Thursday, 30 October 2014

Raspberry - almond blondies

Raspberry - almond blondies

I admit that the first time I heard of blondies (sigh, how long ago it was... my first stay in the States) I thought they were a flat cake, cut into squares, made with white chocolate. And I was completely wrong! But forgive me, I am Italian and this sweet doesn't belong to Italian tradition. Actually now many "foreign" sweets, as well as many other dishes, are popular in Italy too, and sometimes are even more appreciated than local ones, especially by follower of food trends: first cupcakes, then macarons, now something else. But blondies, unlike their dark cousins, are not much familiar to people. Maybe in future ... who knows? They are good indeed, and also easy to make.
I don't know exactly neither their origin and the story behind them, if there is one, nor their relation with brownies. But I think they deserve a try. Whereas brownies flavor depends, obviously, on chocolate, blondies have a molasses flavor, coming from brown sugar combined with butter, that I like even if some recipes are too sweet for my personal, and Italian, taste (actually most of the American desserts tend to be too sweet for me).
Raspberry - almond blondies

The recipe for these raspberry-almond blondies comes, ça va sans dire, from an American cookbook, "Cookies" by Martha Stewart, from which I take inspiration sometimes. But. as usual, I adapted the original recipe to my personal taste: first of all I cut (much actually) the amount of sugar and this means less sweet but also less chewy, more cakey blondies; then, since I am not a fan of nuts, I didn't put any sliced almond into the batter, as requested by the recipe, but just sprinkled some on top, all over raspberries; and finally I added to the batter some chopped white chocolate whose sweetness perfectly pairs with raspberries sourness. And these italianized  blondies came out very good, not too sweet, soft and delicate, perfect with a good cup of jasmine tea.


Raspberry - almond blondies

Raspberry - almond blondies
adapted from "Cookies" by Martha Stewart
makes 16 small squares (8x8inch - 20x20 cm square pan)
110 unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
200 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
90 g light-brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
60 g white chocolate, chopped (optional)
30 g sliced almonds
300 g raspberries
Preheat oven to 160 °C (325°F). Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 3 cm to hang over sides. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk the soft butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the egg and vanilla and combine. Add the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated (it is possible to do everything whit an hand whisk or with an electric mixer with the paddle attachment).  Mix in the chopped white chocolate if using.
Pour batter into prepared pan; spread with a rubber spatula. Scatter berries and sliced almonds  over batter. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into blondies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before cutting into squares.
Notes
·         The original recipe called for about 100 g sliced almonds, 3/4 mixed in the batter and the rest sprinkled on top. I substituted the part to be added to the batter for white chocolate.
·         If you like, you can dust the top of blondies with icing sugar before cutting into squares.
Raspberry - almond blondies

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