Baking For Others: Lotus-Necklace Blondies and White-Out Cake
EVENT: Necklace Return; Writing Group
TYPE: Repentance; Using Repentance’s Leftovers
GOODS BAKED: Lotus-Necklace Blondies, Writing Group White-Out Cake
Like any good older sibling, I enjoy borrowing my sister Kate’s possessions with or without her permission and holding on to them far longer than sanctioned (if, of course, sanctioned to begin with).
She has this necklace that I covet—a gold chain with little lotus leaves dangling off it—and, being the generous individual she is, she lent it to me for six months. The only problem was that when those six months were up, she wanted it back and I had very little desire to return it. So I kept it on tight, in spite of her near-constant nagging. Still, eventually, my shaky moral ground gave way completely, and I unhooked it and gave it back. Since I wasn’t about to apologize out loud, I baked what atonement I could muster into a batch of blondies and sent them along too. In the spirit of the necklace, I’ve named them Lotus Blondies
The inspiration for the particular cashew-white chocolate combination didn’t come from any of Kate’s favorite tastes, though. It really came from the fact that I had an entire container of roasted cashews sitting in my fridge. I wondered: Would they mesh with the blondie flavor? I asked Google, and Martha Stewart responded: indeed she had made a cashew blondie before! In her version, she’d also used white chocolate chips, so I duly plugged the flavor combo into my trusted recipe. Lotus Blondies were born.
And being the resourceful baker I am, I used the other half of the chocolate chip bag in a crazy-sweet modification of one of my go-to simple cakes—the yogurt cake from the Chocolate & Zucchini blog. I added coconut, making it white on white. Like the white-out I’d use after writing group critiques if I lived before the era of the DELETE key…
From my kitchen, where baked goods absolve guilt, to yours
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
1 package light brown sugar (2 1/2 cups)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cashews, chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan. Use a smaller baking pan for thicker blondies–just bake a bit longer.
Combine the brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and combined and the whole mixture just begins to bubble. Remove and let come to room temperature. This will take about 20 minutes; speed it up in the fridge if need be.
When the butter and sugar have cooled, beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, salt, nuts, and chips, and fold together. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes, until the top has gotten slightly puffed and crusty. Cool, and cut into small rectangles.
Makes 1 loaf pan
I started making this cake while I was living abroad in Paris. I’d read about it on Chocolate & Zucchini (the author is French), and I was delighted by how you could measure the flour, oil, and sugar in empty yogurt containers once you’d put mixed the yogurt in.
Since then, I’ve been consistently amazed by how flexible this recipe really is. I’ve substituted applesauce for the oil, nuts for some of the flour, used extra yogurt and fewer eggs or skimped on the yogurt and added surplus eggs. I’ve baked it in all the wrong-sized pans. Yet it is unstoppable. It’s sort of a sturdy cake, not all gooey like a banana bread, but it always comes out of the oven to rave, rave reviews.
1 cup of yogurt (I used 3/4 cup strained Greek 2% and 1/4 cup non-fat)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vodka (optional)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut