Chocolate Chip and Cherry Blondies

Have you been buying your weight in summer fruit every time you go to the grocery store or pass a farmers market?

Okay, well I have.

Especially cherries.

I love cherries. They are just so perfect. Their sweetness, their hearty flesh, the chewiness.

The only thing not perfect about them are their little pits. Pits are a PITA.

I do have a cherry pitter but I find it just splatters cherry juice everywhere and doesn’t always poke out the pit. More misfires than proper pokes.

If the cherry pit is slightly off-center, the gadget just stabs the cherry down the middle, misses the pit, and said cherry juice splatters even more, so I tend to just slice the cherries with a paring knife and am pretty fast with that.

I’m also pretty fast with polishing off a one-pound bag of fresh cherries.

But between the watermelon, nectarines, blueberries, grapes, standard issue bananas and apples, and then the cherries, even I was running out room. In both my stomach and crisper drawer.

So I decided to make cherry blondies.

The beauty of this blondie recipe is that it’s fast, one-bowl, and no mixer is required. It’s 4-minute batter.

Melt a stick of butter in a big mixing bowl in the microwave.

Stir in brown sugar, an egg, vanilla, flour; fold in cherries (and maybe a few raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries) and chocolate chips and you’re ready to bake.

Fastest batter-making ever.

Everything is better with chocolate chips.

Including cherries.

I almost used white chocolate chips but then thought, no, semi-sweet chocolate and cherries just go together.

After all, dark chocolate-covered cherries are the confections that overpriced Valentine’s Day candy assortment boxes are made of.

Doctor these up with white chocolate chips, add coconut flakes, add most any other type of fruit from peaches to blackberries, fresh or frozen; I’ve tried many combos of fresh, frozen, half-and-half, and things always work out with this blondie base.

Because of the fruit and the fruit juices released while baking, to say they’re moist and juicy is an understatement.

There’s no granulated sugar in them; just brown sugar, and in cookie baking, a higher ratio of brown to white sugar keeps cookies extra soft and moist, and it does the same thing for blondies. It also imparts a caramely-buttery richness that I adore.

The chocolate chips melted everywhere.

Can you say hot juicy beautiful mess?

Cherries and summer fruit never tasted so good.

Chocolate Chip and Cherry Blondies - Soft buttery blondies packed with juicy cherries and chocolate chips!  Having fruit for dessert takes on a whole new meaning!

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Chocolate Chip and Cherry Blondies

These soft blondies are packed with cherries and chocolate chips, and there's big juicy berries in every bite. Fresh or frozen cherries may be used. If using frozen fruit, don't thaw it; stir it in frozen or it will "bleed" into the batter. Baking time is not noticeably effected using frozen. Or try fresh or frozen peaches, nectarines, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries. The blondies are fast and easy to make, and come together in one bowl, no mixer, and are a perfect way to use up your extra ripe fruit.

Yield: one 8x8-inch pan, 9 generous squares

Prep Time: 10 mintues

Cook Time: about 30 minutes

Total Time: about 1 hour, for cooling

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt, optional

3/4 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup cherries (or combination of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries; fresh or frozen)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 60 seconds.

To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and stir to combine.

Add the egg, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over mix or the blondies will be tough.

Fold in chocolate chips, fruit (I don't halve the cherries: I like them chunky and big), and pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.

Bake for 27 to 32 minutes, or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan and center is set. Baking time will vary based on types of fruit used, fresh, frozen, and the moisture content of the fruit; and how gooey you like your blondies. A toothpick inserted into the middle may not come out clean due to the chocolate chips or juicy fruit. Allow bars to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

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