It’s been a while since I used Rye in my baking and since Aunty Aud sweetly bought some fresh pecans and walnuts for me before Chinese New Year, I thought to bake up some Rye Brownies with Pecans.

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Pecan nuts cost a pretty penny here in Singapore so I usually use walnuts although granted, their flavour profiles differ with pecans leaning towards the sweeter side, and walnuts, the more bitter side, in my opinion at least. Still, walnuts generally make a good substitute for pecan nuts in terms of texture and crunch.

I have this tendency to like squirrelling away ‘expensive’ ingredients because I never know when I’ll get hold on them again. Recently though, I realise that not using them is as good as wasting them because they lose quality with time. So rather than wait it out until these nuts expire, I decided that I best start using them so that they were not harvested for nothing.

I baked these brownies just before things got crazy hectic before the lead up to Chinese New Year week. Things with the new cafe are a bit more settled now and while my strawberry shortcakes are a bit touch and go during the delivery process, they seem more or less happy with my cakes.

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I’ve been using these beautiful Korean strawberries that are slim and less red compared to the American ones but I find that they pack a lot more sweetness in them than they appear to. The more bulbous strawberries more commonly found in the US and Europe tend to carry a lot of water and little flavour. Singapore usually gets the best of both strawberry worlds depending on the time of year it is.

I also had some private orders for Ginger Cookies that my parents insist to be my signature bake amongst their friends. It’s one of those things I hate to love to bake.

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Hate to love in the sense that I always dread the thought of baking them because the process in my head feels so tedious but once I get started, I enjoy it.

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I remember one Chinese New Year churning out nearly 80 bottles of these. Until now, the thought of it still strikes fear within me but it’s nice to know how well-received they are. It’s one of those cookies that you either love or hate and for the ginger lovers out there, I guarantee you there’s no stopping at one!

Similarly, I found it difficult to stop at one bite with the flavour of these Salted Rye and Pecan Brownies that kept me yearning for more. The hint of sea salt, the richness of chocolate, the sweet toastiness of the pecans, the overall fudginess…

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I sent some of them away with Amanda the day she came to pick up her colleague’s birthday cake and within a couple of hours, she texted to say that she shared them with her office and someone wanted to place an order for an entire batch. It was an utterly pleasant surprise since I made these brownies purely for pleasure, but of course, I gladly obliged.

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Two weeks later, I baked a fresh batch for Amanda’s colleague and found out the next evening during Flo’s and my housewarming that they were on their way to China, where her colleague is from, to be shared with her family.

Salted Rye and Pecan Brownies (Yields 1 8×8″ Square)

200g Dark Chocolate
150g Butter
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
150g Coconut Sugar
3 Eggs
65g Rye Flour
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
100g Chopped Pecans, divided into 25g and 75g
Sea Salt, to sprinkle on top

  1.  Preheat oven to 170 deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin. 
  2. In a bain marie, melt dark chocolate with butter and stir together. 
  3. Stir in sea salt and sugar. 
  4. Whisk in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. 
  5. Fold in rye flour and baking powder until just combined.
  6. Fold in 75g of chopped pecans and pour batter into baking tin.
  7. Sprinkle more sea salt on top and top with 25g of chopped pecans, gently pressing them into the batter.
  8. Bake for 18-20min until just set. Allow to cool before removing from tin to slice. 

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The thought of having people overseas try my bakes is slightly mind boggling. A couple weeks ago, Mum forwarded me a text from a church aunty who’d ordered and brought a bottle of my Ginger Cookies to Mexico for a missions fellowship, or something along those lines. One of the ladies she shared them with brought a couple home to her 80+year old mother who’s suffering from colon cancer. She went on to tell Aunty KA “I wish you could have seen her expression when she took the first bite – she loved them! The best ginger cookies she ever ate!”, and to pass the message on to me. I wish I could have been there but simply knowing that the cookies were well appreciated made my heart swell.

It sometimes feels as though baking creates a connection between people who eat my bakes and myself. When I learn of some of their stories, I cannot help but feel like I know them, or like my heart knows them if that makes any sense. I heard that Aunty KA will be heading back to Mexico once more in June so I’ve already noted down in my calendar to bake a bottle of ginger cookies for this grandma just because I want to. In the meantime, may she continue to trust God for her life daily and continue to bravely fight this cancer with hope and faith.

 

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