Personally, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for blondies. They often get thought of as the brownie's less-attractive sibling, but I dare to disagree. What they lack in chocolate they make up for in rich vanilla and caramel flavors.
Since Joey grew up in a house that frequently had a large sheet pan full of homemade bars on the kitchen island, I figured I would do my best to recreate that experience for him in our new home. And while this recipe makes a full jellyroll pan full of bars, they are thinner and lighter than a traditional brownie would be. If you want a more brownie-like consistency, pour the batter into a 13x9-inch pan instead and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Edited to add: Joey took one bite of these bars and said they were the best thing I have ever made. Ever! He continued to rave, saying the flavor was, 'like the best things about kettle corn (salty, sweet and caramel-y) all in one bar.' If that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!
Recipe adapted from SimplyRecipes.com
*2 sticks unsalted butter
*2 large eggs
*1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1 tablespoon instant coffee
*2 cups brown sugar
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/4 teaspoon baking soda
*2 cups whole wheat flour
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a large jellyroll pan with butter. Set aside.
*In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, eggs, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, coffee and brown sugar. Beat in the baking powder and baking soda, followed by the flour. Stir until just combined.
*Spread mixture into the prepared pan in a thin, even layer.
*Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned and center is puffed and golden. Cool on wire rack. Serve with coffee ice cream, if desired.