Use your favorite fresh or frozen berries to enjoy these Lemon Berry Blondies year-round.
These lemon berry blondies are one of my favorite summertime baked goods — bright, sweet, and chewy, they’re perfect for summer pool parties and picnics. So why am I telling you about them in November? Because as much as I am a cool weather person, sometimes even I want a hint of summer once fall rolls around. (Yes, I live in LA where the weather is gorgeous year round, but when it comes to cooking and baking with what’s in season, even we start gravitating toward your standard fall ingredients.) I was tired of pumpkin and cinnamon and I had bags of frozen berries in my freezer from summer so here we are. Bright and sunny Lemon Berry Blondies, my way of channeling that summertime sweetness even though it’s fall.
I used Mark Bittman’s basic blondie recipe from How to Bake Everything as a base, and though he includes two variations for lemon and lemon-strawberry blondies, I took a slightly different approach for my twist on it. I didn’t want whole berries, and I didn’t want to make a lemon curd. I also didn’t want to bust out another pot or pan to heat up jam (I’m not really a jam person, so it’s not an ingredient I always have on hand). I just wanted to take my frozen berries and get them into my blondies as quickly and efficiently as possible. And that’s what I did.
Bittman’s recipe says it can be made in an 8″ or 9″ square pan. I have a 9″ pan and find this recipe makes pretty thin blondies. If you only have a 9″ pan, go ahead and use it. But if you’re looking to buy a pan to make these, get an 8″ pan with sharp corners, not rounded ones.
How to make Lemon Berry Blondies
Start by preheating your oven to 350F and preparing your baking pan. You can either grease your pan or line it with parchment paper AND grease the parchment paper (both sides). By greasing both sides of the parchment paper you help the paper stay in place in the pan and prevent the blondies from sticking to the paper.
To make your blondie batter, start with soft, room temperature butter. The butter should be very soft, but not melted. If you press a finger into it, you shouldn’t meet any resistance. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer (using the paddle attachment) on medium to medium-high speed for a full 2-3 minutes until extremely light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest. Beat on medium to medium-high speed for another 2-3 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is extremely light and fluffy and has almost doubled in volume. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add the salt, mixing on a low speed to combine. Then add the flour and stir just until combined — do not over mix here.
In a separate small bowl toss your berries — frozen or fresh — with 1 tsp sugar and lemon juice. If you want small berry pieces, slice them in halves or quarters first, then mash with a fork or muddler to break them down further. If you want large pieces of berries, that’s fine too. Slice them to the size you want, then toss with the sugar and lemon juice.
NOTE: This recipe will work with frozen or fresh berries, and you can use up to 1 full cup of berries — any berries — depending on your preference. For the blondies you see in these pictures, I used approximately 3/4 cup of berries, a combination of frozen quartered strawberries and whole frozen blackberries that I pulverized with a muddler. I like blackberries because they break down easily, while strawberries leave some whole pieces behind.
When you’re ready to bake, right before you put them in the oven, add the berry mixture to the batter. To get a marbled effect, use MINIMAL STIRRING to combine. The more you stir the less marbling you’ll see in the end. If you’re after a more cohesively pink colored blondie (a pinkie, if you will) stir until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and immediately place it in the oven.
Depending on the size of your pan and accuracy of your oven, your lemon berry blondies may bake anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes. As Mark Bittman notes in How to Bake Everything, blondies are better slightly under baked rather than over baked. If they’re still a little gooey or liquid in the center at 20 minutes, that’s okay. They should look mostly set, but they’ll continue baking a little in the pan once they’re out of the oven. If they’re very liquid and jiggly at 20 minutes, give them another 2-3 minutes and check again — they may need up to 25 minutes to be done.
How to serve
Let your lemon berry blondies cool completely in a pan on a wire rack before slicing and serving. I dusted mine with powdered sugar after slicing, but I’ll level with you — that was mostly just for the pictures; It doesn’t make much of a difference to the overall taste.
Lemon Berry BlondiesCourse: DessertDifficulty: Easy
8 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
(Note: If you use salted butter, cut the amount of salt in the recipe in half.)
3/4 cup (156g) sugar
1 large egg, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (120g) flour
3/4 cup chopped berries (see notes for frozen berries)
(Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc)
Juice and zest of 1/2 large lemon
1 tsp sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or parchment line and grease an 8″ or 9″ square baking pan.
- Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then with the mixer running at low speed add the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest. Increase speed to medium-high and beat an additional 2-3 minutes until glossy, airy, and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, and when finished.
- Add salt and mix at low speed to combine. Scrape down sides of bowl. Stir in flour at low speed, just until combined.
- In a small bowl, toss berries with 1 tsp sugar, and lemon juice. Mash with a fork or muddler to help the berries break down. (If you want whole berries or larger berry bits, don’t mash them.)
- Right before pouring blondie batter into baking pan add the berry mixture to the blondie batter. For a marbled effect, stir minimally with a spatula. For a more consistently pink-colored blondie, mix until no streaks remain.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check at 20 minutes — blondies are better slightly under baked than over baked. The center should still be a bit jiggly. The blondies will continue to bake as they cool. Remove blondies from oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
- For frozen berries: You can work with berries right out of the freezer, but depending on what kind of berries you use you may want to let them defrost a little first. Cut them as small or as big as you want (or leave them whole!), but if you want to mash them up, I’ve found slightly defrosted berries are great for mashing without completely losing their structure.