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Dairy Free Blondies

You will never need another Dairy Free Blondies recipe after you taste this one!  It is rich in sweet caramel flavor without being too sweet.

Blondies piled on a plate

These blondies are chewy and so good you’ll never miss or wonder what you’re missing with buttered ones.  I certainly don’t!

To be honest, I’ve always been more of a brownie type of dessert girl than a blondies.  On top of that, I’m pretty particular about which brownies I am willing to waste calories on.  

However, I have to admit, these blondies make me want to rethink my position.

While my brownies have a deep rich chocolate flavor, these blondies are addictive with their caramel flavor.  

I also really enjoy their chewy texture which I don’t usually like as much in brownies.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think that makes blondies are perfect for autumn! 

Of course, blondies are delicious all year around, but caramel makes me think of crisp air and changing leaves.

By the way, I think it is worth noting that while the history of blondies is unclear at this time, we do know blondies predated brownies by at least a decade.

In the 1800’s they were described as “dense, fudgy, butterscotch-flavored bar[s].”

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

20% of all profits are donated to a women’s shelter to support the fight against domestic violence.

What you need

Dry measuring cups and spoons
Liquid measuring cup
Whisk
Rubber spatula
Mixing bowl
Baking paper
8×8 baking pan

CAKE FLOUR VS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

Cake flour is finer, lighter, and softer than all-purpose flour, as well as bleached, so the color is paler.  Most importantly, it has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour so cake flour produces less gluten.

I use all-purpose flour in all my recipes because it’s cheaper and most people have it on hand.

HOW TO SUBSTITUTE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR FOR CAKE FLOUR

First, you can ignore any place that calls for cake flour and use all-purpose flour at a 1:1 conversion rate.  I do this all the time.

The results will be a little less than perfect, but not very noticeable.

How to make your own cake flour

You can do this by removing two tablespoons for every cup of flour.  Then replace the same two tablespoons with corn or potato starch. 

Doing this will remove enough protein to create a lighter cake.

HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR AND OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS

Using a dry measuring cup, scoop ingredients from the bag or spoon them into the cup.  Next, level off the ingredient by removing the excess with an upside-down butter knife.

The one exception to this is brown sugar.  Brown sugar should be packed down and then any excess should be scraped off as well.

DRY VS LIQUID MEASURING CUP

Ever wonder why measuring spoons often come with a set of measuring cups?  I used to.  I didn’t see why we needed a set when we could have one large measuring cup. 

After a quick search, I had my answer.  I discovered that the large measuring cup is used for liquids, whereas the set is used for dry ingredients.

As it turns out, if you try to measure dry ingredients with a liquid cup, the measurements get messed up. 

First, you pour the flour or cocoa in, next you shake it around to get it level, and then you add more. 

By shaking it, you are causing the powder to settle, and when you add more, you end up using more than called for.

WHY SIFT FLOUR and Other Powder Ingredients

There are a number of benefits to sifting flour and other ingredients like cocoa ingredients: 

It removes any unwanted debris and you can get a more accurate measurement than when packed tight in a bag. 

It also removes any lumps that can get into the batter and be hard to break up later, or be missed altogether before baking.

If you sift the powdered ingredients together, it helps combine them and mix more evenly with other dry ingredients like sugar.

BAKING WITH OIL

In general, oil in baked goods makes for a superior texture than those made with butter.  

Oil cakes tend to bake up taller with a better crumb. They also stay moist and tender far longer than recipes made with butter.

Furthermore, since oil is lighter than butter, the texture of oil cakes is lighter too. Also, given that oil is 100% fat while most American butter is 15% water, it creates a more tender crumb.

This is due to the fact that the extra water strengthens the gluten, resulting in a crumb that’s more dense.

Which Type Of Oil to Use

I use neutral oils like canola oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil.  However, it’s not unheard of for oils with stronger flavors like olive oil or coconut oil to be used.

If using olive oil, I recommend using pure olive oil for its milder flavor and higher smoking point.

Baking with Oil Conversion Chart

If you want to convert your butter recipes to oil recipes, check out my baking with oil butter to oil conversion chart.

BROWN SUGAR

Brown sugar should not be confused with raw sugar or demerara. 

What we call brown sugar is essentially white sugar that has had molasses added back to it. 

Both dark and light brown sugar can easily be made at home if you have a little white sugar and molasses.

It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.

When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.

DARK BROWN SUGAR 

Dark brown sugar can be made with 1 cup white granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons molasses. 

Add both ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork until completely mixed.

LIGHT BROWN SUGAR

Light brown sugar can be made with 1 cup white granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses. 

Add both ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork until completely mixed.

