Blondie Ramblings

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Last weekend I was invited to yet another friend of a friend’s barbecue. (Considering that this city is almost always engulfed in a thick cloak of fog, it is surprising how often people barbecue. I guess sun and warm weather aren’t BBQ pre-reqs here.) My friend brought a lovely caprese salad, and I brought blondies.

Blondies are a curious thing: not brown, so definitely not a brownie; their primary ingredient is white chocolate (which consists of cocoa butter and no actual cocoa solids), so not exactly chocolate either.

Whatever they are, I was intrigued. Which is why instead of making a ricotta cheesecake (too difficult to transport; too much hassle for a friend of a friend’s BBQ), I chose to give blondies a try. (I’m making it sound like blondies are the next big thing after bacon & chocolate or fleur-de-sel and caramel, which they totally aren’t.)

I ended up relying on a Nigella Lawson recipe I read about over on Jules Food. (Check out the recipe link—her blondie shots are incredible.) In her post, Jules describes her issues experienced due to a too short bake-time (35 min). I, too, had this issue: the squares on the outer-edges were baked perfectly—firm while still retaining a creamy, smooth texture in the middle. The inner squares, however, were just plain gooey and impossible to cut.

I almost rough-chopped and set aside the whole batch for later mixing with vanilla ice cream (white chocolate-pecan blondie ice cream)—they were that ugly. In the end, though, I put them in the freezer for an hour, in the hopes of salvaging something from the whole mess.

And you know what, it worked. (See post Fudgy Brownies for a BBQ for more info on this method.) I was able to trim off all the sloppy edges and create nice, clean squares that I could proudly bring to any social occasion.

So, was it worth it in the end? I’m not so sure. Yeah, they tasted pretty good—I stuck to the original recipe which calls for pecans, which I think balanced the sugary-cocoa-butter sweetness of the white chocolate (Jules used macadamias). I also found the white chocolate a refreshing change, especially for palettes more accustomed to the deeper, denser flavor of chocolate.

At the end of the day, though, it’s still brownies over blondies for me.

Enjoy!

White Chocolate & Pecan Blondies (adapted from Nigella Lawson, How to be a Domestic Goddess)

INGREDIENTS

125 g unsalted butter (this will be just over 1 stick)
250g white chocolate, cut into chunks, or small chips
4 large eggs
1 tsp salt
350g caster/superfine sugar (I used organic granulated cane sugar.)
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain (all-purpose) flour
250g pecans, roughly chopped

25 x 20 x 5cm brownie tin, buttered

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 340°F / 170°C / gas mark 3. Melt the butter and chocolate either in a microwave or a double boiler.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the salt until light and beginning to build up in volume (about 4 min. by hand).
  3. Then add the sugar and the vanilla, and continue beating until really creamy and thick. Beat in the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and then add the flour and nuts, folding in gently.
  4. Pour into your prepared tin and cook for 35 minutes (45 might be better) or until set on top and gooey in the middle.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.

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