Our friend Judy Rosen has elevated these bar cookies to an art form. Our kids now expect Judy to have these brownies on hand at all times. We should call them "Entitlement Brownies." Even in times when Judy and her husband David are eating in ways that exclude these sugar-y, flour-y, chocolate-spiked treats, Judy makes these cookies when our family is around. My sister-in-law, Janice Kay, a food professional, included this recipe in her indispensable family cookbook, prepared as she and Ed left for two years service in the U.S. Peace Corps in Cameroon a few years back. I have never asked Judy and Janice -- who are lifelong friends -- who discovered the recipe. Perhaps it went from Janice to Judy - or maybe both got it from the same source, the Ur-Baker of Blonde Brownies. In any case, I have tweaked the instructions but not the ingredients or their amounts.

Janice's notation in her cookbook suggests that her family loved the crusty edges of the brownies. I like the soft middle pieces, so I fit right in.

Best Blonde Brownies (This recipe works best for a 10 X 15 pan, although you can get by with the more standard 9 X 13. See further down for an adaptation for the 9 X 13 size.)

2 3/4 cup flour ½ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder

2/3 cup melted butter 2 1/4 cup brown sugar 3 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla (or you can use a lot more, I do) 6 ounces chocolate chips (I like bittersweet but any kind will do) ½ cup nuts (walnuts are good; black walnuts are outstanding; pecans are a little sweeter, almonds are sophisticated but chop them fine or use the pre-sliced kind)

Combine melted butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs (not too much beating.) Stir in the dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Spread in greased 10 X 15 pan and bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes (or at 350 for a bit longer). Or bake in a 9 X 13 pan for 25 minutes (thicker brownies.)


Amounts I prefer for a 9" X 13" pan

2 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup melted butter 1 3/4 cups brown sugar 2 eggs 2 - 3 teaspoons vanilla 6 ounces chocolate chips ½ cup nuts