This is my 100th post! Hooray! I never thought I had the discipline or the strength of purpose to actually commit to sit down and write a recipe a day, no matter what is happening or where I am. I have to say, I am impressed with myself 😉 Long may it continue 🙂 Today, in celebration of this personal milestone, I decided to try a new recipe. I love blondies. I am not so hot on brownies to be honest. They are too overwhelming – that mix between fudgy and crusty, and intense intense chocolate. I dont know what it is, but I like chocolate in almost all ways, but brownies are probably 100th on the list (keeping with the 100th theme!)
But blondies are another story entirely. Studded with chocolate, but not overwhelmed by fudge dough, blondies are chic brownies – brownies with an edge. I used Callebut white and milk chocolate here. Chopped it into chunks and mixed it with a caramelised vanilla batter. It baked shiny and crispy, with edges that were brown and crunchy, but with interiors that were the best of melted chocolate and soft vanilla cookies. Sooo good. Delicious, delectable, and amazingly easy. It took me about 20 minutes to put everything together, and another 20 – 25 to bake. Do not overbake these! They need to be cooked (and when you stick a knife in, they can be squishy, but not liquid), but if you overbake, they will get stone hard and yucky.
I adapted these blondies from a recipe on the Cook’s Illustrated website. I dont do nuts with my sweet baked goods (well on very rare occasions, but thats the exception rather than the rule). I dont know by, but its true. By the by, I also dislike chocolate and orange or lemon. Just does not do it for me. We each have our own tastes, and especially in brownies or blondies, I am a no nuts kind of person. Oh and in carrot cake, but thats another story. Anyway! The Cook’s Illustrated recipe required 1 cup of toasted pecans for these blondies. If you like nuts, toast some pecans (or walnuts or cashews, go crazy with it) and substitute the nuts for 1 cup of chocolate. Otherwise, do as I do, and revel in both milk and white chocolate 🙂
The other major thing I did was I let the butter burn a little as I melted it. I remembered the recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and how the butter, burnt to a dark brown, added a depth of flavour to the cookies. Well, I didnt burn the butter to that extent, but I let it get a little toasty. Just a hint of light brown colour. It worked really well in the finished product – the blondies had a deep caramelised flavour that came from the union of slightly burnt butter, light brown sugar, vanilla and eggs. Sublime.
This recipe will fit into a 14″ x 8″ pan. Make sure that you double line the pan with aluminum foil, and allow some foil overhang. This lets you lift out the cooled blondies easily. Also, butter that foil to within an inch of its life! With all that caramelisation going on, you want to be able to lift the blondies out easily, and buttering well really does help.
For 1 pan of totally delectable blondies, you will need:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 tbsp butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted, slightly burnt, and then cooled + 1 tbsp for buttering
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 – 6 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 cups best quality chocolate, chopped, chunks or if you have to, chips (I used 1 cup Callebaut white + 1 cup milk chocolate, chopped)
Preheat your oven to 175C. Prepare your baking pan. Line a 14″ x 8 ” pan (at least 2 – 3″ deep), with double layer of aluminum foil. Allow some overhang, and push it well into the corners. Use 1 tbsp of butter and butter the foil extremely well. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Use a fork to mix well together. Set aside.
Melt butter in a saucepan, and allow to burn just a little bit. You want it to foam, subside, and then just start turning light brown. Take off heat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, in another small bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 4 – 6 tsp of vanilla. You will know how much vanilla to use, depending on the quality of the vanilla you have. Your judgement is important here, but remember you want a strong vanilla taste. Its the main flavour of the blondie, and you want it to come out well. Set aside the eggs and vanilla.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar. Add the egg mixture and whisk well. You will have a glossy, shiny, almost caramel like batter. Taste for vanilla and adjust if need be.
Fold the flour in gently, in three parts. Dont overmix. Fold in the chocolate (or the chocolate and pecans if you are so inclined). Using a spatula or wooden spoon, coax the batter into the baking pan. Spread it around to make sure that the entire pan is filled. It may not look like much, but heat is magic – it will puff up the batter and create a phenomenal blondie.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, checking a few minutes before hand to make sure they have not overbaked. The top will be shiny, slightly cracked, and light brown. A toothpick stuck into the blondie will come out with crumbs sticking to it – but if it comes out covered in batter, it needs more time.
Once done, take out of oven and allow to cool in pan for at least 20 minutes or so. Use the aluminum foil to remove the blondies from the pan, and cut into squares. The tops will be crisp and crackly, the bottoms will be golden and the centres will be squishy and vanilla-y and bursting with melted chocolate. Serve with vanilla ice cream if you want to be overly decadent.