, I am all about substitution and customization in cooking and baking, and I almost never make a recipe exactly as written. With baking in particular, though, substitution can be tricky; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. With these blondies, I’ve done some of that legwork for you, what with all the test batches I baked, so I can tell you at least a few things that I know for a fact will or won’t work. Unless otherwise noted, these are all 1-to-1 substitutions.

Substitutions I’ve tried that worked:
– Light stick butter in place of Earth Balance margarine
– 2 eggs in place of flax + water (yes, once in a very blue moon I do bake with eggs!)
– Splenda Baking Blend (½ cup) in place of sugar (yep, sometimes I use Splenda too!)

Substitutions I’ve tried that did not work:
– Additional ½ oz. each of white chocolate and PB in place of Earth Balance margarine
– Reduced fat natural peanut butter in place of full-fat PB
– Spelt flour in place of all-purpose flour

I also have countless ideas for even MORE possible substitutions. Sky’s the limit, people!

Substitutions I have not tried…yet:
– Coconut oil in place of Earth Balance margarine
– Almond or cashew butter in place of peanut butter
– Brown sugar or Sucanat in place of white sugar (half or all)
– ¾ cup agave nectar or honey in place of sugar (omitting 2-4 Tbsp water)
– Gluten-free flour or flour blends in place of wheat flours
– Soy, hemp, or almond milk in place of water
– Butterscotch or toffee chips in place of chocolate chunks
– Adding ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

If any of you make these (and hope MANY of you do!), I’d love to know what you tried substitution-wise (if anything) and, of course, how you liked them. As I said, I am unabashedly proud of these blondies, and I want to see as many people as possible try them! I would love for this recipe to spread like wildfire to all of YOUR kitchens, and blogs as well. So here’s my challenge: MAKE THESE BLONDIES! Substitute to your heart’s content! Be creative! Go crazy! Then by all means please let me know how they turned out, what worked or what didn’t, and how much they changed your life (just kidding on that last part…maybe).

I’ll leave you with (I hesitate to say this, since I myself am blonde, and I fear anyone should think it self-referencing and thus get the wrong idea, but I’ll say it anyway!) one last series of gratuitous blondie porn.

HAPPY BAKING!

If you like this, you might also like…
Nutella-stuffed peanut butter cookies
Hazelnut cupcakes w/chocolate mousse filling
Peanut butter bliss cake

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49 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2010 1:10 pm

    Wow! I’m impressed! Not just with the final product, but with all the hard work you put into these beautiful blondies. Good for you!

  2. September 16, 2010 3:19 pm

    Oh my…you have done it again! Looks like I’m going to have to add this one to my list to goodies to make also. It also looks like I am going to have to make myself an “Almost Vegan” cookbook, since I am liking so many of your recipes! :o)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 17, 2010 4:33 pm

      This one should jump to the top of your list, if I may say!

      You know something? My dream is to be a cookbook author. Writing + food = THE perfect career for me. I’m not quite sure yet how I’m going to achieve it, but as soon as I can, I’m going to start taking steps in that direction…know any publishers out there who’d be interested? 😛

  3. September 16, 2010 4:09 pm

    oh those look amazing! what a perfect dessert!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 17, 2010 4:34 pm

      Thank you! Forgive me for being immodest, but…yeah, they’re pretty perfect 😉

  4. September 16, 2010 5:27 pm

    Oh man, these look awesome. I would definitely be one of those people that would use butter 😉 I love butter.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 17, 2010 4:36 pm

      Hehe, butter away! I don’t want lacto-ovos, or even carnivores, to ever shy away from my recipes just because they’re labeled vegan. That’s why I encourage substitutions!

  5. September 16, 2010 7:46 pm

    Amber… yesterday, I bought a bar of that vegan white chocolate for you. And now you’ve posted this, and I really am not sure I’ll be able to resist making it with said chocolate. But I did buy it for you. But this looks so good. OH DEAR LORD I’m in turmoil.

