Sometimes in life, we get so caught up in the desire to make things more exciting, more electrifying, more exhilarating that we forget about the simple things. It’s like how Mooncake Festival is just around the corner and over the years, mooncakes have evolved from being the traditional baked pastries filled with lotus paste and sometimes with salted egg yolks and/or lotus seeds, into snow skinned mooncakes loaded with chocolate truffle, durian paste, alcohol-infused fillings. They’re all exciting in their own way, but when we get tired of the overwhelming variety of flavours that can begin to tire our tastebuds, all we want is to go back to basics, back to the humble, plain but comforting traditional mooncake.

Funny I talk about mooncakes because I’m really not a fan of mooncakes, both the traditional brown-skinned baked ones and the snow-skinned ones. I guess for me though, it goes for anything. I tend to always go for the ‘Original’ because I think that it HAS to be good in order for it to spawn other variants over time. For example, a rich, creamy slice of New York Cheesecake, a wobbly custard filled Egg Tart, a perfectly fudgy Brownie… If they ain’t broke, why fix them?!

And so, I was brought back to baking a simple Vanilla Blondie speckled with Chocolate Chips because some days, we don’t feel like having anything complicated; some days we want plain and simple.

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Like the other weekend when I met with one of my best girlfriends for brunch.

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We went to Clinton Street Bakery where I went for the Plain White Omelette with Spinach and Mushrooms, a side of Potato Hash and Sourdough Bread. Myeah… It was a little disappointing because it wasn’t seasoned enough, or filled with much filling BUT what I did enjoy was the beautiful simplicity of my friendship with Les. We caught up on all sorts and shared our thoughts on certain issues the other is facing. Our friendship has been an uncomplicated one from the beginning and that’s what I love about it. We can share our joys and woes totally drama-free, and voice our genuine thoughts to each other without feeling judged.

Something else that turned out plain and simple was the basic skill of learning to cook a good loin of pork. I’ve never quite tackled cooking pork (stir-fried sliced pork doesn’t count; nor does shabu-shabu pork) before, but managed to pick up a rather good looking piece that I thought Flo might appreciate with a side of mash and red wine mushrooms with onions.
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Turns out, a perfectly pink pork tenderloin only requires good seasoning, followed by a good sear, before going into the oven for a good roasting of approx 6-8 min – longer if your tenderloin is on the heftier side. Turn it over once inside the oven and let it rest a good 5-10min once out of the oven. Voila! A happy man with a happy tummy!

But of course, my reason for being here is to share with you a straight-forward recipe that will fill your home with the sweet aroma of caramel and vanilla in no time. They’re a little chewy from the bread flour, and a little healthier from the wholewheat flour, but these blondies are oh-so-very addictive even before going into the oven. Yep! I know I shouldn’t have but I had to lick some of the batter that somehow managed to splatter onto my face, right by my mouth!

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Chocolate Chip Blondies (Yields 1 8×8″ Square)

113g Butter, Melted and Cooled
175g Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 Egg Yolk
10g Golden Syrup
1/4 tsp Vanilla
1/8 tsp Sea Salt
65g Wholewheat Flour
65g Bread Flour
150g Chocolate Chips (use chocolate chunks for that extra oomph if you like!)

Flakey Sea Salt, to Sprinkle on top

  1. Preheat oven to 175deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin.
  2. Whisk butter and brown sugar together until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add in egg, egg yolk, golden syrup and vanilla, and blend well together. 
  4. Mix in both flours and salt into the mixture until just incorporated.
  5. Fold in 120g of chocolate chips and pour batter into prepared tin. 
  6. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and flakey sea salt on top. Gently press the chocolate chips into the batter just so they don’t fall off after baking. 
  7. Bake for 15-18min before removing to cool.

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The crinkly tops are a sure sign of a winning Blondie formula. You might want to spike them with a bit of rum just to keep them away from tiny hands! Speaking of which, I just managed to perfect a recipe for Paleo-friendly, Gluten-Free Rum Blondies that uses coconut flour and coconut sugar, so if you want to start every day on a high, or go to sleep soundly each night, then sit tight and you’ll soon know how to whip up a beautiful batch of your own for any time! But first, THESE BLONDIES!!!! 

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