Oh I’m so happy to be back! Blogging, baking, cooking – you name it, I’m discovering foodie love all over again. Hungry “Hop-a-long” Hubby is finally home after two operations leaving him with a huge metal cage around his poorly broken leg (see here if you’re not squeamish and interested in what I mean – its actually just like the top picture if you fancy a nose ;) ).
It took us until well after New Year to get him home to me so this is just the start really, being home and embracing life in our home and kitchen together once again. Looking through my old Facebook pictures I am reminded of my love of creating food for those I love in my own kitchen and reading all my Christmas cook books, magazines and some old favourites (like this one) has injected me with even more than usual Tigger-esque enthusiasm for my favourite subject!
As hubs was indulging in a day of football on TV whist I was drowning in culinary literature I whipped up these rather magical treats.
Imagine if you will, your favourite chewy cookie. Mine is filled with nuts and chunks of chocolate. The middle has a modicum of goo, the edge a decidedly satisfying toothsome bite and it stretches a teeny bit as you bite off an impolitely large portion. I’ve written about favourite cookies before.
Those babies have the texture I speak of and lust after – I’m a secret Cookie Monster you see, one of my naughty “home alone” and a bit blue about being so, the go-to snack is a packet of supermarket bakery American style cookies. I might not eat them all in one go, except for days like when hubby had his first operation and I was worried sick about him. Fortunately, now I’ve discovered these, Dorie Greenspan’s blondies I can indulge in all that cookie love in one neat portion. Let me explain!
What we are about to create is only I can only describe are cookie brownies! They have all of the chew I turn to in hours of need and solitary sweet indulgence but at least double height depth so when you sink your teeth in, it’s as if you are biting into two big fat cookies stacked up! Now that I genuinely have never done! I have some self-control ;).
Let’s whip our butter until just soft then beat in some butterscotch rich and caramelly sweet soft brown sugar until it just dissolves. If you whip too much air in these blondies will rise then fall too much in t’oven. We want to do reserve all the depth we can. A single egg and a spoon of the best vanilla extract you can afford. You can practically smell “fudge” as you beat mmmm…
Once the flour is incorporated, a cacophony of ingredients now follow. For me, it was chopped dark chocolate, chopped pecans, butterscotch chips or morsels and finally dessicated coconut. Have you just closed your browser? Don’t! Come back! I promise this works better than you can possibly dream!
There are two things in that alarmingly eclectic mix of blondie additions which weave a magic that only Monica and Phoebe understand (who remembers that episode of Friends where Monica asks Phoebe for her grandmother’s cookie recipe as an engagement gift so she can be the best mom who bakes the best cookies?
And who remembers after many, many fruitless attempts it dawns on Monica she has seen the ingredient list somewhere else before once Phoebe naively recalls her grandmother saying the family recipe came from her grandmother Nestlé Tollhouse – on the packet of a bag of cookies! Lol, that one cracks me up every time! :D )… I digress!
It’s the butterscotch chips which add a certain summin’, summin’ no other ingredient could divulge. Yes they are hideously mass produced but buy the best you can afford (I went bananas one day and paid £6.95 for mine from Harvey Nichols when it unexpectedly set up a pop up shop in my hometown!) and I promise, the scent and taste will whisk you away to the best of your childhood home baked cookie memories. The second surprise is the coconut.
Only 1/2 cup in the whole batch I was worried that it would be one flavour too many but Dorie (isn’t she a doll?) assured me the addition gave the Tollhouse vibe Americans love (I’m British and have never had a Tollhouse cookie to know how they are) – for me, it is a back note of flavour you’d miss if it wasn’t there but couldn’t probably tell it was coconut exactly. More importantly is that I think it gives something to that chewy texture I so adore as it seems to melt and form the substructure of these blondies on baking. Genius!
My only deviations from the recipe was halving it as my giant brownie pan is full of triple ginger spice cake and on holiday with Daddums right now so I used my 8×8 inch square instead. Also, Dorie instructed walnuts not pecans. Now I love a walnut whenever coffee is a flavour also cakes but please keep their bitterness out of my blondies. I swear, once baked, the butterscotch seemed to imbue the pecans with an almost maple syrup candied texture and taste hat felt absolutely right in this blondie. Oh my my mouth is watering and I’ve had my hit today!
- 115 g soft butter
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 3/4 cup soft brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Fat pinch salt
- 50 g dark chocolate chopped
- 1/2 cup butterscotch morsels*
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
Cream the butter until soft then beat in the sugars until well combined and a little paler - don't whip too much air in.
Beat in the egg fully then beat in the vanilla.
Sift the flour, salt and raising agents over the creamed mixture and stir in until few specks of flour remain.
Stir in the remainder of the ingredients - it will be quite stiff but don't worry, it will come together. Spatch into a greased and lined 8 inch square brownie pan and bake on 165˚C for 25-30 minutes - the top will be set and honeycomb coloured and a skewer will come out almost dry with a very few damp crumbs stuck to it.
Cool in the tin until room temp before attempting to lift out of the pan then slice into 9 rectangles.
￼￼*= or chop up a bar of Caramac if you are able to get it, failing that, I'd use muscavado sugar and replace the morsels with chopped white chocolate
Adapted from Doris Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours