Thursday, January 22, 2009

Four-Day Weekend Blondies

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It's like a Friday afternoon. Only better, because it's three fifteen and I've been home for FOUR hours. Granted, my mom thinks I should be medicated and on the couch knocked out by Nyquil, but I'm full of energy. Sniffly, yes, but energetic. And with hands that have been washed far too many times today.

But that's what let's me bake. Well, I guess not exactly, but it's how I keep from worrying about killing anyone. Or at least giving them a cold. If I feel a sneeze coming, I run out of the kitchen. So far, this plan is working. I hope.

Today I baked with levkar for the first time. And the brownies turned out surprisingly moist, not unlike butter-laden brownies.

But this is not that recipe. Oh no, far from it. This is a recipe that I think Paula Deen might approve of. Actually, probably not, because it only has one stick of butter, and no nuts. And there are dried kumquats! The kumquats are optional, because I'm not sure where you would find them, other than crazy shops in Chinatown with a variety of dried/preserved fruits to sample and choose from. There were at least three kinds of kumquats, varying in salty sweet tartness. I'm sure dried apricots could be nice, though the recipe didn't originally have any dried fruit, it was just a suggestion at the end of the recipe for modifications (which also included crystallized ginger, adding extracts, nuts, etc.)

Time on my four-day weekend is ticking away, so I think I'll cut to the chase:

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Blondies (with kumquats!)
Adapted from Cream Cheese Blondies in Bruce Weinstein's The Ultimate Brownie Book, p.124
makes 24 2x2" blondies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 large egg yolk, at room temp
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 ounces dried kumquats, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ยบF. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil (optional) and butter. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed (or, I'd recommend a stand mixer, my hand mixer wheezed a bit at the beginning) until the sugars have dissolved and the mixture is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. (Weinstein recommends 8, but 4 seemed to be fine.)
Add the eggs one at a time, allowing the first to be incorporated before adding the second. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla.

With a spoon or spatula, stir in the chocolate chips and chopped kumquats (if using). Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated. Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading gently to corners.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is light brown and toothpick or tester comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Set the pan on a rack to cool for at least 30 minutes.

Cut blondies into 24 pieces. Serve immediately or let cool completely before storing. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

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