Monday, December 12, 2011

Cinnamon Blondies and the Yelp Cookie Swap

Hawaii can be so funny, sometimes. Earlier this year I was selected for jury duty and I was the only white person or haole as we're called in Hawaii. Everyone else was "local" which tends to mean either Hawaiian or Asian.

During our lunch break one day, some of the ladies started talking about haole brownies. I thought to myself "What the hell is a haole brownie?! It must be either a white brownie or a brownie made by a white person." I sat and listened quietly. These haole brownies seemed to be hugely popular, well known in the Kamehameha Schools community (the school system here in Hawaii just for native Hawaiians), and extremely delicious! Ok, so maybe they like these haole brownies and aren't making fun of white people, I thought. If they were, they wouldn't say it in front of me, right? I've done a little asking around and googling since then, and it seems that these mysterious haole brownies are actually blondies!    

One long story later, I'll get to the point - this haole girl was invited to a Yelp Holiday Cookie Swap! I decided to make a delicious recipe I'd tried out a few months ago for cinnamon blondies. They were easy to make and incredibly addicting so they'd be great for sharing. I also found it quite funny that the haole girl would bring haole brownies!

I made them exactly as the original instructed, only I doubled the recipe and used regular-old-cinnamon. I don't have 2 square pans of the same style - one is an 8" x 8" metal and the other a 9" x 9" Pampered Chef stone baker.

Cinnamon Blondies
(makes 2 batches)

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
3 cups of light brown sugar
3 teaspoons of vanilla
2 sticks of butter
   (there are 3 sticks in the photo, although you only need 2)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
   (again, 6 eggs in the photo but you only need 4)

Optional: 1 cat to supervise! She honestly perched on the couch and watched me bake. Do you like my all candy Christmas tree? I suppose I should do a post about that. It's food!

Before you begin, let's get a few steps out of the way to avoid an Ang-Style-Baking-Meltdown:
  • Get the eggs out of the fridge so they can come to room temperature
  • Line the pan(s) with parchment paper and hit them with a coat of non-stick spray
  • Measure all of the ingredients and read the recipe from beginning to end
  • Get the oven mitts out and put them near the oven!
I'm finally starting to enjoy baking since I've accepted that the rules need to be followed exactly!

Sift the flour, salt, and cinnamon into a large bowl and stir to combine, then set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the brown sugar and stir until it's dissolved. Cook for another minute until the mixture bubbles but does not boil, then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.

Now is a great time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Once that butter and brown sugar mixture, otherwise known as HEAVEN, is cooled, add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla to it and mix to combine. The photo was gross so I spared you.

Now, pour the mixture over the dry ingredients in a very large bowl and mix until just blended.


Taste the batter once or twice (or 18 times) to make sure it's perfect, then pour it into your pans.

Because I made a double batch and used totally different pans I kept a close eye on these. They were both finished after 33 minutes. Make sure the center is springy and not liquidy. 

Allow them to cool on a cooling rack, first in the pans and later all by themselves! The parchment paper truly is a lifesaver for getting them out of the pan and for clean up.

Cut them into squares and take them to a party! Ok, the party is optional but that's what I did. Here are the Cinnamon Blondies at the Yelp Cookie Swap, ready to be tested, judged, and eaten!  

The cookie swap was held at Bambu2, a fun downtown bar. The set-up was perfect for maximum cookie exposure and everyone could easily get around the room to taste, mix, and mingle. I bribed my friend Deanna to come with me with the promise of free cookies!

There were so many delicious types of cookies! A couple people even made Yelp cookies.

Look at the iced Yelp cookies in the very front! Those next ones, Snickeroo's, were my second favorite of the day. Second to the coconut macaroons topped with chocolate!

Everyone who baked/brought cookies was first able to walk around and sample a small bite of each. We were given one ticket to vote for our favorite with, so once we found the one - we put our ticket in the brown paper bag that the cookie's name and the name of the baker were on. Since Deanna didn't bake she took pictures during the cookie tasting, or cookie marathon as she called it!

I either LOVE that cookie or really hate it! hehe

Once the judging was over and the winner was announced, we were able to go back around the room and scarf collect one of each cookie to take home. Here's my loot! The large cookie on the bottom left was the winner of the contest, called "reindeer droppings!"

In my mind, this is what's inside Santa's pack!

I was so thrilled to find out that my cinnamon blondies were quite popular! Two different people told me that they voted for them, too. MAKE MY DAY, WHY DON'T YA?!

I came home with a boosted ego (due to the popularity of my cookie) and tons of great goodies! Never again will I go another December without attending or throwing a cookie exchange.


  1. I love blondies but have never made ones with cinnamon in them - until this Christmas! Thanks for the great idea!

    marie watt

  2. You're welcome! Tell Tommy they're from me :)