Rich and chewy on the inside and golden crisp around the edges, blondies are the seductive cousins of the more aggressive chocolate brownie. Though lighter in color, they're still heavy-weights in calories—285 in one square, plus nearly 9g saturated fat. That fair complexion comes from way too much light brown sugar and melted butter.
We wanted to go beyond a calorie and fat makeover and introduce some whole-grain goodness here, too. That can get tricky because not all baked goods are successful candidates for a whole-wheat makeover. Regular whole-wheat flour can compromise a delicate texture. However, the finer texture of whole-wheat pastry flour works well with the buttery-sweet profile of these bars, yielding a tender crumb. Butter has its place here, too—just less of it, paired with canola oil and butterscotch chips, which we melt into the batter for silky texture and rich flavor. These lightened bars even had room for a few chocolate chips. With nearly half the fat and calories of the original, these whole-grain treats are easy to make and fun to eat.