Fashion week has come to a close in New York and in London, but we’re still in the thick of the season you guys! Paris is up next! (PS if you’re wondering all about what fashion week is, check out these hilarious GIFs from The New York Times) I love being able to open up photos and slideshows from my favorite designers, though I’m obviously anxiously awaiting Chanel’s show. My favorite part may be seeing Grace Coddington sitting front row next to Anna Wintour sketching away. If you get all of these references, we need to be best friends ASAP. Ok enough nerding out on fashion. Except for some photos of my favorite looks so far!
In other life news, Penn State football is here, as is tailgating. So obviously snacks, beer, and bedazzled koozies are littering my kitchen and fridge. The weather is finally starting to turn chilly, so I get to let my jackets out to breathe! Of course it’s still sunny and 70⁰F at midday, so I occasionally regret the choices I make in the morning. And I’m rearranging things a bit trying to juggle TA responsibilities, research, classes, sorority advising, blogging etc. I enjoy being busy, but coffee has sure become my best friend this semester!
No matter what is going on in your life right now, you deserve a yummy blondie. I’m sure your study groups and/or tailgating friends will appreciate it! However, I can’t speak for those models… (You knew I had to bring it all back around somehow, right?!)
Alright for real now. Onto the blondies.
This blondie features caramelized (or blonde) white chocolate. Do you see how perfect those two go together? Caramelized white chocolate has recently become the internet baby of kitchen secrets. Last year, I couldn’t browse through Twitter or Pinterest without stumbling upon caramelized white chocolate recipes. It was only a matter of time until I figured out just why it was so special.
White chocolate is made up primarily of sugar, milk, and cocoa butter. When heated, the cocoa butter begins to melt while a couple of things happen to the sugar. The sugar begins to break down and caramelize creating that darkened brown color and more complex sweetness. It gets even better with the milk. The heat, proteins, and sugars in the milk will also cause browning, but in a second browning reaction: Maillard browning! Maillard browning is that magical reaction that causes the browning and flavors of toast or hamburgers, and caramelization is the wonderful creator of your favorite Werther’s candies. Both of these will create that gorgeous deep color as well as the intense flavor that you’ll find all over caramelized white chocolate. We’ve just changed a drab, monotone candy into a yummy treat that goes well in any baked good…or any spoon!
Most caramelized white chocolate recipes require a rather expensive and gourmet white chocolate. These have a higher cocoa butter percentage which makes it easier to slowly roast. I don’t know about you, but I need a cheaper and easier alternative. I used Ghirardelli (which I consider still pretty good!) and added some heavy cream, and voila! You’ve got yourself caramelize white chocolate. And a pretty amazing pan of blondies (or “bars” if you want to get really Midwestern).
Caramelized White Chocolate
Adapted from David Lebovitz
11 ounces white chocolate (either chopped or 1 bag of chips)
¼-⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
Salt (preferably sea salt or fleur de sal)
1. Preheat your oven to 250⁰F. Spread the white chocolate out onto a baking sheet (no parchment)
2. Heat your white chocolate for ten minutes in the preheated oven. Take the baking sheet out and spread the white chocolate out with a spatula. Put the baking sheet back in the oven and heat for 30-45 minutes, spreading and mixing with a spatula every 5-7 minutes.
3. The chocolate with be kind of chunky and unpleasant looking because there is not a ton of cocoa butter in store brand white chocolate. Just be patient and stir as needed.
4. When the white chocolate turns a deeper brown, you’ll know it’s done. Give it a final stir and set aside, turning the oven up if you’re going to make the blondies!
5. Scrape the white chocolate into a bowl if you have an immersion blender or a stand blender. Add the heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time, while pulsing the blender until the mixture turns silky smooth. Put a few pinches of sea salt or fleur de salt into the mixture and stir to combine.
6. Store for up to several months, preferably in the fridge to keep it a stable texture. Reheat gently before using again.
Salted Caramelized White Chocolate Blondies
Barely adapted from Glazed & Confused
12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 ½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup melted, caramelized white chocolate
½-1 teaspoon large grain sea salt or fleur de sal
1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Prepare a 9×9 baking pan with butter/flour or cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugar until combined using a whisk. Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract followed by the flour, salt, and baking powder.
3. Gently fold in the caramelized white chocolate, careful not to overmix! Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
4. Spread out with a rubber spatula and top with pinches of fleur de sal. I like a lot to balance out all of the sugar, but feel free to hold back!
5. Bake the blondies for 20-25 minutes or until fully baked through, but not overbaked. I like to take them out when it looks crinkled on the edges and the rest of the pan is starting to lift up.
6. Cool, cut into pieces, and serve!