Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rosemary Blondies

My friend Debbie threw an elaborate wedding shower last weekend and I helped her out in the kitchen with just a few of the many dishes she prepared. We've been getting together with another friend and baking/cooking every couple weeks or so and it's been super fun, if a little chaotic for this uni-tasker. :-) This was a recipe that I mixed up the batter for and let me tell you...so not figure friendly...but...SOOOO GOOD!!! The addition of rosemary was amazing. I skimped a little on the 2.5 Tbs, just because it sure seemed like a lot (I think I ended up with 2.25 Tbs). Each blondie was topped with a piped dollop of chocolate ganache, but I wasn't there for that step. Really not necessary in my opinion, but then I didn't try them with their over the top topping. May I remain blissfully ignorant, because these sweeties were just perfect in all their nakedness. Even the Monster, who eschews the pecan, enjoyed the heck out of 'em.

Rosemary Blondies:
(Cookie Swap)

Makes ~4 dozen 1 1/2" squares

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups (that's 2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
1 cup premium milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips (semi)

Read your recipe all the way through, so you won't measure the flour into a stand mixer instead of a food processor like I did. :-)

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350.
Line a 10x15x1 inch jelly-roll pan with foil, leaving a 1 inch overhang around the top edge of the pan. Smooth out any big wrinkles in the foil and then lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine the flour, rosemary, baking powder and salt together in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
Process until the rosemary is reduced to very small pieces. (If the rosemary isn't chopped before going into the processor, it will be harder to finely grind). Set aside for use in step 4.

3. Place the butter in a med. (3-qt) saucepan over low heat. Once the butter has fully melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, mixing until smooth. (Don't be surprised if the butter and sugar do not completely come together at this point; some separation is normal). Cool a few minutes and then add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.

4. Stir in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture, whisking all the while to keep the batter lump-free.
Cool before stirring in the pecans and chocolate chips, otherwise the chocolate chips will melt.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan and level with a small offset spatula. The batter will be less than 1 inch thick, but it will rise to the top of the pan.

5. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs on it and the brownie is just starting to pull away from the sides, about 22 to 24 minutes. Loosen the sides with a knife then cool completely in the pan.

Once cool, place pan in the freezer for ~30 minutes to facilitate cutting.
Remove from freezer and transfer to a large cutting board. Remove foil, then trim off uneven edges before cutting into 1 1/2" squares.

Optional Indulgence....a piped dollop of chocolate ganache on top of each!

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