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Get the party started with these blondies

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Think of these as a starter birthday cake to make for friends — they travel well and feel like a party wherever you’re handing them out. Despite the sheet of sprinkles coating the top, these blondies aren’t cloyingly sweet. The batter has just enough brown sugar for a gentle butterscotch richness and a good hit of salt. Toasted at the edges and chewy in the center, these bars also have tiny crackles of caramelized sprinkles throughout.

Birthday Cake Blondies
• Butter, for greasing the pan
• 1 cup/130 grams all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
• 1 cup/189 grams lightly packed light or dark brown sugar
• 1/2 cup/113 grams unsalted butter, softened
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup sprinkles, plus more for the top (see Tip)

Heat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center. Rub a pat of butter all over an 8-inch square baking pan.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

With a flexible spatula, stir the brown sugar and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla, and stir vigorously until smooth again. Add the flour mixture and stir gently just until no floury streaks remain, then stir in 1/4 cup/40 grams sprinkles.

Spread the batter in the buttered pan into an even layer. Scatter sprinkles all over the top.

Bake until golden brown and starting to pull away from the edges of the pan, about 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a rack. Cut into squares or rectangles. The blondies will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature and 3 months in the freezer.

Total time: 35 minutes, plus cooling, makes one 8-inch pan (9 to 12 servings).

You can make these with any sprinkles you like. Shiny rainbow sprinkles may melt into the batter or bleed their color a bit on top, but should hold up. Matte sprinkles stay intact in the heat of the oven.

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