The key to these gooey, chocolaty blondies? Open sesame.

Chocolate Chunk Tahini Blondies. MUST CREDIT: Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post.

Novelty for the sake of novelty is an occupational hazard of food writing and recipe testing. How many ways can you make a chocolate chip cookie? What else is there to say about roasting a Thanksgiving turkey? And then when you're content not to move the needle too much, even your relatively restrained variations can send the internet peanut gallery into a shell-throwing frenzy. (Why, yes, I'm still paying off the therapy bills for the Cornbread Controversy of 2018 and Steak Storm of 2019.)

But food writers have to make a living somehow, so here I am wading back into territory I've already covered: Blondies.

I have a soft spot for these soft treats, which are a little bit brownie, a little bit chocolate chip cookie, and a lot of delicious. First, there was Nigella Lawson's Warm Blondie Pudding Cake and then came Chrissy Teigen's Skillet Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies. These one-bowl Chocolate Chunk Tahini Blondies are something in between the two. They're the closest yet to a traditional blondie, and a generous pour of tahini, with its nutty and faintly bitter flavor, ensures the treat stays out of its sometimes-cloying territory. When my original source recipe from blogger and cookbook author Danielle Oron baked up thicker, drier and more caky than the type of blondies I favor, I swapped in brown sugar for the granulated and cut back on the eggs. It bears repeating: Test a recipe first as published, and then tweak based on your preferences and experiences.

Then I added chocolate, because I like its contrast with the butterscotch - like blondie. I used chopped dark chocolate here, with somewhat irregular sizes to achieve a mix of more substantial melty deposits and faint freckles, but you can use your choice of bars or chips. To go bolder on the sesame, you could even fold in pieces of halvah (plain, marble or chocolate-covered), or add a sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds to the surface of the batter before you bake.

So, yes, here's one more blondie recipe that can morph into as many variations as you want. There can never be too many in my book.

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CHOCOLATE CHUNK TAHINI BLONDIES

Active: 25 minutes | Total: 45 minutes

Servings: 24 two-inch pieces

Tahini gives these blondies a nutty and faintly bitter flavor that counteracts what can otherwise be an overly sweet treat. It also contributes to a tender, slightly gooey center. The recipe comes together quickly in a single bowl.

We liked using chopped dark chocolate here, but you can use your choice of bars or chips. To double down on the sesame, you could even use pieces of halvah (plain, marble or chocolate-covered), or add a sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds to the surface of the batter before you bake.

Make Ahead: Tightly wrapped or in an airtight container, the blondies can be stored at room temperature for several days. For long-term cold storage, wrap the bars tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to several months.

Ingredients

8 tablespoons (113 grams; 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups (297 grams) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (may substitute vanilla extract)

1 cup tahini, stirred well

1 1/2 cups (212 grams) flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) dark chocolate, finely chopped (some bigger pieces and wispy shavings are fine)

Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Steps

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough overhang on the short sides to help lift out the baked slab. Grease the foil with cooking oil spray.

Whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, whisking until thoroughly incorporated, then whisk in the vanilla bean paste and tahini.

Use a flexible spatula to stir in the flour, salt and baking powder until just combined. Then fold in the chopped chocolate. Do not overmix; the consistency should be like a soft dough. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly into the corners and smoothing the surface. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt.

Bake (middle rack) for 22 to 25 minutes, until the top is slightly puffed, firm and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool slightly before lifting out the slab and transferring to a wire rack (discard the foil once cooled). When still slightly warm or completely cool, cut the slab into 24 pieces of equal size.

Nutrition | Calories: 200; Total Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 30 mg; Carbohydrates: 24 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 14 g; Protein: 4 g.

(Adapted from a recipe by Danielle Oron at IWillNotEatOysters.com; loosely inspired by a recipe from Cook's Illustrated.)

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