Can this be short and sweet? That’s what people want on a Saturday morning- am I right? (Unless Molly has a new post up – it’s a good morning when something from her pops into my RSS feed.)
So. I learned last week that bourbon blondies are my friend Gwendolyn‘s go-to recipe for ski trips and weekends with friends. That same day, chatting with my roomie about what we should buy/bake/pack for our weekend at the Food Bloggers of Canada conference (such a great event, if you have the opportunity to go next time, do!), Jan offered to bake a batch of drunk (bourbon) blondies – her go-to recipe for get-togethers, she said.
When two of my favourite food writing people have a go-to recipe, I need to try it. Right?
Gwendolyn’s, which call for 1/4 cup bourbon to an 8×8-inch pan of blondies, are decidedly boozy. Jan’s much less so, with just 2 Tbsp in a 9×13-inch pan; hers are subtle and buttery, delivering a gentle nudge rather than a kick. Both have their merits.
One is essentially a double batch of the other, with butterscotch chips in place of the chocolate. So what we have here is a sliding scale of bourbon – for an 8×8-inch pan you can add 1-4 Tbsp of bourbon, and all will work. Or double the recipe easily if you have more company to share them with.
Either way, I imagine a warm slab would make a delicious vehicle for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Next time.
Bourbon Blondies with Pecans & Chocolate Chunks
adapted from Patent and the Pantry and Family Bites
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1-4 Tbsp. bourbon or whiskey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped chocolate chunks or chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350F and butter an 8×8-inch pan or line it with parchment paper with extra hanging over the sides – this makes for easy removal and slicing. (This was Gwendolyn’s idea – I usually eschew this step, but I’m glad I took the extra minute. So easy.)
In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and sugar, then add the egg, bourbon and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Add the flour and salt and stir until almost combined; add the chocolate and pecans and stir just until blended. Spread into the pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides and the middle is set. Cool at least slightly before cutting into squares. Makes 9-16 blondies.
April 20 2013 | dessert | 10 Comments »
When there’s nothing else you can do, bake cookies.
I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies in the tiny kitchen of the palliative care ward my friend Rachael was in 5 years ago, for the strangers who shared our space for those days and weeks, who came and went and sat and walked the halls carrying hearts raw with sadness. We’d go downstairs to Starbucks in a weak attempt to refuel, and on one afternoon I kept walking, out the door and across the street to the grocery store, where I bought butter and sugar and flour and eggs. I rummaged through the kitchen normally reserved for families and friends of patients to store and reheat food brought from home, digging out a bowl, spoon and makeshift measuring cup. The apartment-sized oven coughed itself on, then released the aroma of baking into the stale hospital air, bringing with it a sense of comfort and calm.
As I walked through the halls with a plate of warm cookies, people hunched in bedside chairs and huddled in common areas would look up with faint surprise. “You baked cookies? For us? Thank you.”
I baked this particular batch cookies for my almost-8-year-old boy, knowing that nowadays he tires of hugs after about one of them, unless they are delivered in cookie form. I made them with barley flour; barley is high in fibre, with more than twice as much (soluble and insoluble) as oatmeal. And although barley flour hasn’t quite caught on in most kitchens, it’s common and easy to find on grocery store shelves alongside the wheat flour. Barley flour is softer than you’d think – in fact, you don’t get the same tweedy texture with barley flour that you do with whole wheat flour.
And because in Canada, much of the germ is often removed from a grain of wheat milled to make flour, making whole wheat flour not really whole (up to 5% of the kernel can be removed to help reduce rancidity and prolong the shelf life of whole wheat flour) barley flour is a great alternative if you want to up your fibre but still make a delicious cookie. It produced a thinner, chewier, more spread out cookie, but in a good way; barley also has humectant properties, meaning they stay soft.
Just like a hug.
Barley Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups barley flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into chunks
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until pale and almost fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Add the barley flour, baking soda and salt and stir or beat on low until almost combined; add the chocolate chunks and stir just until blended.
Drop dough by large spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes (depending on their size) until golden around the edges but still soft in the middle. Let them set for a minute, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
April 16 2013 | dessert and grains and snacks | 19 Comments »