I'm going to throw a few numbers out right now....
6: inches of snow that fell the other night.
3: number of days that Georgia Tech has canceled school.
4: bowls of oatmeal I've had in the past three days.
2: number of hours it took two of my friends and me to walk the mile to Publix and back.
0: number of cars you'd see out on the street because of this "snowpocalypse."
I've never before experienced this much snow in Atlanta. I don't think Tech has ever been closed for this many days at a time. It's certainly a strange experience to be stuck on this campus with virtually nothing to do. Sure, it was fun yesterday with nothing to do. The eerie silence on campus, save for the sound of shovels scraping against the sidewalks, was kind of cool. There was even one brave soul kayaking down the snow on Freshman Hill. We ate sub sandwiches, watched movies, and sat around on the floor playing the Girls' Night Out edition of Table Topics.
But today was a completely different story. Breakfast at the dining hall was wholly underwhelming. (To give you the idea of how sparse the selection was, know that I ate Wonder Bread for the first time in my entire life.) I attempted to tackle my Computer Science homework (pretty much a total failure), played solitaire with myself (with actual playing cards), and wished that I was at home, where it's familiar and cozy. At home, there are blankets and a fireplace, which make the vision looking out the window worth it. Here, I'm just stuck in my dorm room with little to do.
Hopefully you all are in a more promising situation than I am. (Maybe there's not even snow where you are!) In my mind, there's no better way to pass time than baking up a storm in the kitchen. And there's no better treat to make when the sky is bleak and gray than blondies.
Essentially chocolate chip cookies in bar form, blondies are wonderful because they take to so many variations and add-ins. In this particular version, I chose to add white chocolate chips and M&M's, which studded them with occasional bursts of blues, greens, and reds. The blondie itself has a warm butterscotch flavor from the brown sugar and butter and hints of sweet vanilla from the white chocolate.
In weather this crazy, eating a blondie warm from the oven suddenly makes the cabin fever melt away, although I wish the snow would, too.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Chewy, Chunky Blondies
The butterscotch flavor of these blondies serves as the perfect backdrop to a myriad of flavors. Be creative! See the end of the recipe for more add-ins. When I made these, I used a hand mixer to mix the batter. While our hand mixer is certainly not state-of-the-art, it had trouble with this relatively thick batter. If you opt to use a hand mixer, know that you will have to stop periodically to get the batter out from the inside of the beaters. If I made these again, I'd probably use a stand mixer. (Note that you can also mix these by hand, but prepare to use a lot of elbow grease!)
Yield: 32 bars, each about 2 1/4 by 1 1/2 inches
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup M&M's
Position an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl working with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixing speed to low and add the dry ingredients slowly, mixing just until they disappear into the batter. If a few streaks of flour remain, use a rubber spatula to incorporate them into the batter.
Add the white chocolate chips and M&M's by hand until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Scrape the batter (it will be quite thick) into the prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it out as evenly as possible.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the blondies comes out with a few crumbs attached. The blondies will have pulled away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for about 15 minutes. From there, you can turn the blondies out onto another cooling rack and cut them into bars or you can cut them into bars right in the pan. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Store the blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. If the blondies are a little hard, heat them in the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften them up.
More add-ins for blondies:
Chocolate chips or chunks (semisweet or milk)
Butterscotch or peanut butter chips
Sweetened, shredded coconut
Chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, peanuts, etc.)
Dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, figs, raisins)
Chopped candy bars (Heath bars, Reese's, Snickers, Butterfingers, etc.)