Excerpted from "The Brownie Diaries" by Leah Hyslop. Reproduced by permission of Bloomsbury.
First day on the job blondies
chai latte spices, milk chocolate puddles
There are three golden rules for starting a new job: iron your clothes, turn up on time and bring a home-made treat to sweeten up your colleagues.
Made by creaming butter with sugar, rather than the more conventional butter-melting method, these are a slightly cakier blondie, robust enough to survive the journey to the office. They’re not too sweet, are gently spiced and should provide ample conversation material near the water cooler.
150g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
100g unsalted butter, softened, chopped into rough cubes, plus extra for greasing
130g light brown soft sugar
50g demerara sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed with a pestle and mortar
¼ teaspoon salt
80g pecans, roughly chopped
80–100g milk chocolate, roughly chopped into large shards (triangles look good)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 20cm square tin with a little butter and line with baking parchment.
Melt 100g of the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water (alternatively, microwave in 20-second blasts, stirring in-between, until melted). Set aside to cool slightly.
Put the butter and both sugars in a large bowl, and beat together for a few minutes, ideally using a handheld electric whisk, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, adding a little at a time, until combined. Add the cooled melted white chocolate and beat briefly to combine.
Sift in the flour, spices and salt, and use a spatula or large metal spoon to gently fold in. Mix in the pecans and the remaining 50g white chocolate chunks.
Transfer the mixture to the lined tin. Place the milk chocolate shards on top of the blondie. Bake until set on top and nicely golden – around 25–30 minutes (I usually take them out at the point when you shake the tin and they don’t have much jiggle). Leave to cool before slicing.