DEMERARA

Demerara is popular in Israel and is easier to find than light brown sugar. It is a type of cane sugar with a nice toffee flavor and can be used in place of brown sugar.

HOW TO SUBSTITUTE DARK AND LIGHT BROWN SUGAR

DARK BROWN SUGAR

Dark Brown Sugar can be made with 1 cup of light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses. 

Add both ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork until completely mixed.

LIGHT BROWN SUGAR

Light Brown sugar can easily be replaced in a recipe with half dark brown sugar and half white granulated sugar.

DOES THE TYPE OF BROWN SUGAR YOU USE REALLY MATTER?

Yes and no.

It will change the flavor and likely the color.

Dark brown sugar has more molasses which will give it deeper, more complex flavor that’s closer to toffee or caramel.

However, I tend to use what’s on hand, which for me means dark brown sugar in Israel and light brown in the States.

I also happen to love the extra flavor dark brown sugar gives, so I like using it even if I have both on hand.

Types of Vanilla

Vanilla comes from a pod commonly known as a “vanilla bean”, which comes from the vanilla orchids. Vanilla pod has been used for flavoring since the Aztecs, and was introduced to Europe by a Spanish conquistador, along with cocoa.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for some time. This is the most commonly used type of vanilla.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is common in Europe and some parts of the Middle East, like Israel.  It is made from vanilla beans sitting in sugar, vanilla bean powder mixed with sugar, or sugar mixed with vanilla extract.

In some countries, like Italy, you can also find vanilla powdered sugar which is used for confections.

Vanilla Paste

Vanilla paste is generally a specialty item.  It is a thick paste that contains a blend of the scraped-out vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract.  You can use it as you do vanilla extract and it will leave flakes of vanilla bean like you see in vanilla bean ice cream.

Imitation Vanilla

Imitation Vanilla, otherwise known as artificial vanilla, is made from synthetic vanilla.  This is the compound that naturally occurs in vanilla beans and gives it its flavor.

Can I use imitation vanilla?

Many will tell you that you should use high quality vanilla, just like they say you should use the best cocoa.  However, most of us will probably not be willing to pay the hefty price that comes with exceptionally high-quality ingredients.

Overall, vanilla is very expensive, so the extract is as well.  So, if you’re not going to get regular quality vanilla extract, you might as well use imitation vanilla.

DO EGGS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?

The short answer is “no”.  While a side-by-side comparison shows that baking with eggs at room temperature makes a better crumb, it’s not otherwise noticeable.

What are Eggs used for?

Eggs do three things in most recipes: they help bind the ingredients together, act as a mild leavening agent, and they add moisture.

EGG FREE OPTION

Eggs can be substituted with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce per egg.  This means for recipes calling for 2 eggs, you’d need 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.

The reason applesauce makes a good binder is that it’s high in pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch in fruits and berries that acts as a thickening agent and stabilizer in food.

This happens when combined with sugar and acid (if the fruit or berry isn’t naturally acidic).

Just keep in mind that it may change the flavor slightly.

ARE EGGS DAIRY?

No, eggs are not dairy.  Dairy is milk and any food products made from milk, including cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt. 

So, while eggs are an animal product, they are not dairy. In fact, eggs fall under the protein food group.

BAKING POWDER VS BAKING SODA

I’ve had a number of comments asking me questions about baking soda and baking powder. 

I’ve also noticed that if the wrong one is used, things don’t come out as they should. 

Using baking soda instead of baking powder can give your recipe a terrible metallic taste, while using baking powder instead of baking soda leaves your baked goods looking flat.

BAKING SODA

Baking soda is a leavening agent, which means it helps things rise.  It does this by creating carbon dioxide when it reacts to an acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. 

When the carbon dioxide is released, it causes the familiar texture and crumb in pancakes, cakes, quick breads, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.

Baking soda works well with sourdough because sourdough is acidic.  When combined, it makes a lighter product with a less acidic taste, since baking soda is alkaline.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour.

BAKING POWDER

Baking powder is also a leavening agent and it’s a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch.

Most baking powder sold is double-acting. This means that the leavening occurs in two steps.

The first time it’s activated is when baking powder gets wet, which is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time to bake later.

The second time is when the baking powder is exposed to heat.  This happens when the batter is being baked or fried.

Since baking powder already contains an acid, it’s most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient or too little of one.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour.

WHY SOME RECIPES CALL FOR BOTH

Some recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda when the carbon dioxide created from the acid and baking soda is not enough to leaven the volume of batter in the recipe.  

Too much baking soda gives a terrible metallic taste, so baking powder is added to give it more lift.

