Ah Friday,finally!I was having one of those weeks where it just seems to drag by and when Friday feels like it's never going to come.As soon as the bell rang to signal the end of school today I bolted out of the door and headed for home.I love weekends.Weekends allow you to do the things which you want to do during the week but never have the time or energy for.One such example is baking.As is probably quite obvious to anyone who has ever even glanced at this blog.I'm unable to pin point just exactly what it is,but I find nothing more relaxing than getting stuck into an exciting new recipe.Therefore,when the weekend finally rolls around I discard my schoolbag and homework and get out my eggs and flour.
The recipe comes together very quick.The butter is melted in a pot,the spices are added and then the sugar.I was unfortunately unable to find ground cloves or cardamom anywhere in my area,so I just had to omit them from the recipe(I'm sure they probably would make quite a difference if added).This mixture is allowed to cool before the eggs are whisked in.The flour,baking powder and salt are folded in.Finally the chocolate chunks and hazelnuts are added.The mixture(which I found to be quite stiff)is tipped into the tin and baked in the oven for about 30 minutes(mine baked in about 23-25 minutes).One cooked the blondies are left to cool in the tin for a couple of hours so that they can set and firm up.Now I'm usually one of those people who can't stand waiting around for something to cool or set but luckily today I had to go out for dinner first.This acted as a nice distraction and meant the blondies had time to cool and set properly.
By the time I arrived home the blondies had set perfectly.I removed them from the tin and snapped a few pictures on my(useless) camera with the little natural light still left.I was glad to see the blondies had a beautifully fudgy interior once I cut into them.They really were like a blonde brownie.I decided to dress the blondies up a bit for a dessert and so I attempted to make the salted caramel sauce which was also included in the book.Now I'm not sure exactly what went wrong but once the sauce was cooked it began to harden and became like a chewy toffee more than a sauce.I could also taste very little salt,which is probably down to the extremely small pinch I put in to the sauce but at least I'll no better next time.If anyone had any suggestions as to why the sauce went hard when it began to cool I would be glad to hear them as this is one sauce I'd really like to try again.
I first tried these blondies after I gave them about 30 seconds in the microwave to heat up.I served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and dug in.I found the taste of these to be quite unusual.The spice present really came through in the blondies and worked nicely with the chocolate.Later on,I tried a small piece of the blondies cold on their own,and found that I actually preferred the blondies like this.Room temperature,unadourned yet still delicious.
I was pleased with how my first batch of blondies turned out and will definitely make these again when I can get my hands on ground cloves and cardamom.In the meantime however,I may just have to make some of the other recipes in this great new book!
Chewy Speculaas Blondies
225g unsalted butter
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg(I used dried and reduced the amount)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cardamom pods
400g light brown sugar
250g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
80g hazelnuts chopped
1.Preheat the oven to 180C(160C fan)gas mark 4.Grease and line a 23 x 33 cm baking tin and line with a strip of baking parchment,leaving a 5cm overhang along the edges to make removing the blondies easier.
2.Melt the butter in a pan over a medium high heat,add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes.Next add the sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes,stirring constantly before taking the pan off the heat.
3.Leave to cool for 5 minutes.Next whisk in the eggs and fold in the flour ,baking powder and salt.Stir in the chopped chocolate and hazelnuts,then pour the batter into the prepared tin.Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
4.Once cooked,allow to cool in the tin completely and to set for a few hours in the tin.