Banana, pecan and cherry blondies for Macmillan’s Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning

macmillanblondies3Macmillan Cancer Support is an incredible charity and on Friday 30th September they are hoping that many of us will join in with the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning again this year. Last year, Macmillan were delighted that all the people who got together over coffee and cake raised a record breaking £27.5million for people affected by cancer. Let’s hope this year is even better.

wbcm-logo-2I was delighted to have been approached by Macmillan to either feature one of their special Coffee Morning recipes or devise one of my own for this year’s event.

So, I’ve developed a recipe for blondies – a white chocolate version of brownies. I’ve purposely used ingredients and flavours that most (even occasional) bakers would have in their cupboards, or could at least very easily get hold of them at any small supermarket or corner shop and an easy way (for those not into fondant modelling or a dab hand at buttercream) to decorate it in Macmillan colours. The idea behind this thinking was that there then is no excuse not to bake a cake and do something different!

It’s decorated in either coloured white milk chocolate buttons or sweets – depending on your preference and what you can get hold of.

 

Notes

  • I have made this recipe three times to ensure that it works. I made one plain, one with chocolate beans on and one with the painted white chocolate buttons
  • The pecans do go especially well with the banana and white chocolate flavours, but walnuts will do at a pinch if you can’t get hold of pecans
  • The blondies should be moist and gooey in the centre and have a crisp crust on top

macmilanblondies1

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Flexible spatula
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Small microwaveable bowl
  • Baking tray (approx 20 x 30 cm or equivalent)
  • Baking paper/parchment
  • Plus (if painting chocolate buttons for the decoration):
  • Foil, a couple of sheets of kitchen roll, clean small paint brush

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter – 160g
  • Self raising flour – 225g
  • Demerera or soft brown sugar – 55g
  • Caster sugar – 170g
  • Eggs, medium – 2
  • Vanilla extra or paste – 1 teaspoon
  • White chocolate, broken into small chunks – 100g
  • Banana, very ripe (but no brown bits) – 1
  • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Pecans (or walnuts if you can’t get hold of pecans) – 80g
  • Glace cherries – 70g

Plus, either:

  • 3 small packs of white milk chocolate buttons and some green and purple food colouring (the gel type is best)

or

  • Several packs of chocolate beans or other similar round coloured sweets

Method

  1. Grease the baking tray and line it with the parchment/baking paper, set to one side
  2. Put your oven on – to 175C for fan ovens or 190C conventional
  3. Roughly chop the pecans
  4. Wash the cherries of the sticky juice they’re in and pat them dry with a clean tea towel or a piece of kitchen roll. Chop them into halves
  5. Put the butter in the small heatproof bowl and microwave for about 15 – 20 seconds until it is starting to melt – you want some runny and some soft
  6. In the bottom of the large bowl place the unpeeled banana and mash it completely with a fork
  7. Put the self raising flour, the baking powder, the demerera sugar, caster sugar and vanilla paste/extract in the large bowl with the mashed banana
  8. Tip in the melted butter and stir all these ingredients together
  9. Add the eggs and bring the mix together with a fork until it is all incorporate with no large flour lumps (although try not to over work it)
  10. Add the broken-up white chocolate, the chopped pecans and the washed and sliced cherries and mix until all these are evenly distributed
  11. Pour this all in to the baking tray, smooth the top over to make the mix sit evenly
  12. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes
  13. You can tell when it’s ready if the top has a nice crust but if you poke a skewer or cocktail stick into the blondie tray bake it should have just the slightest residue (this isn’t like a normal sponge that should come out clean)
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the baking tray
  15. While the cake is cooling, if you’ve chosen to paint the chocolate buttons, now is a good time
  16. Take a large piece of kitchen foil and lay it somewhere flat
  17. Place two or three pieces of kitchen roll on the foil – this is all to stop your table or counter top being stained by the food colouring and it will help the buttons to dry
  18. Lay out the chocolate buttons, flat side down on the kitchen roll
  19. Paint half with purple food colouring and half with green (remember to clean your brush when you swap colours or you’ll have a lovely murky brown instead!)
  20. Leave to dry until the blondie tray bake is cool enough to handle
  21. When the blondie tray bake is cool, lift it up out of the baking tray using the parchment and lay it on a chopping board
  22. Cut into generous pieces – you should get 12 – 15 blondies out (depending on how hungry you’re feeling when you slice!)
  23. Arrange the painted chocolate buttons or the chocolate beans/sweets on top

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