Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Dark Muscovado Blondies with Salted Caramel Chips (50% less sugar)

Children's Day is just around the corner and I have been busy with a number of things. But this will be the last Children's Day that my elder kid is celebrating (how time flies!) so I am making it a point to squeeze in time to make something for my kids to share with their classmates and friends. What can a mama come up with that can be done in a single day (bake, pack and wash up) for approximately 80 kids that will likely be a hit for majority of kids? And bear in mind, doing this on top of cooking and housework and making sure hubby has my attention too.

I could have gone back to making fresh cream scones like I did for three consecutive years but then I remembered a baking experiment that hubby did a few months ago. He isn't a baker but had the urge to bake something simple and yummy to snack on so he made some blondies. I remember reaching for them when I was hungry because they are irresistible. If you don't know what Blondies are, they are similar to Brownies except that it's the non chocolate version.

Another reason why I settled on Blondies is because it is non chocolatey (some kids can't take chocolate or don't like chocolate, like my younger kid) and nuts are an optional item in it (nut allergy concerns for some kids) . It is strong in flavour and I make it a point to make it not too sweet as well. The original recipe that hubby adapted from contained double the amount of sugar that we used. You may refer to this blog post for the original recipe that I adapted from.

Due to the significant reduction in sugar, I baked the blondies in a smaller pan than what was recommended in the original recipe. I also baked the blondies in three 7x7" baking trays in three rounds of baking to produce 81 5x5cm squares of goodness. Some math is involved in determining exactly how many pans, rounds of baking and ingredients I need, which was why I set my planning for this bake as a math question for my younger kid to help me out.

This recipe is very much scalable and you can increase it based on number of eggs. A 1 egg portion yields 9 blondies for a 7x7" baking tray.

Recipe for blondies
Ingredients (makes nine 5-5.5cm blondies) :
110g dark muscovado sugar (or any brown sugar but the richer the sugar flavour, the more flavour your baked goods will have)
112g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp caramel essence (optional but adds to the fragrance and flavour)
128g plain flour (use cake flour if you prefer a more tender bite)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
30-50g salted caramel chips *

* you may replace with butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, walnuts, pecans, or a combination of the above according to your preference.

1. Preheat oven to 175°C, set oven rack to middle position. Line the baking tray with parchment paper at the base and sides.

2. Whisk together sugar, salt and melted butter.

3. Add egg, vanilla extract and caramel essence. Whisk until a thick homogenous mixture is formed.

4. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Fold into wet mixture in a few additions using a spatula until just combined.

5. Fold in salted caramel chips or other goodies of your choice.

6. Pour into prepared tray and bake for 20-30min or until skewer comes out clean. Cool completely on cooling rack before slicing.

I needed to weigh out each portion to bake since I bake three 7x7" trays at a time in my oven. 

I trimmed off the sides of the freshly baked blondie before slicing into 5-5.5cm slices

My elder kid couldn't resist helping me with the mixing of ingredients because "Ma, that looks fun".... Compared to studying for the last paper for his exams 😂.

And because it is Children's day, I decided to add some colour to the bake by using a glaze and rainbow sprinkles. Here is the recipe for the glaze. You may scale up or down easily. Original recipe that is shared on multiple websites use water but you may use milk or in my case, I used some lemon juice. I also added caramel essence to it. This glaze hardens and dries pretty quickly when exposed to air. You can add as little or as much glaze as you like, or omit it all together. I just drizzled a little glaze on the sliced blondies and scattered rainbow sprinkles on top before letting it air dry for about 20 min.

Recipe for sugar glaze
1 cup confectioners sugar (icing sugar with some cornstarch/cornflour already added)
1 tbs light corn syrup
1 tbs water
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp caramel essence

Combine all of the above together and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. Cover mixing bowl with cling wrap if not using it immediately. Stir again just before use.

Store baked goods in airtight condition at cool room temperature for a few days. You may freeze it for longer storage and toast it before serving.

Blessed Children's Day to all the kids!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing