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As I mentioned in my last post, starting today I am doing a month long baking marathon, Monday to Saturday taking a break on Sundays. The only criteria that has to be met for this baking marathon is that all the baking/cooking has to be done in the oven. There are no sub themes and to make it more interesting, I self-imposed 4 theme. I divided my bakes into 4 categories. First and last week I will be posting under miscellaneous category, as we blog only 4 days in these two weeks. The other three weeks I will be posting 6 bakes of same theme each week.
For the first day of miscellaneous bakes, I have blondies. Blondie or blonde brownie is similar to a brownie, with vanilla flavor. Unlike brownies, blondies do not have cocoa as an ingredient but chocolate chips can be added.
Today’s recipe is from Barefoot Contessa. Her recipes are very rich and I could not get myself to make the full recipe. I made half the recipe and I loved it. That day my kitchen weighing scale batteries died and I made an approximate guess to convert ounces to cup measure for chocolate chunks. I ended up adding more chocolate chunks than required and it was a little chocolatey. Being a chocoholic, that did not bother me though. In the recipe I will mention how much is required and how much I used. I made half the original recipe and baked it in 8 x 8 square baking dish.
Photography Corner: From now on, once in a while I will have this photography section where I will write about how I took the photos. I was not planning on doing this section when I clicked my pictures. I was surprised and pretty satisfied at how these blondie photos came out and wanted to share how I clicked them. Unfortunately I do not have behind the scene setup pictures for these photos.
I always avoided taking food pictures on gloomy days until few months ago. Even now I am a little intimidated to take pictures when there is not enough natural light. I made these blondies in the evening and could not take pictures as there wasn’t enough natural light. I had planned on taking pictures that Saturday morning and was disappointed to wake up to a gloomy and rainy day. I cancelled my plan and was getting ready to meet Mir & Pavani for a Vegan Food Festival in the city. When I walked into my guest room, that is where I click most of my picture, I noticed there was enough natural light to take pictures and immediately setup the shoot. I quickly took some pictures and ended up going 15-20 minutes late for the event. 🙁
Since it was gloomy, I decided to use dark background. I used gray background, black bouncer/reflector on left, a black backdrop and a dark color blocker on the right (12 – 3 o’ clock or the first quadrant of the frame) to block the light behind the plate of blondies. The source of light was from the window to the right of the setup. As a photographer, we also need to pick the best pictures of the lot. I liked both the pictures of stack of blondies that I shared here. Both the pictures were shot with the same setting except the shutter speed. One is lighter and the other is darker. You might not even notice much difference if you just glance. I would have picked the darker picture (the second stack of blondies pic) if I was doing a moody shot and the lighter one (the first stack of blondies) if I wanted a more warmer feel. Since I could not make up my mind on which picture to use for this post, I decided to write this section and use both the images. 🙂
Source: Food Network
Total Time: 38 – 45 minutes
Preparation: 10 – 15 minutes
Bake Time: 28 – 30 minutes
Yields: 16 – 20 pieces (varies on the size of the blondie)
- 1 stick ( ¼ lb.) unsalted Butter at room temperature
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 extra-large Egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- ½ tsp. Kosher Salt (I used regular salt)
- ¾ cup chopped Walnuts
- ½ + 1/8 lb. (1 ½ cups) Semisweet Chocolate Chunks (I used 1 ¾ cups chocolate chunks and used Nestle brand)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
- Grease and flour dust the baking pan.
- In a bowl mix together flour, salt and baking soda.
- In a large bowl cream together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, for about 3 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in egg and vanilla one at a time.
- At low speed, mix in flour mixture.
- Fold in chopped walnuts and chocolate chunks.
- Spread the batter into prepared baking pan, smooth the top and bake for 28-30 minutes in the middle rack. A toothpick inserted may not come out clean and that is ok.
- Cool completely in the pan and cut into bars of desired size and store in an airtight container. My blondies stayed fresh for 2-3 days at room temperature.
- I used 1 ¾ cups of chocolate chunks and the blondies were very chocolatey. I liked it but everyone might not like so much chocolate. Use 1 ½ cups, about 5/8 lb as the recipe called for. One can also see how chocolatey my blondies are in the pictures. It was difficult cutting them into squares and can see my blondies are of various shapes and sizes.
- Temperatures vary from oven to oven and the baking time may vary as well. Use the given baking time as an approximate time the first time you bake the blondies ti figure out the baking time.
This day in 2014:Hyderabad Haleem