Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to school Blondies

The end of summer is near, and today, the clouds are rolling in. Stella looks at the clock: 1:00 pm. In the summer months, baking in the heat of the afternoon was done only when necessary, but now as the weather is quickly turning more autumnal, a fresh warm batch of baking can be seen with increasing regularity on the counter after lunch.

School is starting up in a few days for Stella's girls, and they have, if the truth be told, very mixed feelings about returning to the school routine. "Mommy," Kendra had asked wistfully this morning, "remember, how you always make us Walnut Blondies in the fall?" Stella decides to make a batch of the rich, buttery squares covered in a thin layer of white chocolate and sprinkled with walnuts, in an effort to cheer everyone up, including those parents and children that come in for a break from back-to-school shopping. Saying goodbye to the carefree, happy days of summer seems bittersweet, but as ever, the march of the seasons waits for no one.

Stella thinks about what soups to offer for tomorrow's menu. Soup, always her biggest seller, is the best way to warm a day with a fall nip in the air. She decides Carrot Ginger soup, and Corn Chowder will fit the bill with the freshest in-season ingredients. Stay tuned!

Walnut Blondies  - adapted by Emma from The Hawthorn Series 'simply delicious slices'
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped almonds (or pecans)

150 grams white chocolate, chopped (I used 200 grams for a thicker layer of chocolate)
1/4 cup cream (or milk)
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 8 x 8 inch pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving the paper hanging over the sides.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cream the sugars, butter and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy. ( an electric mixer works best) Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour with a large metal spoon and gently stir in the walnuts. Spread the mixture into the tin.

3. Bake for 30 minutes till golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave the tin for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

4. To make the icing, place the chocolate and cream in a small bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, cool slightly then spread over the cooled blondies. Sprinkle with walnuts and you're done!

Writing by Emma and Rebecca, photos by Emma. Happy Labour Day Weekend, friends!


  1. Carrot ginger and honey soup is one of my favourites and one I've not made in ages. Thanks for reminding me!

    Have a good weekend you guys.

    1. Carrot soup is Emma's favourite, so I make it often. I was away one morning last week and came home to a version she had made for lunch. That's what reminded me! Enjoy your soup and your weekend, Al.

      I've never had it with honey, though...intrigued!

  2. These look so good - I love white chocolate!

    1. We agree! And the slight bitterness of the walnuts works well with the sometimes oversweet richness of the white chocolate.