Monday, November 10, 2008

Blondies (for Brunettes as well...)

The Christmas Concert season is beginning. Mothers everywhere (as well as a father here and then) are whipping up something sweet or savoury, and delivering it with their offspring to church halls and school auditoriums. I'm not being unkind when I say that these concerts always seem to go forever, the halls are always hot, and someone tall inevitably takes the seat in front of me so I spend the night ducking and weaving to try and see the kids performing. Once the formalities are over, everyone gets to have a drink and a nibble (even a light meal of you are lucky). The arrangements are generally no more formal than "bring a plate", and there are always stories of newly arrived expats, who arrive with an empty plate, rather than a full one.

If you have been told to "bring a plate" to your kids concert, this slice from Dorie Greenspan is perfect. It is not going to collapse in warm weather, or melt or go funny. It tastes delicious, so the kids will wolf it down. You can also tailor it depending on personal preferences - any of the usual stir-in ingredients would work (nuts, dried fruit, etc). It is also scrumptious with a cup of coffee. You might even decide it is too nice for the concert, and keep it at home, while you stop for something else on the way..... (and by the way, if you are thinking about asking Santa for a recipe book, Dorie's book, "Baking: From My Home to Yours" is worth putting on your list).

Chewy, Chunky Blondies
from "Baking: From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
250g butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (light) brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips or toffee bits (because we don't get these here, I smashed up Werthers toffees)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated to add the next, then beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture, stirring only until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chips, nuts and coconut by hand. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a tester comes out with only a few crumbs. Cool blondies in the pan, but turn them out (and then reinvert them so the top is facing up) before slicing into 32 bars.

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