burnt chocolate blondie
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Burnt chocolate blondie, gooey squares of ultimate bliss, are made with roasted white chocolate for fudgy texture, brown sugar for chewy factor and a handful of cherries and pistachios just to totally knock you off your feet.
It’s not all bad. The glace cherries are possibly a little more nutritious than white chocolate and there are pistachio nuts on top. Everyone knows nuts are good for you. Even though pistachios aren't nuts.
But I’m clutching at straws because there’s no denying that this thing is as lethally delicious as it is lethal. Sugar, butter, flour, plus white chocolate which as we well know doesn’t even have those redeeming features that milk chocolate has – or so we tell ourselves.
But as I always say, it’s better to have a little of the real thing than spend your life deluding yourself that ersatz is as good and twice as healthy. Not many healthy things are enjoyable, that’s the sad truth – at least as far as food and drink is concerned. Salads are lovely with nice dressing and even better with a couple of slices of garlic bread on the side. Vegetables virtuously steamed – and slathered in butter. Roast chicken’s best bit is the crispy skin and actually out of the whole chicken sweet and sticky BBQ wings are the nicest.
People who say they like those green sludge smoothies made from spinach and kale are lying shamelessly. Put a juicy charred steak and poached chicken breast side by side: I know which I’ll pick. Love strawberries – but where’s the cream? And oats with yoghurt or skimmed milk are my favourite breakfast – with a generous drizzle of honey.
Of course what’s ‘good for you’ has a hidden sting because a lot of healthy foods are hugely calorific: take only nuts and avocados for example. So those unfortunates among us – that’ll be the majority considering the obesity issues – who need to watch the calorie as well as nutrition content, are usually not in a very tasty place. And when it comes to desserts we always have to go without as ‘healthy, low calorie pudding’ is the greatest oxymoron of all.
As said before, this is lethal. All very well for me to say ‘a little piece of the real thing’ but this thing is unreally good and it takes a superhuman effort to stop at one. Or two. Or three squares. The roasted chocolate is uniquely awesome; it looks like you’ve gone and ruined a whole lot of good chocolate but no – it turns into the loveliest gooey cake in the world. I’d like to try it with ordinary melted chocolate – only to say it’s inferior and to have to make another batch with the properly roasted choc.
The inspiration came from NY Times Cooking and Melissa Clark who I just want to BE. I simplified the recipe and skipped the balsamic strawberries; even though I’m sure they’d make the blondie yet more fantastic. But then I might not be able to stop even at the seventh slice – and what then?
burnt chocolate blondieServings: 16Time: 1 hour
- 190g (1 cup) cooking white chocolate, chopped, or white chocolate chips
- 115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 100g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 100g (½ cup) dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 210g (1 2/3 cup) plain flour
- ½ tsp fine salt
- For the topping:
- 12-16 glace cherries, halved
- 30g raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2. Place the chopped chocolate or the chips on a roasting tray and spread them in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, remove and stir it around with a spatula so the burnt edges get mixed in with the less cooked chocolate in the middle – it should all look grainy and be toffee coloured. If it’s paler than that, return it to the oven for another 5 minutes but take care not to burn it. Set aside to cool.
2. Turn the oven up to 180C/350F/gas 4. Prepare a 20 x 20cm (8 inch) square brownie tin and line it with parchment.
3. Beat the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one by one, beating continuously and scraping the side of the bowl. Don’t worry if the mix looks like it might curdle.
4. Scrape the roasted chocolate into the bowl and beat some more to mix; it’s okay if it’s a little lumpy. Add the flour and salt and mix just to combine.
5. Scrape the batter into the tin and smooth with a spatula. Arrange the cherry halves on top and sprinkle the pistachios. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the surface starts to crack and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out almost clean.
6. Cool completely in the tin and then cut into squares.