Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dessert re-branding

It never ceases to intrigue me what aspects of American culture – food and otherwise - surface in other countries. Reruns of Cheers on Australian TV? Yes. Reruns of WKRP? No sign. Visibility of the Hunger Games franchise: check. Visibility of Percy Jackson: not so much. Barefoot Contessa cookbooks? Easily findable. Pioneer Woman? Might require a little more digging.

The trend continues when it comes to food. Mention the word “brownie” – a quintessential American dessert – to an Australian, and chances are you’ll see someone’s eyes light up. Mention “blondies,” on the other hand, and your response is likely to be blank incomprehension.

Rather than trying to change this, I have decided to go with the Australian flow and have renamed the following recipe, for purposes of local comprehension and consumption, “fudgey choc chip slice.” Blank incomprehension is not the response I’m looking for when baking.

Fudgey choc chip slice (aka blondies)
adapted from a recipe found on the delightful but dormant Figs, lavender and cheese blog
I had never made blondies as such when I found this recipe, although you could make a case for putting Congo bars into that category. These are similarly addictive; I think I made four batches of these in the space of the week when I first tried out the recipe.

1 cup/120 g all-purpose/plain flour
.5 cup/60 g whole wheat flour
1 tsp/5 g baking powder
.5 tsp/2 g kosher salt
12 Tbsp/1.5 sticks/180 g unsalted butter, browned and cooled
1.5 cups/300 g packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp/30 ml maple syrup
2 large eggs
4 tsp/20 ml vanilla extract
1 cup/180 g semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan with foil, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan (I use two pieces crisscrossed). Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk flours, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup together in medium bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into wet until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in chocolate and spread batter in prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.

Bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 25 2-inch squares.


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