Toasted pecan and dark chocolate blondies

Derbyshire is so so so beautiful right now. It feels like nature is just exploding into glory all around us. There are babies everywhere; bunnies, lambs, calves. And the grass is so… green! It really makes you feel alive when you’re driving or walking around the valley. Taking some ham sandwiches, strawberries and a flask of tea to the park is all that’s required at this time of year to make me and the kids happy. So glad we moved here, it feels like a privilege to be amongst it all. You could say I’m feeling very content right now with my lot…

In this spirit of happiness, today our kitchen has been bursting with creativity. Today we baked bread, as well as making an amazing Sunday roast… but most excitingly, I made blondies (obviously!).

I had my first ever blondie experience in a Costa Coffee last week. It was good; chewy and moist, very blonde, insomuch as it had white chocolate in, and white macadamia nuts too. I found it too sweet though. It needed an edge of bitterness. It would be better with dark chocolate in, I thought to myself, to contrast with the sweet cookie-dough richness of it. And what do you know, I was right! Well, I think so anyway. It really works with dark chocolate. And the toasted pecans are gorgeous too (do toast them, it’s so worth it to get that extra nutty, toasty flavour).

The blondie recipe I adapted is from the fabulously amazing Smitten Kitchen blog, which is why the measurements are a bit odd, as they are converted from US cups. And it is a great recipe to adapt which, as she suggests, you could do a number of ways. These are such an easy bake, give ’em a go. Best thing I’ve baked for ages. The kids went wild for them.

Makes: 16 bigger-than-bite-size squares
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 
113g butter, melted
218g golden caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
125g plain flour
100g dark chocolate, chopped into rough chip sized pieces
100g pecans, toasted then roughly chopped

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and flour (or line) a 8in x 8in square tin. I used a square cake tin. If you have a much larger tin then try doubling up the quantities (I bet they freeze well). 
  2. Toast your pecans for a few minutes by dry frying them over medium heat. Be careful they burn easily. Chop roughly – you want some in large pieces and some in smaller pieces. Don’t chop too fine. 
  3. Beat the sugar and melted butter with an electric whisk – or by hand if you don’t have one, until lighter and fluffy-ish. About 5 minutes. 
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix again. 
  5. Now a pinch of salt and the flour. Beat again until just combined. 
  6. Fold in nuts and chocolate. Pour into tin and level a bit. 
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool in tin, then loosen and tip out. Cut into squares when cool. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk. 


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