Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Variations on a Theme- Alternative Blondies

 Raspberry Almond and Pear, Pistachio and Ginger Blondies
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies

The traditional blondie with chocolate chips can stand just as it is- as far as I'm concerned they are perfect, chewy, butterscotch and chocolate flavors all combined- but in baking, as in life, sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone, and open yourself to new experiences. I decided to try these two blondie recipes from Martha Stewart's cookie book.  Neither of them have changed my mind about what would win in a taste test, but for the non-chocolate person, they are an alternative.  For the raspberry/almond blondie, I followed her recipe exactly and was a little disappointed.  They did not have that buttery, chewy texture of blondies.  The basic recipe was just not as good as the gingerbread-white chocolate blondies from her cookie book,  so I adapted that recipe for the pear, pistachio and ginger blondies with a much better result.  No verdict yet from my usual taste testers, but I am going to stick with the traditional.

2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1  1/4 teaspoons salt
10 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses

for the Raspberry-Almond Blondies
2 cups sliced toasted almonds
3 cups raspberries
1/4 teaspoons almond extract

for the Pear, Pistachio and Ginger Blondies
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped dried pears (about 6 ounces)
1 1 /4 cups shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (about 5 ounces)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped candied ginger

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 12x17 rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the parchment and set aside.
     Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium high speed until creamy and pale, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs and yolk, one at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and molasses (and almond extract for raspberry/almond) and mix on medium speed until combined. Add flour mixture on low speed until just combined.

For the Raspberry/Almond- Mix in almonds to the basic batter.  Place batter in prepared pan and spread evenly.  Scatter raspberries over top.  Bake until golden around the edges, about 25 minutes.  Let cool completely and cut into squares.

For the Pear, Pistachio and Ginger- Mix pears, pistachios and ginger into basic batter.  Spread batter in prepared pan and bake until golden around the edges, about 25 minutes.  Cool completely and cut into rectangles. ((post by Susan))

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