"As stupid and vicious as men are this is a lovely day"
I love this season. It is cold now. There is deep russet colours in the trees and just few daliahs left blossoming in the garden. There is hand holding and scratchy beard kisses. The blankets come down from the closet, fires are lit and there is ample energy found to bake and create. There are plans to be made, hats to be crocheted, black coffee to de drunk, wood smoke to be inhaled, cats to be snuggled and boots to be worn. This kind of joy that you can find in a season, in the every day, elevates the mundane. The memories I am cultivating now, I hope, will satiate my restless nature. Escapism at it's finest. That desire to run, move and seek out newness and change, the ferocity by which it held me by the throat all through summer has eased (although it will be reborn in late Spring). Right now my head still aches with all the thoughts I can't quite grasp hold of. Concentration is skittered and scattered. But I don't feel like sleeping as much at the moment and I am easier within myself.
I have noticed now with the cooler weather that just about everything I make has coffee incorporated into it in some way. A subconscious act. Coffee is by far, one of my most favourite ingredients to work with, especially when baking the sweet stuff. It evokes a heady cacophony of memories and nostalgia, particularly for this time of year. Memories of frozen New Zealand mornings as a student, black coffee in hand whilst frying eggs for breakfast and humming along with the vinyl on the record player or listening to my housemates fiddle with a guitar or some lyric. I used to think I was so cool, man. Memories of hapless attempts at trying to start a morning routine and establish some semblance of a functional adult life. Ha! Still working on that concept.Memories of breathing in woodsmoke off the linen and sheltering arms while shadows loomed long and the air got sharp in our lungs It reminds me of my father, who needs his espresso to be strong and black, almost burnt, and my mother who needs it to be hot with silky frothed milk bleeding into it. Coffee brings with it a comfort, both to the then and the now.
I am having a love affair with brown butter blondies this year. I bake more of them than cookies and brownies combined. But only my favourites end up here. These are my new favourite upon favourite, bestest blondie ever. They have a classic crackled blondie crust, a complex nutty flavour from the browned butter and the required pockets of melty chocolate but they are elevated by the warmth of the cardamom and the bitterness of the coffee. Rich and decadent but not overly sweet
BROWN BUTTER, Cardamom & Coffee BLONDIES
For the Blondies:
- 120 grams/ ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup raw sugar
- 1 large free range egg
- 2 Tbsp strongly brewed espresso
- 1 cup flour
- 2 heaping teaspoons ground cardamom
- pinch of salt
- ¾ cups white chocolate chips
- 50 grams dark chocolate, melted
For the Brown Butter Blondies:
- Grease and line with baking paper a 20 cm/ 8-inch square cake pan. Preheat the oven to 180 (C) / 375 (F)
- In a medium, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, melt the butter. The butter should be taken off the heat when it starts turning a brown colour and emitting a nutty aroma. Cool slightly.
- Beat together the butter and both sugars until smooth. Whisk in the egg and coffee until well incorporated.
- Sift flour, cardamom and salt into the butter mixture, Fold in gently until just combined. Fold in gently the white chocolate chips.
- Pour the blondie batter into the prepared baking pan. Make sure the top is smooth and even.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cover the tin with foil if the white chocolate is browning too quickly. The edges should be a lovely golden brown. Don't worry too much if the middle is still a little wobbly - they will set more as they cool. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the blondies while they cool. Once cooled completely cut into squares and enjoy!