Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sweet Treat of the Week

I never really wanted to repeat myself this summer. I didn't want to repeat recipe elements (except for chocolate because that's one element that never gets old) or recipe types. I wanted to keep things different and fresh each week. No matter how hard I try, I find myself drawn to certain recipes and I just can't seem to resist making them. That's why I made Peach-Blueberry Galette one week and made Blueberry-Almond Crumble Bars just two weeks later.

Recently I discovered a wonderful recipe at Use Real Butter. URB, is an excellent blog for many reasons. It's quite well written and entertaining. The photography is splendid. Then there is the FOOD. Every recipe and photo looks and sounds exquisite (even the stuff I don't eat looks great). Jen is talented on many fronts. Of course like many of my favorite blogs, the name drew me in. Shouldn't we all use real butter?

The recipe that made me decide that repeating myself if a good thing is her Pistachio Chocolate Chip Blondies. I have made a recipe with pistachios before (repeat of recipe element), and I have also recently made blondies (repeat of recipe type). Still, I could not resist these. Pistachio nuts, chocolate, crispy bits, and lots of sugar and butter are always an irresistible combination.

I hit one slight snag in making these.

Whole Foods carries pistachios already out of the shell - if you're willing to pay for them. (To be fair I can also get them at Trader Joe's for less money, but they're out of the way for me.) I've been having a lean week financially and really need to limit my shopping to my neighborhood A&P. They only carry the nuts in the shells. I had to spend a little time getting the shells off the nuts. That's not an easy task. Doing the actual shelling is easy, but not eating the nuts as I pull them from the shells is not. After I shelled them, I put them in a sieve and shook them for a while to get all of that excess salt off. We were good to go.

The recipe was super-easy to mix up. I think I had the batter together in 10 minutes. This recipe scores a 10 for ease.

I was a little concerned about how little batter there was. The ratio of batter/bits seemed a bit low. I was afraid my blondies would be too thin, especially since the only leavening was a single egg. Would my blondies be substantial? The recipe did include instructions on how to double it. Had I been smart I would have done so, but that would have meant more chips, more nuts, more butter, and more money spent.

Well, they were pretty substantial. They were full of yummy chocolate and the nut flavors were awesome (great idea to use the almond extract along with the vanilla). I made the mistake of underbaking them a bit. I was so paranoid about the "crunchy edge" problem I had with the last blondies that I made that I took them out a little soon. Better underbaked than overbaked though.

Another little glitch is that Rice Krispies don't stay crispy in milk, nor do they stay crispy in blondies. These were a little chewy. While these tasted awesome, the cereal lost them a few points for texture.

The real flaw in this recipe? There weren't enough of them! I am totally doubling the recipe the next time I make these! They disappeared almost as soon as I brought them to the office.


Dee said...

Lost points? I think not. Chocolates and nuts always get top score.

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

I'm too lazy to look at the original recipe but maybe neext time the rice crisps can be put in last, so the wet ingredients don't penetrate them and make them chewy? You did say you underbaked these guys, so maybe a few more min would have rendered them crispy?

I dunno.

Lo said...

Not sure there is such a thing as a bad blondie, my dear!

... and what's wrong with chewy?

noble pig said...

What a great idea for a blondie, thanks for putting this out there!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Lo and Dee - Nothing wrong with chewy (and never anything wrong with nuts and chocolate), but Rice Krispies stuck in your teeth isn't a fun thing.

Nikki - YOu may be right on both counts. I read the blog entry a while back and didn't re read it when I copied the recipe to use. There may have been some useful advice I forgot about. I would definitely like to make these again, so I will take it all into consideration.

Emiline said...

I underbake stuff a lot. I hardly EVER overbake. I'm someone that enjoys raw cookie dough though.

The photography is amazing on URB. I want her camera!