Every once in a while, I pry myself off of the recipes on my pin board at Pinterest and go back to my baking books. I've fallen out of the habit of using them, probably because it's been easier to make the pinned recipes since they come with pictures. Then the guilt at not using what I already have lining my bookshelves kicks in and I go hunting through them for a recipe to make.
My cousin Miriam (Yammy) was in town with her husband and kids and we were meeting up before they were due to fly back home. Yammy's favorite flavor combination is white chocolate and macadamias. I've made cookies for her before but this time I decided to try these blondies from Lora Brody. I've made multiple versions of white chocolate macadamia blondies and brownies before but I thought these would be a little different because of the espresso in them. I didn't necessarily want something espresso-flavored but I was curious how that flavor combination would pan out.
It actually worked pretty well. I don't drink coffee or espresso but I don't mind baked goods flavored with them. The espresso in these was somewhat subtle. They weren't in-your-face flavor but rather served to provide a nice undertone and cut some of the sweetness from the brown sugar and white chocolate. If I didn't know it had espresso in it, I might not have been able to tell what it was right off the bat.
The blondies don't look very baked in the pictures but that's what you want. If they come out looking "done" and cakey, they're overbaked. You don't want to underbake a non-chocolate blondie too much or it'll be too mushy but you don't want to over-bake it either as blondies become dry more easily without the fudgy effect of chocolate in the batter. For additional flavor, toast (and cool) the macadamia nuts slightly before adding them to the batter.
White chocolate and macadamia nut blondies
From Chocolate American Style by Lora Brody
Unsalted butter and flour for preparing the pan
8 ounces white chocolate, divided
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (6 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or granules *optional, may substitute decaf espresso
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
1 cup (4 ounces) macadamia nuts, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. with the rack in the center position. Line an 8-inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Coarsely chop 4 ounces of the chocolate. Melt it in a medium metal bowl set over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. Chop the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate in pieces, no larger than 1/2-inch square. Set aside.
3. Sift the flour and salt into a small bowl. Set aside. Place the butter, brown sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer on high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and scrape in the melted chocolate; mix until well combined. With the mixer still on low, mix in the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chopped chocolate and the nuts. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned, the blondies have begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and let the blondies cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Use the foil to help you lift the blondies from the pan to a cutting board. Cut the blondies into 9 bars. When they are completely cool, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.