Having just compiled and edited 10,000 words, I don’t have many left to share. But I will tell you that I’m a particular fan of the dense, fudgy brownie, and equally of the rich, chewy chocolate chip cookie, and a blondie is what you’d get if the two got together. Blondies are easier to make than brownies, and quicker to spread into a pan and bake than a couple dozen cookies. Just what Friday needs.
They’re the solution to any cookie emergency. But even if you’re in a rush to crush your craving, if you can spare an extra 4 minutes to brown your butter first, it’s totally worth it.
Chocolate Chunk Browned Butter Blondies
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2-1 cup chopped chocolate and/or nuts
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Keep it on the heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the foam starts turning golden and the mixture smells nutty. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl.
Stir in the brown sugar, then the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir until almost combined; add the chocolate or nuts (or whatever additions you like) and stir just until blended.
Spread into an 8×8-inch pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and set. Serve warm or cool in the pan on a wire rack. Makes 16 blondies.
March 01 2013 | cookies & squares and dessert | 12 Comments »
Those who lived in Calgary in the 90s might remember a coffee shop on a corner in Sunnyside called the Heartland Cafe, in the space that now houses Vendome. One of the most popular baked goods on the wooden rack behind the cash register, along with hefty raspberry yogurt muffins, were big, grainy cookies loaded with nuts, seeds and dark chocolate chunks – they called them Nutri-Cookies.
The term nutri applied in a very 70s manner; anything loaded with seedy, grainy things or served with sprouts or yogurt earned that label. When I acquired the Heartland Cafe Cookbook from a friend’s mum, the recipe called for a cup of margarine and as much brown sugar – decidedly not nutri, but definitely delicious, with a wonderfully fine texture. And yes – loaded with good things.
This is the type of cookie that could easily pinch-hit as breakfast, rounds out a lunchbox well and fills the gap in that late afternoon lull between school and dinner. You could, of course, add any number of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and the like, but this particular combo brings be right back to the cafe, pre-coffee addiction, mid-cookie addiction.
The dough is very thick – it will give your stand mixer a workout. Drop big scoops onto your cookie sheet – I broke one ice cream scoop doing this – and then flatten each with your hand into a small pattie. I imagine these would freeze well, if you don’t want to bake them all at once.
If you don’t already know these, I’m certain you’ll want to make their acquaintance.
Cookies of Power
Adapted from The Heartland Cafe Cookbook
1 cup butter, at room temp
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
2 cups oats
1/3 cups bran or oat bran
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup sunflower, sesame and/or pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 325F. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar for a few minutes, until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. It may look separated – that’s OK.
Add the flour, oats, oat bran, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir or mix on low speed until almost blended. Add the chocolate, nuts and seeds and stir just until combined.
Drop 1/3 cup scoops onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet; flatten each to 1/2-inch thick with your hand. Bake for 20 minutes, until pale golden around the edges and set, but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 1 1/2 dozen large cookies.
January 17 2013 | cookies & squares and snacks | 32 Comments »