By Paige Wolven
This summer Brooke and I moved into a little house on the south end of the University of Arkansas campus. I had been in the tiny apartment we moved from for three years, and it had just gotten smaller and smaller every year. It’s such a relief to move into a house and have some room to breathe.
The best parts though, are the spaces we have outside. When we first moved in, in early June, the ginormous yellow rose bush on the side of our house was in full bloom. Any time I was outside, people walking by would compliment it, and it seems to fit well as it’s on the side of our corner house that runs parallel to Rose Avenue. Just as that was running it’s course, a squat knobby tree at the very back of our yard, started popping out bright red cherries!
We discovered that they were cherries when my mom was visiting one afternoon and bravely popped one in her mouth. They are a sour variety, and have a pretty clingy pit. The bounty has proven difficult to keep up with. Every evening I need a bigger container to collect the ripening cherries. What ripens before I get to it falls on the ground below, which is completely covered with a perfect layer of cherries. These are for our birds, squirrels, and even a young buck to share.
With more cherries than I knew what to do with and more coming in every day, I began to scheme up some uses for them. Our first cherry dessert had to be sweet enough to compensate for and compliment the sourness of the cherries. And so, I landed on blondies. I usually find these sugary chocolate-less brownies overly sweet, so they are a perfect fit. There was nothing I’d change after my first try at them, so I’ll share that recipe without further ado!
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour (gluten free in my case)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ¾ cups packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- 2 cups cherries, pitted
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a square 9 inch pan with foil.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together. Whisk in the egg and vanilla until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and cherries.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the blondies until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
- Let the blondies cool completely in the pan for about 2 hours before removing with the foil and cutting into squares.