Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Raspberry Pecan Blondies

Hello and welcome to Adventures In Baking.  Why do I call it 'Adventures' you may ask?  Well, I am, admittedly, limited in my baking ability and am working my way through various recipes with a wing and a prayer.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn't.  I like the precision of baking.  No pinch of this or dash of that.  Baking is specific.  The instructions include everything from the measurements of each ingredient to directing the baker to scrape the side of the bowl while mixing, to what brand or type of an ingredient to use.  I'm trying new things.  I'm discovering new products.  I'm re-defining my dessert likes and dislikes.  It's an Adventure!

Let me give you a little insight into how today's treat came to be.  For the past 6 months or so, I've been searching through the blog-o-sphere searching for recipes.  One of the items I continually read the title for was Blondies.  Now, I don't know why exactly, but I kinda had, in the back of my mind, the idea that Blondies were some type of cookie.  Then, the other day, I saw this photo of Raspberry Pecan Blondies and decided to check it out.  I'm not going to embarrass myself further and tell you how long it took me to figure out that Blondies are basically Brownies without the chocolate, but I decided to give them a try.  Here's the results:

The ingredients.  Had to purchase Nutmeg.  And fresh raspberries.  I also have a new bag of flour.  I wonder how much flour I've gone through so far this year?  And butter?  I'd probably scare myself if I went back through the recipes and figured that one out! 

Let's get started.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Set aside.  That little 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg sure has a strong scent. 

Next step.  In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  See, this is one of those specific instructions:  'with an electric mixer'.  In this day and age is anyone going to mix these by hand?  I don't think so.  Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition.  **I figure you've seen enough pictures of beating butter and sugar since it's one of the first steps to every single recipe so I'm going with something a little different today.  This is something my Mom taught me a few weeks ago.  Something I'd never thought about before.  She was making something (I don't remember what) and cracked open a 'bad' egg (I won't go into details like she did when telling me, let's just say ick).  Luckily she had cracked it into a small bowl before adding it to whatever she was making so she was able to dispose of the egg and continuing on instead of starting all over with fresh ingredients.  So there's my photo of a cracked egg.  In a purple bowl.  Nice colors.

Final step.  Add vanilla and lemon zest.  I didn't feel like zesting a lemon so I left that part out.  Add dry ingredients and beat just until combined.  Stir in pecans.  Pecans.  I ran out of pecans after the last thing I made that called for pecans.  That was several weeks ago.  So, of course, when I added them to my shopping list this week the store (large, nationwide retailer) was out of pecans.  Is there a pecan shortage somewhere?  Are there a lot of Memorial Day recipes that use pecans?  Did the store move the pecans but leave all the other packaged nuts in the same place?  (Doesn't it drive you  crazy when stores move things around for no obvious reason?)  I tried a sister store of the first (same company, different location) and found pecan halves but not pecan pieces.  Maybe it's a company-wide distribution problem, but now it's my problem.  Now I have to chop the pecan halves into pecan pieces.  I'll stop now.  That was my pecan rant.   

Taste test.  Spread dough into pan.  Sprinkle raspberries over top of dough.  I thought this was a little strange that the raspberries weren't more in the middle, but they are kinda squishy.  Probably wouldn't be easy to mix them in with the thick batter. 

I can still smell the nutmeg.  They're pretty good.  I think I might like them better without the raspberries and with chocolate chips.  Or butterscotch chips.  Or just with the pecans.  Or walnuts.  So  many options.  Guess I know why there are so many Blondie recipes on the Internet.  You can probably put just about anything in these. 

The clean up.  I used a 9x9 inch pan so I cut 9 pieces.  The original recipe used the Baker's Edge pan which is 12x9x2.  Have you ever used a Baker's Edge pan?  It's a genius idea.  I put one in my Amazon wishlist. 

Next week, I'm heading down south for Father's Day.  Probably my last trip there for a while.  I have the recipe picked out.  It scares me. 

Till next time

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