I miss summer dearly. The cooler weather has made me a little more antisocial, choosing to spend my time at home inhaling the steaming vapours of fragrant curries, or spreading my freezing hands over the hot oven while my muffins rise and bake. As a result of this, I haven’t visited any new restaurants or cafes in the last two weeks, and so this week you get two recipes… I know a fair few of you who will love this!
These Date & Walnut Blondies comes from Phillippa’s Home Baking; but before you even think that these blondies may be more tame due to them lacking chocolate, think again. You start off the recipe making a ridiculously sweet butterscotch out of butter and brown sugar – creating a rich caramelisation that binds the walnuts and chopped dates so well. Phillippa says that these are divine chopped up into bite-size pieces with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a juicy plump pink fig, but as we’re in winter, let’s go for her other option of having it with a classic chocolate sauce 😉
You will need:
- 125 butter;
- 130g brown sugar;
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste;
- 125g walnuts;
- 1 egg, lightly beaten;
- 160g chopped dates;
- 125g self-raising flour;
- pinch of salt.
For the chocolate sauce:
- 75g good-quality cocoa powder;
- 1+1/2 tablespoons golden syrup;
- 120ml water;
- 375g brown sugar;
- 125ml thickened cream;
- 1/2 teaspoon salt;
- 50g butter;
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.
Place the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and melt, stirring over a low-medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then set aside until cool enough to touch.
Meanwhile, chop half of the walnuts into medium-fine pieces. Reserve the remaining walnuts to decorate the top of the slice.
Add the egg to the butter mixture in the pan and mix well. Stir in the chopped dates and chopped walnuts, then fold in the flour and salt.
Pour the batter into the tin and spread out the thick mixture evenly with the back of a spoon. Decorate the top with the remaining walnuts, then bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden blonde on top. Allow to cool completely in the tin, then transfer to a cutting board and cut into 16 pieces or so.
The blondes will keep in an airtight container for several weeks…if they last.
To make the chocolate sauce, place the cocoa, golden syrup, water, sugar, milk and salt in a small saucepan. Simmer over a low to medium heat, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes or until thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and then quickly beat in the butter and vanilla.
To serve, heat up a blondie ’til warm, then add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and top with the chocolate sauce.
Store the chocolate sauce in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a month. It’s also very good stirred into a glass of milk for a iced or hot chocolate 😉