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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Coconut Blondies

I think the Secretary Spread is setting in. While my LinkedIn will eagerly offer up a flashier title, I am, essentially, a glorified secretary. Now with that high-powered, oft-envied position comes a whole host of side effects.

Carpal tunnel syndrome from fervently clicking away from Vice and back to Bloomberg whenever a colleague comes near me. A hunchback so pronounced I'll be fending off Esmerelda's advances for the foreseeable future. A serious case of 4:00 o'clock ennui. And, thanks to my subsequent 4:00 o'clock croissant run, the dreaded Secretary Spread.

By no means am I left sheepishly asking the flight attendant for a seatbelt extender just yet, but I've finally resigned myself to the fact that I might need to cut back. If just a little.

That's where these blondies come in. They're fudgy with a deep toffee flavor, and they're rich enough that you really won't notice they're lightened up. They're an evolved version of those three-ingredient peanut butter cookies that have been floating around the internet for some time now, which means they're quick to whip up and have a short ingredient list.

Coconut Blondies
Makes 12 bars

1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup cashew butter
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut, plus more for sprinkling if desired
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
Beans scraped from one vanilla pod
1/3 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together almond butter, cashew butter, eggs, and coconut sugar until smooth and cohesive. Add shredded coconut, baking powder, salt, and vanilla beans. Beat to combine until dough forms a ball. Spread into prepared baking sheet. Scatter chocolate and extra shredded coconut over the top. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Bake for 20 minutes, until risen and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

More Blondie Recipes
Olive Oil Blondies with Chocolate Frosting
Infinitely Adaptable Blondies
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Banana Cashew Bread

It's suddenly dawned on me that I'm really fucking old. Not old in the grand scheme of things. But old enough. You know what I mean?

I swear I can see crow's feet sweeping inelegantly at the corners of my eyes. I'm starting to lose my grasp on what is and is not cool. It took me two weeks longer than everyone else on the planet to understand what the hell the key emoji meant. I barely even understand some of my friends when they speak. I might as well make Urban Dictionary my homepage.

And with old age, comes nostalgia. I remember fonder times when I was quite literally the only 13-year old left without a cellphone. I relish the sweet memory of being IDed (I mean, seriously, do I look that old?). I happily stew in this golden reflection because surely my geriatric state will soon leave me without any memories at all.

Spring 2005 is a memory I hold particularly dear. Picture me, swaddled in the velour embrace of a Juicy Couture tracksuit threatening to slide off my prepubescent hips. Imagine me, frantically flipping open my Nokia brick in the hopes that someone, anyone had texted me. And envisage me, bumpin and grindin to sweet, sweet sounds of Hollaback Girl at the sickest Bar Mitzvah of the season.

That shit was bananas. And this bread? Well, it's also bananas. And it will certainly have you mentally teleporting back to your own gaucho-wearing, collar-popping, iPod Nano-wielding 2005.

Banana Cashew Bread
Makes 1 loaf

5 very ripe bananas, 4 roughly mashed and 1 sliced into coins
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup cashew butter
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chestnut flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch Himalayan salt
6 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Coconut sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan with coconut oil. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together bananas, eggs, cashew butter, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together chestnut flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet and beat to combine. Fold in chocolate. Pour into prepared baking tin. Sprinkle coconut sugar over top. Arrange banana coins down the center of the loaf. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Earl Grey Cookies with Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache

My oven has staunchly refused to bake anything properly for nearly a month now, and I've just about had it. As soon as I slide a cake or tart in, ready to bake, the lady doth protest too much. The sides are elegantly charred, the top is like volcanic ash. It's almost as trendy as blackened chicken.

Same same, but different.

The only things the oven doesn't set fire to are cookies. Inevitably, the past few weeks have been an endless parade of the little guys: chocolate chip, oatmeal (sans raisins, as my flatmates are not sultana-inclined), lemon bars, and on and on and on.

I'd wanted to make a Malted Vanilla Bundt Cake, a perfectly sweet, tender backdrop for this ganache. However, I knew if I tempted fate and gingerly pushed a beautiful bundt cake into the inferno that is my oven, we would end up eating a hockey puck draped in Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache. For fear, I went for these crisp cookies delicately flavored with Darjeeling Earl Grey tea. So, my friends, feast your eyes (and feed your grumbling stomachs) on these cookies.

Earl Grey Cookies with Cardamom White Chocolate Ganache
Makes 2 dozen

For the cookies:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons Darjeeling Earl Grey tea leaves, ground in a spice grinder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Beans scraped from 1 vanilla pod
8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the ganache:
14 ounces white chocolate, roughly chopped
1/3 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons ground cardamom

To make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, both sugars, tea leaves, cinnamon, and vanilla beans. Add butter and cream until mixture starts to come together. Slowly, pour in the heavy cream. Add vanilla extract and beat until dough comes together in a ball. Divide dough into two balls. Roll each ball into a log and wrap in parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds and bake on prepared baking sheets for 10 minutes, until edges are lightly golden and tops are firm to touch. Let cool on a wire rack.

To make the ganache: Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat gently until white chocolate has melted. Stir in icing sugar, heavy cream, and cardamom. Once cookies are cool, ice them with the ganache. Sprinkle extra tea leaves over top, if desired.

More Tea Recipes
Green Tea White Chocolate Brownies
Raspberry Earl Grey Cake
Thai Iced Tea Ice Cream