WHICH ONE IS STRONGER?

You may have already guessed the answer since baking soda is used to make baking powder, and you need more baking powder per cup of flour. But I’ll tell you anyway.

Baking soda is four times stronger than baking powder.  That’s why you will more often than not see recipes that only call for baking soda rather than recipes that only call for baking powder.

HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?

BAKING SODA

Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time.  A rule of thumb is two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package.   

However, to be honest, I’ve used very old baking soda with good results.

BAKING POWDER

Like baking soda, baking powder is good indefinitely past its best by date, and can lose its potency over time.  For both opened and unopened, it’s ideal to use it within nine months to a year.

While storing it, make sure to keep it in a dry place and away from humidity.

HOW TO TEST IF IT’S STILL GOOD

BAKING POWDER

To test baking powder, pour 3 tablespoons of warm water into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and stir. If the baking powder is good to use, it should fizz a little.

BAKING SODA

To test baking soda, pour 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and stir.  The mixture should rapidly bubble if the soda is fresh.

GLUTEN FREE OPTION

BUCKWHEAT FLOUR 

Buckwheat flour is easy to find compared to most other gluten-free flours, and it adds a nice earthy nutty taste.  The downside is that it has a distinct flavor, so the change will be noticeable. 

It’s also darker, so the color won’t be the same. Substitute cup for cup.

RICE FLOUR

Rice flour can also be used and can be found in most Asian and health food stores.  White rice flour has a mild flavor and doesn’t change the color of the muffin or quick bread. 

Since it doesn’t have much flavor, it’s best to use it with ingredients that do. Substitute cup for cup.

OAT FLOUR

Oat flour is made from whole oats that have been ground into a powder, which can easily be done at home.  It gives more flavor and a chewier and crumblier texture than regular all-purpose flour.

Substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour for 1 1/3 cup Oat Flour.  To make 1 cup of oat flour, blend 1 1/4 cups of oats in a food processor until finely ground.

Note: oats must be marked gluten-free because they can get cross-contaminated in the factory.

HOW TO DOUBLE THE RECIPE

If you double the recipe, you will need a 9 x 13-inch pan. 

The area of a square or rectangular pan is calculated by multiplying one side times the other side. 

This recipe calls for an 8-inch square pan so an 8 x 8 = 64 square inches where a 9 x 13 = 117 square inches.  If you double the 8 x 8-inch pan, it would come out to 128 square inches which is close enough to 117 square inches.

TROUBLESHOOTING

WHY IS IT TAKING LONGER THAN DESCRIBED TO BAKE?

Over time, the thermostat on ovens gets a little off, causing some ovens to run hot and others to run cool.  This is why recipes tend to say things like “10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.”  So, if it takes you longer than expected, that’s fine, don’t worry about it. Just keep baking until ready.

WHY DID MY RECIPE COME OUT TOO DRY?

Just like some ovens run cool, others run hot.  If your oven runs hot, bake these at a lower temperature.  Ideally, you should get an oven thermometer to know what temperature you’re really baking at.

HOW TO STORE

For a whole pan, wrap well in plastic wrap or in an airtight plastic storage bag.  Keep at room temperature for up to four days.

For cut blondies, wrap individually with plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container or an airtight plastic bag. Keep at room temperature for one to two days. 

HOW TO FREEZE

Wrap cooled, uncut blondies tightly in a plastic wrap.  Wrap again in aluminum foil.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  After 3 months, they are still safe to eat but the quality begins to degrade.   

Yield: 9 servings

Dairy Free Blondies

Blondies piled on a plate

Blondies are a great alternative to brownies, and since they don't have any cocoa, they really let the caramel flavor shine.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour (130 grams)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed (220 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup oil* (80 milliliters)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F or 175°C.
  2. Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the oil, egg, and vanilla extract and mix using a baking spatula. It should look almost like a dough.  
  4. Pour into an 8 x 8 inch pan (20 cm x 20 cm) lined with parchment paper and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

Notes

*Click here to jump to notes on oil

Recommended Products

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 186mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 0gSugar: 20gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

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Shira Herskovitz

Monday 11th of February 2019

Super easy and delicious! They are soft and chewy. love these!!!

ElissaBeth

Tuesday 12th of February 2019

Thank you so much Shira!

Chana Ben-Shimon

Friday 23rd of November 2018

I made Blondies and Brownies as one of my desserts yesterday for Thanksgiving.. They were a hit! Im so glad I doubled up the recipe! 10 stars!! Toda raba!

ElissaBeth

Sunday 25th of November 2018

I am thrilled to hear that Chana! Thank you so much for telling me! It made my day :)

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