Sunday, November 29, 2015

Six years, and blondies with walnuts and dark & white chocolate chunks

The other day, my blog turned six. Yes, blogs have birthdays.

I say this every year, but I can’t believe I have been blogging for this long. I never thought I would be so proud of the work I do here or take so much pleasure from sharing my food, photographs and stories with all of you. I enjoy blogging as much as I enjoy eating the food I share on this blog. Well, almost, let’s not exaggerate.

I thought I’d make a little something to celebrate the occasion, like I do every year, and of course it had to be something sweet. So, this year, blondies. Oh how I fell in love with these little squares of heaven. I haven’t made blondies many times before in the past, mainly because I’m a brownie kind of girl due to my serious chocolate addiction (see evidence here, here and here), but these satisfied my chocolate cravings to the fullest. They contain not only one but two types of chocolate —dark and white— and especially when they’re still warm and the chocolate is oozing out of them like sexy hot lava, they are extremely hard to resist.

They are chewy, dense and fudgy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside with a crackle top. The molasses flavor that comes from the brown sugar and the distinct flavors of the white and dark chocolate create a harmonious combination while the toasted walnuts provide a nice crunch and an earthy quality to the blondies.

S, after wolfing down at least half of them, told me they were the best blondies he’d ever had. I had to agree.
Hope you enjoy them too, and thanks for being here, friends.

P.S. As mentioned in my last post, apart from your votes, there’s a judges panel of the Greek VIMA Gourmet Food Blog Awards competition, that will judge specific recipes submitted for the competition using sponsors’ ingredients. One of the sponsors is #Flora (a Greek butter brand) and they send me maaaany packets of butter to feature in my recipes for the competition. I have loved using them. So, these blondies are submitted for one of the categories I’m nominated in, “Best Sweet Treats”. If you wish, you can still vote for me here for Best Cooking Blog, here for Best Sweet Treats and here for Best Food Photography & Styling by clicking the “like” button below the Greek text and next to where it says “Like for Vote” in each category. You will make me very happy if you do. Thank you very much for your support!!

Blondies with walnuts and dark and white chocolate chunks
Slightly adapted from Hand Μade Βaking by Kamran Siddiqi

I urge you to use good quality dark chocolate and most importantly good quality white chocolate with at least 25% cocoa butter content. The cheap white chocolate from the supermarket is generally awful. The cocoa butter content is very low, substituted mostly by other (unhealthy) fats, and all you get is a foul tasting chocolate. I'm not suggesting that you spend your month’s salary on chocolate, just be aware of what you use and buy.

Yield: 16 squares

85 g cold unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
200 g soft light-brown sugar
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt (I always use sea salt in all my cooking and baking)
1 large egg, room temperature
120 g all-purpose flour
110 g good-quality dark chocolate (55-60% cocoa solids), cut into small chunks
60 g good quality white chocolate (at least 25% cocoa butter), cut into small chunks
35 g walnut halves

Special equipment: 20 cm square baking pan, baking paper

Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Butter the bottom and sides of the pan and line the bottom and sides with a piece of baking paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.

To toast the walnuts, add them to a dry, small pan and place over medium heat. Toast them, stirring regularly so they don’t burn, until they become fragrant. Empty them immediately onto a plate and let them cool. Then chop them roughly using a knife.

In a small saucepan, add the butter and place over a low heat. Melt the butter and pour it into a large bowl. Add the sugar, the vanilla and the salt to the bowl and, using a wooden spoon, mix until you have a smooth mixture without any lumps. Add the egg and immediately stir to incorporate fully. Add the flour, the chopped dark and white chocolate, and the toasted and chopped walnuts, and stir until just incorporated and there are no visible flour patches.

Empty the batter in the prepared baking pan, smooth the top with the back of a spoon and place on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the blondies are golden and crinkly/crackly on top, are set in the middle and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.

Once the blondies are ready, take the pan out of the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool, for 15 minutes. Then, lift the ends of the baking paper and transfer the blondies to the wire rack to cool completely. Or, if you want to eat them while still warm, transfer them to a cutting board and cut them straight away.

Cut blondies into 16 squares.

Keep the blondies in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 5 days.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on six years, that is incredible! I love reading your posts and recipes, and this one does look particularly good - blondies are something I have wanted to try for ages and really need to get round to doing, especially with that molasses flavour going on and gooey dark chocolate chunks! <3