One of the recipes I was really looking forward to in Sister Pie was the Rhubarb Blondies -- I mean, I hardly ever make pie, so I didn't really buy the book for the pie recipes. I gave it a try back when rhubarb was still in season. And the recipe is very easy. You whisk melted butter with light and dark brown sugar; add eggs and vanilla; stir in flour and salt; and add chopped rhubarb that has been mixed with sugar, slivered almonds, and chopped white chocolate. You sprinkle on a mixture of granulated sugar and turbinado sugar before baking.
My blondies looked nothing at all like the cookbook photo when I took them out of the oven. The blondies in the cookbook have lots of pieces of deep magenta rhubarb clearly visible on top; it looks like the rhubarb was sprinkled on top after the batter was spread into the pan. My rhubarb sank into the batter (although the pieces were no larger than the ones in the cookbook photo) and none of it was visible on the surface. I didn't mind the fact that my blondies looked different, but I encountered a serious problem when I tried to slice them. The portion in the center was overly damp. And I don't meant slightly fudgy, but seriously wet and undercooked. I had followed the recipe directions to bake the blondies until "just set," and the pieces around the edge of the pan (like the ones in the photo above) were just lovely. But the pieces in the center were not salvageable and I tossed them into the compost.
I thought the blondies tasted fine, but there was a little too much white chocolate for my taste, making the blondies border on being too sweet. My favorite part was the crunchy sugar crust on top, which was absolutely delightful. It was difficult for me to evaluate these objectively because I was so irritated by the undercooked center. I blamed myself for the failure, but when I mentioned my underbaked blondies on Instagram, Dafna from Stellina Sweets (a very talented baker who was also part of Baked Sunday Mornings) commented that she's made this recipe five times and had a undercooked center every single time. That made me feel loads better and I think this recipe just needs to be baked in a different pan -- perhaps as individual smaller cakelets, or a tube pan. I wouldn't bake these in a square or rectangular pan again unless I placed a heating core in the center to transmit heat to the batter in the middle. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to try this recipe again before rhubarb season ended, but I might revisit it next year.
Recipe: "Rhubarb Blondies" from Sister Pie by Lisa Ludwinski.