When I prepared desserts for our dessert party a few weeks ago, my sister-in-law, JC, loved the blondies that I made.
Blondies are without a doubt one of the easiest recipes in my arsenal and never seem to fail to please even the most avid chocolate lover – but they generally contain no chocolate. Unless, that is, you throw in some chocolate chips which is a devilishly good idea, but changes the exclusive focus on chewy ultra-sweet butterscotch to one that includes the complexity of chocolate. Though, obviously, that combination is virtually deadly (which is why I usually, selflessly, poison-test baked goods before serving them to friends/family). This time I added chocolate chips – it is my perogative, after-all. S & I poison tested this batch – we are still alive, happy.
Like many of my favorite recipes, these are not difficult and not intricate. They are pretty homey and come from an old standby: The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It is another well worn cookbook with basic American recipes (the original book is over 100 years old). I always find that the baking recipes have stood the test of time in these cookbooks. The savory recipes are sometimes past their prime or simplify new cuisine, but these old cookbooks usually give good ideas and guidelines (i.e., how long to cook and how carve a chicken, how to make stock, how to make stuffing, etc.) Cookbooks like Fannie Farmer were indispensible before the advent of the Web, because they are somewhat instructional in nature. When you had just one good cookbook, it was like an old reliable friend and teacher. If you look at really old versions of, say, The Joy of Cooking, you can even get multiple recipes on how to prepare squirrel. Which is nice and may come in handy, someday. But, I just did a search on “cooking squirrel” on Yahoo! and it returned over 9 million hits. The first was a lesson from “eHow”. I do have a point here….
With food web-sites, food blogs, eHow’s and, basically, social networking through food, a lot of the “old friend” aspect of these venerable tomes has been lost. Which is a shame. These wonderful books have stood the test of time, because these classics are both trustworthy and reliable. I’m sticking with my old friends even as I make new ones.