Sunday Supper, Part 3: Vanilla Bean BlondiesPosted: October 7, 2011 | |
Part 3 of my Sunday Supper was a special dessert made with a very special ingredient.
Why do people think vanilla is boring and bland? It’s actually a pretty rich flavor. And as much as I love chocolate, vanilla is right up there as one of my favorites. Imagine a soft serve twist without it’s vanilla counterpart. Or practically any baked good without a teaspoon of vanilla. They just wouldn’t taste nearly as good.
Which is why when a friend gave me some REAL vanilla beans I got really excited. I was already planning on making blondies for my Sunday supper — you know, they’re like brownies except lighter and cookie-r — so I replaced the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in this recipe with 4 vanilla beans. (A quick Internet search told me that 2 beans equal 1 teaspoon of extract.)
What was really cool is that once I mixed the vanilla bean paste into the dough, the entire thing got that speckled look of vanilla bean ice cream. Plus, if you can make cookies you can make these blondies. Instead of dropping the dough into mounds on a cookie sheet, pour it into a baking dish and then cut them like brownies after the bake.
Vanilla Bean Blondies
– 4 vanilla beans (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
– 2 cups of flour
– 1 teaspoon of baking soda
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 1 cup of brown sugar
– ½ cup of sugar
– 2 large eggs, at room temperature
– ½ cup of chopped walnuts
– 1 package of semisweet chocolate chunks
– Vanilla bean ice cream (optional)
Heat your oven to 350º.
Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 12 baking dish (or similar) and set aside.
Using a paring knife, carefully split the vanilla beans open, scrape out the insides and place into a small ramekin.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla bean paste. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until well combined. Using a rubber spatula or spoon, fold in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chunks.
Pour the batter into the greased dish and smooth out the top. Bake for 30 minutes. Do not over-bake! Let it cool completely in the dish and then cut into bars.
These blondies are just like big, square cookies. Chocolatey, crispy, buttery. And when heated in the oven and topped with vanilla bean ice cream (and chocolate syrup), they’re absolutely the best way to end a Sunday supper.