Salted blondies – with pecans and macadamias

IMG_1721I’ve given a recipe I developed a number of years ago recipe a seasonal twist. Sea salted blondies scattered with teeny crisp-shelled chocolate eggs.

Bake these at any time – not just Easter – by omitting the chocolate eggs or replacing them with Smarties.

Notes

Although we are adding sea salt to the blondies I do suggest using unsalted butter. That may seem a little pointless, but it means we can control the amount of salt used.

Using two types of sugars allows the caster to melt into the ingredients and help the baking process (as well as adding sweetness) and the demerera will keep some of its integrity, allowing for a little extra crunch.

Equipment

  • Baking tray/square cake tin 20cm x 20 cm
  • Baking parchment
  • Saucepan
  • Large bowl
  • Small bowl

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter – 160g
  • Pecans – 60g
  • Macadamias – 60g
  • Plain flour – 225g
  • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Demerera sugar – 55g
  • Light brown or unrefined caster sugar – 170g
  • Eggs, medium – 2
  • Vanilla paste – 1 teaspoon or finely grind up a half of a vanilla pod in a pestle and mortar
  • Good quality white chocolate, chopped into large pieces – 200g (two ‘posh’ bars: I really like the Coop’s own which is a lot cheaper than the well known luxury brands but no less gorgeous)

Toppings

  • Sea salt flakes (I use salt from the Cornish Sea Salt Co) – about 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Mini crisp-shelled Easter eggs (I found these in Asda). Out of season replace these with Smarties or other similar shelled chocolate sweets – as many as you like
  • Milk chocolate chips – a large handful/as many as you like

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 190C fan  / 2210 conventional
  2. Line the baking tray – I’ve found you don’t need to grease or flour – leave enough on two opposite sides to help you lift the blondies out later
  3. Put the butter in your saucepan over a medium heat and warm the butter through until it starts to separate and foam and then pour it into the small bowl to cool a little
  4. Pop the nuts into the saucepan (it will probably still have a little butter in it – this is good) and return to the heat and swirl them around in the residue butter for a minute to toast them a little and let them take on that caramelisation. Take off the heat and leave to one side
  5. Measure out the rest of the ingredients except the toppings and the white chocolate – that is the flour, eggs, sugars, baking powder, vanilla – into the bowl and give a quick mix to incorporate the eggs thoroughly
  6. Add in the butter and mix through
  7. Now add the chopped chocolate and the nuts and mix
  8. Spoon the mixture into the baking tin
  9. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes
  10. Remove and scatter the chocolate eggs/Smarties onto the surface, pushing them down ever so gently (you want to have most of each egg showing)
  11. Scatter over the salt flakes and the chocolate chips
  12. Return to the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes
  13. The surface of the blondie will be a nice golden brown and when you insert a cocktail stick or skewer in to the mix it should still be a little wet and clingy, though not liquid (brownies and blondies are kept gooey-er than cakes)
  14. Leave to cool in the tin, then lift out and cut into portions
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