    P.S. Thank you so much for posting this 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 17, 2010 4:39 pm

      Aww! You did?! White chocolate and Indian spices, goodness are you ever spoiling me!

      That said, I will completely understand if you choose to put it towards making these blondies instead. There’s always more white chocolate to be bought later, after blondie-appetites have been sated. 🙂

  6. September 16, 2010 8:48 pm

    OMG…those look sooooo delicious! I thought it was hilarious how many pictures of the bars you put in your post..ha ha!
    I am definitely going to bake these. And, I may just try them with coconut oil! 🙂 I’ll let you know how they turn out!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 17, 2010 4:42 pm

      HAHA! I did go a little overboard, didn’t I? =X I was just being a proud mama of newborn blondie babies!

      Yes, try making them with coconut oil! I’m eager to hear if that works, because personally I’d much rather use coconut oil than Earth Balance in my baking.

  7. September 17, 2010 2:34 am

    While I believe white chocolate is an abomination not worthy of the chocolate name (I mean, for cocoa’s sake, call a spade a spade!), I am drooling at the thought of these as brunetties ;). I might have to give it a go with dark 60% cacao chocolate and cashew butter. Yum! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 17, 2010 4:46 pm

      Come now, that’s a little harsh, don’t you think? Though it may not technically belong to the “real” chocolate family, it IS made of cocoa butter…or at least, the good stuff is 😛

      However, I myself have wondered how these would turn out with melted dark chocolate. You should totally try it! Hehe, “brunetties”—I like it!

      • September 18, 2010 2:05 am

        Heh. I’m not a fan of cocoa butter. It leaves a weird coating in the mouth that I find slightly repulsive ;). I have a new favorite organic 87% cacao chocolate bar that I think needs to make its way into the recipe. I just checked, and I have everything but the chocolate bar and cashews necessary….Hmmmmmmmmmm. And Hy-Vee just happens to be open 24 hours 😉

        • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
          September 20, 2010 11:09 am

          Ooh! Sooo, did ya make ’em?

          • September 22, 2010 4:56 am

            I did!! I used Dagoba organic 87% cacao chocolate (if you like dark chocolate, this stuff might as well be crack-cocaine), coconut oil, and cashew butter (pretty sure we discussed this at your birthday party, but I make my own with roasted cashews, agave nectar, and either coconut or safflower oil depending on what I have at the time). These brownies were as close as you could get to fudge without actually being fudge–so testy!! And not horribly sweet, either. I had some mini bittersweet chips, so I used those. Also, after putting them in the pan, I cracked some sea salt over the top just to give them an extra kick and cut the richness a tad.

            I want to make these with chili-infused chocolate next.

            Excellent recipe!!

  8. Natalia permalink
    September 17, 2010 10:07 am

    Mmmm… I wish these were in my oven right now. Thanks for including the substitutions you’ve worked with!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 17, 2010 4:47 pm

      You’re very welcome! I like for people to know they shouldn’t be afraid of altering a recipe to fit their tastes, preferences, or dietary needs. 🙂

  9. September 17, 2010 11:23 am

    never made blondies before… maybe you need to send me a batch of these 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 17, 2010 4:49 pm

      Hehe, I wonder how these would fare in the mail… I’d need to put them in airtight packaging, otherwise I’d fear the aroma wafting from within might drive a hungry postal worker to tear into them and start munching away!

  10. September 17, 2010 11:50 am

    These look awesome and I’m sure are irresistible delicious! Bring some over?? :o)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 17, 2010 4:50 pm

      Maybe I will sometime 🙂 They certainly are irresistible.

  11. September 17, 2010 5:50 pm

    Your blondies look amazing! I need to get me some vegan white chocolate chippers! I wish they were easier to find locally *sigh*

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 20, 2010 11:10 am

      Thank you!
      Vegan WCCs are very hard to find around here too =/ Stuff like this is where the “almost” in “almost vegan” comes in handy! 😛

  12. September 17, 2010 7:36 pm

    delicious looking brownies!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 20, 2010 11:10 am

      Blondies, you mean? 😉 They are! You HAVE to make them; you will LOVE them!

