Friday, February 26, 2010

Blueberry White Chocolate Blondies

I went to the grocery store and thought buying some fresh fruit would help me beat the winter blues.  Strangely, I ended up buying a package of blueberries.

I knew I wanted to bake something and decided blondies (the vanilla version of brownies) would be a great way to showcase the beautiful colour of the berries.

A bottle of delicious maple syrup has been sitting in my cupboard waiting to be used.  This seemed like the perfect moment since blueberry pancakes with maple syrup are a popular pairing.

Finally, my last ingredient of inspiration was Bliss white chocolate squares.  They are creamy, buttery and not as shockingly sweet as most white chocolate I've had.  My sister bought them for me when she went to the flagship Hershey store in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  They call it "the sweetest place on earth." 

A Martha Stewart recipe for raspberry almond blondies was the perfect starting point for my creation.  The result, while delicious, wasn't the dense, chewy texture of a blondie.  It was like a moist, fluffy cake.  I still recommend making it. 

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1 pint blueberries
1/4 cup white chocolate pieces chopped

 Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter pan. 
  2. Toast the almond in a pan on low heat for about 5 minutes. 
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
  4. Cream together butter, sugar and maple syrup in a bowl. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated. Mix 3/4 of the almonds into batter.  Gently fold in the blueberries and white chocolate.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread with a rubber spatula. Scatter remaining nuts over batter in pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 40 minutes. 
I used half the amount of sugar from the original recipe and it turned out really well.  The addition of the white chocolate added enough sweetness.

The maple flavour also comes through really well.  It is so wonderfully delicious and apparently has some health benefits.  Like blueberries, maple syrup is high in antioxidants.   It is also full of minerals such as magnesium, zinc, potassium and calcium.

I'm definitely going to use more maple syrup in my baking.  I'm thinking maple cookies.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Orange Chocolate Cookies

My friend Julianne went to London, England and brought back some amazing orange chocolate chunk cookies from Harrod's. They were so delicious I had to try to make them.

I adapted the lemon ginger cookie recipe and it worked out quite well.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

Orange butter
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (juice of 1 big orange)
1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Orange sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
4 tbsp sugar

Directions


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring orange juice to a simmer over medium heat. When it has reduced by half, add 1/4 cup of butter to it. Stir until butter is melted.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and 2 tsp orange zest.

Cream together 1/2 cup butter and sugar. Beat in the sour cream. Slowly pour in orange butter mixture. Mix in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips.

In a small bowl, put a few tablespoons of sugar and add the remaining orange zest. Roll a spoonful of dough in the sugar mixture and flatten on a cookie sheet. You can use the bottom of a cup to flatten the cookie.

Bake for 13-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

The orange flavour goes together really well with chocolate. You could even dip the cookies into a melted chocolate instead of adding the chocolate chips in the batter. It would look quite pretty.

Next time I would try making these cookies with candied ginger. The ginger added a really nice kick to the lemon cookies and I'm sure it would pair well with the chocolate.

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