Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Dreams & S'mores Blondies

Good morning!  Hi!  This morning I was left thinking about dreams.  Not the ones that you have at night or during that mid-afternoon nap (anyone else love a good nap?), but the ones you daydream about.  The ones that you think I wish I could do this or in the future someday maybe...  Spending loads of time at home looking up quotes to write on the sidewalk in front of my house and baking over the past nearly 5 months has left me dreaming of the future.  Dreaming not only about travel, seeing large groups of friends all at once, or even finally planning an event like normal again, but the future I thought I wanted years ago and think I might still want. 

You see about a year or two out of college, actually about the time I started this blog, I started saving money for my dream.  Not for a rainy day, not for travel to faraway places, not for a house (although this is where that money ended up going), but to open a bakery.  I just find such pure JOY in baking for others.  Even when I have been on my feet for hours; even when I have forgotten to eat, and Charles has to get me to sit down and take a break; I just love the look on someone’s face when they take a bite and think this is delicious!  It’s the same high I get when I get to do wedding planning.  I might have been on my feet for hours on end but seeing a bride and groom truly happy is like no other feeling.

Lately the dreams have been more specific... There is a building I would love to turn into a bakery in downtown Richmond...it's actually an old service station.  I want to have indoor and outdoor seating, where people can just come hangout.  I want to have space to teach kids baking and decorating classes after school, for free.  I want to have fun plates that don't match, loads of cake stands, and local artist's art covering the walls.  I want a space where everyone feels welcome, that's warm and inviting, and lit by whisk lights.  A spot where you want to come catch-up with friends, or even just do a little work over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.  One day maybe, one day hopefully?!?  For now, I will just keep trying out recipes here and keep dancing in my kitchen while I do it.  

These blondies are something, I haven't been able to stop making over the past 6 months.  I am obsessed because a) they are easy, b) I love a slightly underdone blondie and c) you don't notice the heath in these, but you would notice it if it wasn't there.  Any who, give these a try, I promise they won't disappoint, and if I ever do open a bakery, these will definitely be on the menu.

You can never have too many chocolate chips or Heath pieces right?

Sometimes I can get in the mood where there isn't much better than a toasted marshmallow.

S'mores Blondies:
1 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup Heath pieces
1 cup mini marshmallows

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spray the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, and then line the bottom and two sides with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides allows you to easily lift the bars out of the pan when cool.  Set aside.

2.  Whisk the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, cornstarch and salt together in a large bowl, set aside.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain.  Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.  The mixture will be thick.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together until combined. The dough will be very soft, yet thick.  Fold in the chocolate chips and Heath.  The chips may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter but do your best to combine them.

4.  Transfer dough to the prepared baking pan and press/smooth into an even layer.  I do this using a spatula, and often use binder clips to clip the parchment paper to the pan.  Then remove before baking.

5.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides, and toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, and top evenly with the marshmallows.  Using a kitchen torch (creme brûlée's torch) and a lid as a fan, toast the marshmallows; using the lid to put out the marshmallows if they fully catch on fire.  Or VERY, VERY carefully put the blondies back in the oven, with the oven on broil, and leave the door open and watch as they toast.  (DO NOT LEAVE THESE UNATTENDED...learn from my mistakes. lol)  

6.  Allow the bars to cool in the pan set on a wire rack for at least 30 to 45 minutes. Once relatively cool, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.  Enjoy!

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