  13. September 17, 2010 10:44 pm

    these sound/look amaaaaazing. definitely bookmarking these for when im not fasting!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 20, 2010 11:12 am

      Yay! I’d love to hear what you think of them after you make them. 🙂
      In the meantime, good luck with your fast! I know how tough that can be, so bravo!

  14. September 18, 2010 7:05 pm

    Hi Amber! Wow what a recipe!! I will for sure be making this and who does not love a blondie, right!? wink wink.
    Great site and name too, I also look forward to following. 🙂
    Take care,
    Monica

    • September 18, 2010 7:12 pm

      btw, I too am “almost vegan” 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 20, 2010 11:13 am

      Thanks so much Monica! Who doesn’t love a blondie indeed, hehe. 😉

      Thank you also for reading! I really appreciate your readership and…followership? 😛 And cheers to being fellow almost-vegans!

  15. September 22, 2010 6:28 am

    Hey girlll 🙂
    I’m catching up on your posts like a madwoman! haha. I knew you would’ve been busy baking up something delicious while I was gone! So um… I love how you took a billion angle shots of the blondies… hehe

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 22, 2010 9:21 am

      Hehe, aw, thanks! This is a really, really good one…you’ve gotta make these, seriously!
      I did go a lil overboard on the food porn photos on this one, eh? 😛

  16. Matt permalink
    September 24, 2010 8:59 pm

    I’ve just been scolded for not leaving a comment. So here…

    These are perhaps the best dessert she has ever made. We devoured them like zombies on human flesh, with no remorse. If you never eat them, you won’t ever understand…

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:03 am

      Excellent imagery, honey 😉 And thanks for putting in your two cents! It’s only a matter of time before I bake us another pan of these…

  17. September 25, 2010 9:38 pm

    I don’t like baking because eggs… eh, they gross me out. Even though I am not vegan. So this recipe really interests me. I am going to try it and bring them to work. Thanks for sharing.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 26, 2010 11:04 am

      That’s great! You’ll have to let me know what you (and your co-workers) think of them.

      Once you delve into it, you’ll find that the world of eggless baking is actually pretty vast!

  18. Ashley permalink
    October 16, 2010 4:52 pm

    This is seriously the best blondie recipe. Ever.

    I made them today with the intention of taking them to a friends. Yeah… they never made it that far. I followed your original recipe to the ‘t’, but I’ll probably try some of those mix-in ideas later! Thanks so much!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 16, 2010 6:05 pm

      Thank YOU so much! That makes me crazy-happy to hear!

      Now that you mention it, considering how many times I’ve made these, it is pretty funny how few of my friends have ever gotten to try one… 😛

  19. Kate permalink
    January 4, 2011 10:15 pm

    Hi Amber,

    Made these with pumpkin substituted for white chocolate and 1/2 a cup of sugar instead of 1 cup. Turned out great, had to bake them a touch longer though!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      January 5, 2011 8:35 am

      That’s great to know! Especially since I have an open can of pumpkin in my fridge right now… 😉

  20. April 11, 2011 2:11 pm

    ohhh amber, you have outdone yourself!!!
    i was just searching for a white chocolate blondie recipe and i found yours on google
    these look absolutely delicious!!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      April 11, 2011 2:20 pm

      Aw, thank you Katie! So glad you found me 😀 Please let me know how you like the blondies!

  21. December 1, 2011 8:49 pm

    I can’t wait to try these brownies. I have just discovered the ‘art’ of vegan baking. I, too, am ” almost vegan”. Thank you for all of the hard work that went into this recipe.
    I have a food blog, also. It pales in comparison to this great site but I have slow internet and trouble uploading. You have inspired me and maybe my blog will not die of neglect!!
    Nancy

  22. Erin permalink
    July 11, 2012 7:09 pm

    Does anyone know of any brands of vegan white chocolate? I am only recently venturing into the world of vegan foods because of a new food allergy, so I’m not familiar with the brands. Also, I really HATE to waste money….

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