Here, using salted butter instead of adding salt to a batter separately tends to yield a more muted salinity and, in less capable hands, can lead to a saccharine baked good. When you pair it with something tart, like a fruit — or, as it is done here, raspberry jam — you curtail some of that sweetness and wind up with something beautifully balanced.
If you like a more pronounced salty effect and enjoy the crunch that flaky salt provides, sprinkle some of those grains on top of the bars before baking. It’s not necessary here, but it’s all the rage right now.
1 1⁄2cups packed dark brown sugar
16tablespoons(2 sticks) salted butter, melted and cooled but still pourable
8ouncesmilk chocolate, chopped into slightly smaller than 1/2-inch chunks
1teaspoonflaky sea salt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of an 8-by-12-inch baking pan with cooking oil spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper so that two of the sides hang over the edges (for easy lifting when the slab of blondies is done).
Whisk together the brown sugar and eggs in a medium bowl until the mixture is smooth and lightened in color. Carefully whisk the melted butter into the sugar mixture a little at a time so it does not slosh out of the bowl, then whisk in the vanilla extract.
Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Use a flexible spatula to blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by the chopped chocolate, until well incorporated. Scrape into the pan, spreading it evenly into the corners.
Drop teaspoonfuls of the jam across the surface of the blondie batter, and then gently pull the tip of a paring knife through the jam in one direction and then the other, creating a zigzig/grid pattern on the surface. Sprinkle the flaky salt on top, if using. Bake (middle rack) for 32 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan front to back halfway through, or until crisp edges form and the top is just set.
Cool in the pan, then lift out the slab and cut into 24 equal pieces.
Adapted from a recipe by pastry chef Melissa Weller of Walnut Street Bakery in Philadelphia.
Tested by Helen Horton; email questions to email@example.com.
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Calories: 220; Total Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Cholesterol: 40 mg; Sodium: 80 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 30 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 20 g; Protein: 2 g.