For my birthday, a food-loving friend gave me a cookbook – Donna Hay’s The New Easy. My friend is from Australia, and so is Ms. Hay, so it was a special gift. At first glance, the clean photos make the food appear fancy. You really have to look at the recipes to realize they’re not that complicated. One thing I really like about the The New Easy cookbook is the full page photos. But, associated with that, is the fact that the photos don’t appear beside the recipe, so you have to consciously look for the photo associated with the recipe. Other than some odd ingredients I have yet to use myself, I’d say that most of recipes are pretty straight forward and uncomplicated. In the first two weeks of owning the book I made 2 recipes – Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownies (what I’m calling Blondies) and Baked Pancetta and Parmesan Chicken. I’ll review both in separate posts.
Jay’s not a huge fan of cookies, don’t ask me why… I really don’t understand! So, I figured I’d bake some brownies, or blondies, in this case. I don’t know why the recipe calls them brownies – brownies should be brown! I’m really not an experienced baker, so every time I bake something I’m impressed with myself. I’ll get over it. I haven’t used parchment very much except for cooking, so I gave it a shot, just to keep the dish easy to clean. It worked pretty well, but it was awkward to keep in the dish while I poured in the batter.
For the caramel sauce or dulce de leche required by the recipe I kept it simple and used Carnation’s dulce de leche. It’s sold alongside the sweetened condensed milk. I’ve heard of people boiling cans of sweetened condensed milk to turn it into dulce de leche, but I don’t see the need now that they sell it. I had some leftover dulce de leche so I’m looking for another recipe to use it in. Any suggestions?
These blondies come out with a nice golden top. The parchment paper was a definite bonus – it was easy to clean the dish and it was easy to pull the blondies out of the dish so I could nicely slice and serve them.
I was too excited to try the blondies so I didn’t wait for them to cool down. I was too quick to pull the blondies out of the pan and cracked the top. Boo. I highly recommend waiting until the blondies are cooled off before pulling them out of the pan.
The blondies are really good warm and straight out of the oven, but I didn’t overcook them, so they were nice and moist the next day and the day after in our lunches. I chose not to use the salt in the ‘salted caramel chocolate brownies’ and just kept it simple. They were perfectly yummy without it!
Caramel Chocolate Blondies
Makes 16 squares
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup store-bought caramel filling or dulce de leche
2 teaspoons vanilla
150 g unsalted butter, melted
150 g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the eggs, caramel, vanilla and butter and whisk until smooth. Stir in the chocolate and spoon the mixture into a 20 cm (8 in) square cake pan lined with non-stick baking paper. Sprinkle with the sea salt and bake for 40-45 minutes or until just firm around the edges. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold.
Recipe copied from: Page 154 of Donna’s Hay’s The New Easy Cookbook