One thing I miss about college is the proximity of friends and the ability to text during class to meet for lunch in an hour. I took for granted my flexible schedule and being able to hang out with friends every day even if going out just meant sneaking in snacks and coffee into the library to cram for midterms together. Fortunately, when we scattered after graduation, many of my friends ended up in the same general area of California as me so I can still see them on occasion. This past weekend a few of us were free for lunch so we decided to grab food in the city.
Deciding where to eat is a difficult task for three indecisive girls–especially in a hub of delicious eateries. Somehow it usually gets pushed to me to make a decision, possibly because I am terrible at the “nose game,” but today my friend took charge and decided on Burma Superstar. I hadn’t eaten there before but I had heard only good things about the food. Judging from the spicy aromas clouding the entryway and the apparent but bearable line of people awaiting tables, it was a good choice (and worth the wait!). We decided on three entrees–a soup, a salad, and a tofu eggplant dish–and shared them. All three were delicious and though the crowded restaurant was bustling, we managed to catch up between mouthfuls of eggplant curry.
Not wanting to show up empty-handed, I made blondies to bring to my friend’s apartment. I baked a lot during college. It was a good way to de-stress and bringing cookies to study groups generally resulted in friendship…or bewildered looks when I showed up with a truckload of tupperware containers. I was searching for a recipe that would be low-key and called for ingredients that I had on hand. Lucky for my friends and me, Joy’s Brittle and Jam Blonde Brownies fit the bill. Chewy and tasting slightly of caramel, they are everything that a blondie should be. The swirls of jam take them up a notch but don’t make them overly sweet. It’s a delicate line with blondies and sweetness, but I think these have just the right amount. Even after our three course meal, we still had room for a few blondies!
Jam Studded Blondies
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup of packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of jam (I used Crofter’s superfruit spread in the North America variety–it was really tasty!)
Prep: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and then butter/flour the parchment paper–these extra steps have a huge payoff after baking because the blondies come out of the pan easily and the cleanup is cake!
Start off by mixing the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Then melt the butter in a medium sized pot on the stove. Add the brown sugar to the melted butter and mix to combine. Allow the butter/sugar mixture to cool before adding in the egg and vanilla–and then mix those into the batter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just incorporated then pour into your prepared pan. Add the jam to the top of the batter in three dollops and use a knife to swirl in, then bake for approximately 20-23 minutes. The top should be a golden brown and the edges will pull away from the pan slightly when the blondies are done. I also used the toothpick method to check that the center was fully baked. Allow to cool in the pan on a rack–slice and enjoy!
Recipe from Joy the Baker