Prep: 1. Preheat oven to 350. 2. Grease an 8x8 pan. Make: 1. (Optional step--to save on time, simply melt the butter in microwave or oven and move on to step 2) For an amazing boost in flavor, brown the butter: melt slowly in a saucepan over low-medium heat, swirling, until it just reaches the point of caramel color and the solids are slightly browned at the bottom (but be sure not to burn.) Remove from heat, allow to cool. 2. Mix butter with brown sugar; beat until smooth, then mix in egg and vanilla. 3. Add salt, stir in flour, stir in chocolate chips and any other mix-ins you like. 4. Bake in prepared pan at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle--but don't overbake. If you have the patience, allow the blondies to cool before cutting.
If you haven't tried browned butter in baked goods before, this may convert you. It's a simple step with big flavor impact--just be careful to watch it closely and don't let it burn! Add in your favorite mix-ins for different flavor combos: butterscotch chips, chopped chocolate bars or toasted nuts, dried fruits; sub in almond extract for vanilla or add in a splash of bourbon or scotch. For a less sweet cookie use a cup of unpacked brown sugar instead of packing it.