Caramelised White Chocolate Blondies

 

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As this is my first recipe of the year that I’m posting, I had to make sure it was a really good one – after an 8 month or so wait average just wouldn’t cut it.

These blondies are something that had been a niggling idea at the back of my mind for a while and when the thought wouldn’t go away I knew they had to be made.

I’ve done a few versions of blondies before (these peanut butter blondies and these strawberry blondies are two of my faves) but none that have quite matched up to the texture and delicious fudgey, dense, chocolatey-ness of my favourite brownies.

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I figured this was because none of the recipes I’ve made previously have included as much melted white chocolate as brownies tend to have melted dark chocolate. This is probably because it would make them too sweet but it got me thinking that maybe caramelised white chocolate, with a hint of saltiness, might be just the right balance.

If you haven’t heard of or tried caramelised white chocolate before, it’s basically white chocolate that’s roasted over a low heat, stirring frequently, until it turns golden brown, with a pinch of salt added in at the end. For step by step instructions, David Lebovitz is the man.

To make these blondies I used 200g of the caramelised white chocolate melted into the batter and another 100g chopped up and added to the mix, which made sure the flavour came through really strongly.

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The texture was exactly as I’d hoped and the salt balanced the sweetness. The taste testers in my office loved them and even my boyfriend who insists he doesn’t like white chocolate or brownies really liked them too.

These blondies will definitely be made again at some point, possibly with some different add-ins, but the simple version really does work well and if you haven’t baked with caramelised white chocolate before, I highly recommend you give it a try.

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Caramelised white chocolate blondies

  • 300g caramelised white chocolate
  • 140g butter
  • 180g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 100g milk chocolate chunks (I used Galaxy Counters)

Break 200g of the white chocolate into chunks and melt with the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Once completely melted, remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.

Add in the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla, beating with  wooden spoon to combine. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt then fold into the mixture. I like a salted dessert so I used quite a bit, but if you’re not sure how salty you want it be conservative and you can always sprinkle some more on top before baking.

Stir in the milk chocolate chunks and the rest of the white chocolate, chopped into small pieces. Pour into a 8×8″ square baking tin lined with baking paper and bake at 170 degrees (150 fan) for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out with crumbs on, but not liquid batter.

Leave to cool then cut into squares and serve!

 

Lemon, white chocolate and coconut blondies

Does anything say summer is coming more than delicious zesty lemon curd? Nope, thought not!

I was feeling the joys of spring the other day and, with a small jar of lemon curd to use up, decided to have a look back through Pinterest to find a suitable recipe to use it in.

As soon as I saw these lemon-vanilla dream bars from Mainly Baking, which I pinned a year and a half ago, I knew they were ‘the one’.

I did a bit of googling to see if I could find the original recipe, and although I didn’t manage that I did find a variation which used a coconut flavoured white chocolate, which then led to me adding desiccated coconut into the mix.

Although the flavour of the coconut wasn’t especially strong, it was noticeable and I thought it added a nice bite to the blondes. The lemon curd is swirled in so you get little pockets of zesty deliciousness, and the chunks of white chocolate add a nice texture contrast.

I was a fan of these, and so were all my taste testers at work – my boss even gave them a ‘wow’, and he’s not the biggest cake fan.

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These bars are summery and lovely, and I would highly recommend you make them. They’re also perfect for March’s We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by I’d Much Bake Than… who chose coconut as the theme.

Enjoy!

Lemon, white chocolate and coconut blondies (adapted from Mainly Baking)

  • 225g white chocolate, chopped
  • 85g butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 30g desiccated coconut
  • 80g plain flour
  • 75g white chocolate
  • 165g lemon curd

Start by heating the 225g white chocolate and butter in a bowl of a saucepan of barely simmering water. White chocolate needs to be melted slowly over a low heat, so don’t rush this bit! Once melted, remove from the heat and beat in the sugar, eggs and vanilla bean paste. Fold in the coconut, then sift in the flour and fold again. Finally, stir in the white chocolate chips and then spread the mixture into an 8×8″ square tin, lined with baking paper.

Spoon the lemon curd in little dollops over the top of the cake batter, then gently swirl with a butter knife or skewer, making sure not to over-mix – you want there to be little pockets of lemon curd in the baked blondies. Bake at 180 degrees (160 fan) for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is turning golden and the blondies are just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin, then slice into squares and serve.

Autumn spiced butternut blondies

Autumn spiced butternut blondies

You’d possibly think after National Chocolate Week and Salon du Chocolat that I might want a tiny break from eating or thinking about chocolate – but if you do then you definitely don’t know me well enough!

Not only have I been munching on the goodies I brought back from the show, I also couldn’t resist orderinga chocolate brownie at dinner last night, bought a bar of salted caramel chocolate to get me through work this afternoon, and now I’m thinking back to these delicious blondies and wishing I still had one left to eat now.

