Sunday, January 23, 2011

brown butter blondies

I made these twice this weekend.  Yep...twice.  I made big pans of it too.  Will, my best friend's boyfriend and my boyfriend's best friend (bfbf), said that I should only ever make these from now on.  While on the phone with Kate last night, he also said, "If I could go outside and slap the first person I came across, and that would mean that I could go back in and have a plate of those waiting, I'd do it".  It's ok, you can judge him for these over the top statements.

If you hadn't gathered by now, these are amazing.  They are gooey, rich and delicious.  I doubled the recipe the second time.  The first time they were a bit thin in my 9x13 pan.  If you're making the recipe as written below, I'd make it in an 8x8, or maybe something in between for a bit thinner blondie.  They were a teensy bit greasy so next time I think I might add a bit more flour, but I was woried about losing the chewiness factor.  Maybe a 1/4 cup.  I am keeping the recipe as it was originally written below. 

The moral of this story is that brown butter makes everything delicous.

Brown Butter Blondies


200g unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Optional: add ins like chocolate chips, nuts, coconut etc.

1. Heat butter over medium heat until it turns a golden colour and small dark flecks start to form.  For more info on how to brown butter - read this.
2. Add butter and sugar to the bowl of a mixer and mix until it cools a bit.
3. Next, add the egg and vanilla.
4.  Add the dry ingredients all at once and stir until combined. 
5.  Mix in your extras, but make sure it is cool enough.  The first time round, my chocolate chips melted quite a bit and my blondies looked like brownies.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

blue monday

Apparently today is Blue Monday.  A day where everyone's depressed because they've failed to put their New Year's resolutions into action and don't have any stat holidays until the end of April.  Yeah...that is pretty depressing.

I have actually made some very good progress on my New Year's resolutions, which is why I haven't had a moment to spare for baking.  I've been going to the gym almost every day and am working back at the bike shop part-time to bring in extra cash to save for school.  I guess I need to work out a way to fit all that in and still do some baking, because I miss it!  I read that if you introduce New Year's resolutions gradually over the year, you're more likely to acheive them, so maybe I will make one starting in February to blog twice a week.

I did finally get around to some baking last night and decided to make biscotti.  I figured it would be something that I could eat without feeling terribly guilty, and because it lasts forever, I wouldn't feel the pressure to eat it before it goes bad.  Well, maybe I'm out of practice, but it was a total disaster.  I now have a cookie jar filled with biscotti bits.  They taste great, but were not pretty AT ALL.  I have a few baking plans for next weekend, so hopefully I'll be back on track soon.

For now, stay happy people!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"melt-in-your-mouth" shortbread

My friend asked me to make her boyfriend chai shortbread cookies for Christmas.  I had wanted to try this recipe from Allrecipes for a while, so decided to do a chai version by adding the spices.

I'll be honest, I wasn't totally sold on these - hence the quotations.  They weren't melt in your mouth, buttery enough for me.  Don't get me wrong, they were good, but just not the perfect shortbread I was hoping for.  I've yet to find a shortbread that makes me totally happy (other than Melissa's oat variety...but that's in a different league).  Anyone out there have the perfect shortbread recipe?

I did take the opportunity to use my cookie gun, that I got for Christmas last year and never got around to using until this year.  It was quite fun and I will keep it in mind from now on.

"Melt-in-your-mouth" Shortbread
from Allrecipes


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.Whip butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on low for one minute, then on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Drop cookies by spoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3.Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Watch that the edges don't brown too much. Cool on wire racks.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

tim tam truffles and a new year

Another year gone. I am truly happy to be starting 2011. Not that 2010 was bad for me. For the world…another story, but I won’t get into that here. I’ve always loved the starting of a new year, the starting of a new school year too. There’s a a fresh start, the ability to turn over a new leaf and be a better person (or a ridiculously new leaf as my friend Meaghan would put it). Even if that feeling only lasts for a few weeks, or a month, I still always fall for it. 

I was taking a look at my new year's resolutions from last year (I always document them). I only really achieved 2 of my 6 goals, but I made a good effort at the others. The key seems to be concrete goals rather than wishy washy ones. One of the big ones for 2011 is saving money, because just before Christmas I heard some exciting news. I was accepted to study at the University of Sussex starting in September. In order to make that happen, I need to save a lot of money each month. One area for cut back, unfortunately, needs to be baking supplies. I’ve decided to cut back on the baking to twice a week. Maybe this will be a good thing and will force me to be even more creative with my baking. I did get quite a few baking supplies and books for Christmas.

I've been busy this week working on my resolutions for the year, trying to get my apartment cleaned up and reduce the amount of stuff I have, and spending time in the gym. Blogging has been taking a back seat for a bit, but I'll be back at it regularly next week.  I continue my little break from baking anything this week with a peak from one of the things I made before the holidays but never got around to posting about.

Ever since my fourth year of university, when we became good friends with Lola, an exchange student from Australia, my friends and I have been obsessed with Tim Tams.  Lola introduced the cookie to us and taught us about slamming.  I was looking for easy truffle recipes for this holiday season and came across a recipe for Tim Tam truffles.  SOLD!

It's the easiest thing and they are delicious.  All you do is take a package plus about 4 more tim tam biscuits, crush them up in a food processor, mix with one 8oz package of softened cream cheese and form into balls.  Put them in the freezer until they harden and then dip in melted chocolate.  If you're more ambitious than me, you could temper the chocolate, but I decided since they have cream cheese in them and need to be kept in the fridge anyways, I wouldn't bother.  You could also decorate them with white chocolate, but I didn't have time.