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This month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, regularly hosted by Choclette but this month hosted by Jibber Jabber, challenged everyone to make something chocolatey with vegetables.

Exactly one year ago I was the We Should Cocoa host and chose pumpkin or squash as the theme, but I have to say I wasn’t entirely happy with my bakes and so I thought this would be a great opportunity to give it another go.

I’ve made a couple of different versions of butternut brownies, but this time decided to let the fabulous colour of the squash stay and go for blondies instead.

I based the recipe on one from the Whole Foods Market website, but cooked and pureed the squash rather than grating it for a squidgier texture, cut down the sugar and added a different mixture of spices to give them a bit of autumnal warmth.

They turned out pretty much how I’d hoped in both texture and taste – reducing the sugar worked especially well as the white chocolate chunks added just enough sweetness to balance the spice.

My colleagues were also a fan, and I think I would definitely make them again as they’re a great way of using up half a butternut squash if you don’t fancy making soup!

Autumn spiced butternut blondies (adapted from Whole Foods Market)

  • 400g butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 55g butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped

Start by microwaving the butternut squash for 8-10 minutes, or until soft enough to cut through like butter. Puree it with either a stick blender, food processor or potato masher, then set aside.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar until they triple in volume, then pour in the butter and vanilla with the mixer still running. Add the pureed squash and beat until just combined, then sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices and fold into the mixture. Finally, fold through the chopped white chocolate then spread into a greased and lined 8×8″ square tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees (160 fan), until just set, then leave to cool before slicing into squares.

Peanut butter m&m blondies

Peanut butter m&m blondies

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends from uni celebrated her birthday with a night out in her home town.

Obviously this is a fairly normal thing to do, but for me it was a pretty special occasion, as despite having been friends for 7 years I have never managed to visit her for her birthday.

I know that makes me sound like a bit of a bad friend, but every year something has come up that’s stopped me being able to go – for example, last year I was all set and looking forward to it, until my car decided to die on me a few days before. Perfect timing!

Anyway, this year I was determined that nothing would stand in my way, and although horrific traffic did it’s best and made me several hours late, I was there, and all was good.

Considering I effectively had 6 missed years of birthdays to make up for, I needed to make sure I had a good birthday present to give, and in my mind there’s no better gift to give than something baked with love.

I was a bit restricted by knowing that whatever I baked would have to survive a 5-hour car journey – so no towering layer cakes that could fall over, delicate cupcakes that could get squashed, or icings that could melt.

Based on a vague inkling that my friend liked peanut butter, I decided that either peanut butter cookies or peanut butter brownies were the way forward. I then spotted these incredible looking bars on Averie Cooks, and knew I was on to a winner.

The peanut butter blondie base of these bars is great on its own, and you could pretty much add whatever you like into the mix – as Averie suggests, it’s a great way of using up whatever half bags of add-ins you have lying around in the cupboard.

I wanted extra peanuttyness (I know that isn’t a word, but it should be) so I bought some mini peanut butter cups to go with the dark chocolate and m&ms I already had. I used plain chocolate m&ms, but if you’re a real nut lover I would definitely throw in some of the peanut ones as well, or even the peanut butter ones if you can get your hands on them.

I kind of intentionally bought a gift box that was too small to fit the whole batch of blondies in, meaning a few were left over for sampling – what a tragedy!

My new chief taster (my dad) was a big fan, despite regularly telling me how much he doesn’t like peanut butter, and I really liked them too – the base is chewy, sweet and nutty, the m&ms bring texture contrast with their crunchiness, the peanut butter cups and dark chocolate add nice bursts of slight saltiness and bitterness to counter all the sugar, and I think the brightly coloured m&ms also make them look a bit more ‘birthday’.

Another plus is that they kept really well for about 5 days, not drying out at all, so they’d be great if you need to make something a few days in advance of being eaten.

Whether you have 6 years of missed birthdays to make up for, or just want to treat yourself, I would highly recommend you give these a try!

Peanut butter m&m blondies (recipe adapted from Averie Cooks)

  • 125g butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 135g smooth peanut butter
  • 120g plain flour
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g m&ms
  • 100g Reeses miniature peanut butter cups

Beat together the melted butter, egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat again, then sift and fold in the flour. Finally, fold in 2/3 of whatever chocolate bits and add-ins you’re using and spread the mixture into a greased and lined 8×8″ square tin, then sprinkle the rest on top (this will make the bars look prettier!)

Bake at 170 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until golden and just set. Leave to cool in the tin for an hour or so, then remove and leave to cool completely before slicing into squares.

Raspberry and dark chocolate blondies

Raspberry and dark chocolate blondies

I’ve never really been that much of a fan of pairing raspberries and dark chocolate – I’ve always felt the tartness of raspberries is much better complemented by the sweetness of white chocolate.

With that in mind, I’m not entirely sure why a couple of weeks ago I became fixated with making dark chocolate and raspberry blondies, but I’m glad I did as this recipe has totally converted me.

I did a quick search on Google and Pinterest for recipes but nothing that came up was really what I wanted, so I ended up using this recipe as the basic blondie mix, swapping the white chocolate for dark and adding a small punnet of raspberries.

The bars were just dense and fudgy enough to be blondie-ish rather than cakey; the raspberries added bursts of fruity tartness, and the chunks of dark chocolate were a great contrast both in flavour and texture.

The blondies were sweet enough to balance the dark chocolate and raspberries, and I think that’s why I liked these so much – I still think I wouldn’t be a huge fan of raspberries in a brownie, but maybe I should give it a go and maybe be pleasantly surprised…

Raspberry and dark chocolate blondies (blondie recipe adapted from Baking Bites)

  • 115g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120g plain flour
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g fresh raspberries

Beat the butter and sugar together until well mixed, then add the egg and vanilla and beat again. Fold in the flour and white chocolate chips, then gently fold in the raspberries – don’t over-mix or they will stain the batter pink. Spread the mixture into a greased and lined 8×8″ square baking tin and bake at 180 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until golden and set. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares otherwise they’ll be far too gooey to cut neatly!

Strawberry blondies (GF)

I don’t know if I’m the only person who finds this, but in the summer I sometimes feel slightly overwhelmed by the amazing seasonal ingredients available, particularly summer berries, and never have enough time to make all the recipes I want to try, meaning they often get put aside for another year.

I have tons of strawberry recipes bookmarked, some I’ll probably never get around to making, but when I saw these blondies on Love and Olive Oil I knew I would have to find time to give them a go.

I made them last weekend to take to a barbecue – I needed something I could make a couple of days in advance that would keep in the fridge for a couple of days, could be easily transported, and easily adapted to be gluten-free, and these ticked all the boxes.

It’s a pretty standard brownie recipe, with white chocolate subbed in for the dark, but what I love is how the strawberries all rise to the top as it bakes, making them look really pretty (and like more skill was involved than was actually the case!)

They went down really well at the barbecue, a few people asked for the recipe and I don’t think you would have known they were made with gluten-free flour.

Although my favourite way of eating strawberries will always be fresh, this is definitely a great way of using them in baking and I’m glad I found the time to make them!

Strawberry Blondies (gf) (adapted from Love and Olive Oil)

Makes 16 sqaures

  • 140g white chocolate
  • 75g butter
  • 135g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120g gluten-free plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 150g strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 60g white chocolate, chopped

Melt the 140g white chocolate and butter over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from the heat and beat in the sugar, followed by the eggs and vanilla. Sieve in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold until combined, then stir in the chopped strawberries and 60g white chocolate. Pour the mixture into an 8×8″ square tin, lined with baking paper, and bake at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes. I found that the top browned quite quickly, so after 20 minutes I covered with foil and cooked for a further 10-15 minutes until set but with a slight wobble. Leave to cool then slice into squares and serve!

As a barbecue is as close as I’m going to get to a fair or fete this month, I’m entering these for the July Tea Time Treats challenge, hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage – I’d certainly be happy to buy one if I was at a summer fair or fete!

Peanut butter blondies

In theory, I should love blondies.

Basically the same as brownies (which I love), but with the melted chocolate swapped out for brown sugar or white chocolate. I even thought I might prefer blondies, as I prefer plain cookies with chocolate chips to the double chocolate variety.

Unfortunately, my first attempt at blondies was not a success. They were far, far too sweet, and the brown butter in them that everyone raves about actually just seemed to make them greasy.

Although my first experience was a bad one, I was willing to accept that it could have just been a bad recipe, or maybe down to my dodgy oven, so I decided to give them another go.

I chose this recipe from Rachel Allen because the pony had requested something with peanut butter. Not being a fan of peanut butter normally, I was fully expecting not to love these, but no – they were amazing!

They were literally so addictive, I couldn’t stop eating them. To the point that I put on two pounds in the past week and fully attribute it to these blondies.

If, unlike me, you can actually exercise portion control and self restraint, you should definitely make these – I am now a 100% blondie convert.

Peanut butter blondies (adapted from Rachel Allen’s recipe)

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 200g butter
  • 300g crunchy peanut butter
  • 350g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped

Cream together the butter and peanut butter until well mixed, the add in the sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then sift in the flour and baking powder and fold to combine. Stir in the chocolate, then pour into a 9×13 ” tin, lined with baking paper. Bake at 170 degrees for 25 minutes, then leave to cool before cutting into squares.