What shall I make this weekend…Cake or biscuits? Pie or tart? Delicate mini meringues or generous billowing pavlova?Such are the decisions faced by baking bloggers. Flavours are another decision to be made – nuts, fruit, spices, citrus, white chocolate, dark chocolate? Well, worry and dither no more as my bake today solves this last decision. Phew. ;) Instead of having to choose between sweet white chocolate blondies or classic, rich dark chocolate brownies – combine the two. Even better, combine the two using heart-shaped cut-outs. Why? Just because you can, because its cute, because it’s nearly Valentine’s Day and because these are my entry to English Mum’s Valentines Day Baked With Love Bakeoff.
I have embraced Valentine’s baking before but I didn’t last year so it felt good to be back with all things heart shaped, although I drew the line at pink or glitter this year. I’ve had this recipe from Smitten Kitchen bookmarked for a year, but this was finally the excuse I needed to bake them. I’ve tried blondies before but it’s always really hard to find a good recipe that lets the white chocolate shine, so I was keen to give this recipe a go. As I was making them I wasn’t convinced there was enough chocolate involved (you can never have too much!) so I added chocolate chunks as well and it was definitely worth it – they added bursts of chocolate flavour and caramelised slightly which was delicious. Both the brownie and blondie recipes worked very well, particularly the brownie which stayed really moist and fudgy. Some of my blondies ended up being a bit small for the heart cutter, so I used my smallest circle instead. It was quite a delicate process swapping the brownie circle centres as they were so moist, and it was definitely easier with the bigger hearts. Overall though they turned out really well – quite the treat! The combination of blondie and brownie at once was intriguing as the two chocolates worked really well together. I know the amounts in the recipe are a bit strange, (the recipe was converted from American measurements and then halved) but if you have a digital scale then it should be no problem. It makes a small batch of 12 finished combined brownies as well, so if you’re feeding a crowd definitely double it. I’ve just put the amounts once, so just switch the chocolate after you’ve made the first batch. I’m thinking these could work with any other cut-out shape for other times of year: pumpkin cutters at Halloween, Christmas trees at Christmas etc etc. For now, embrace the slightly cheesy aspect of this idea, and enjoy!
Blondie and Brownie Hearts, adapted from Smitten Kitchen
80g chopped white chocolate, split into 45g and 35g
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
smidge of salt
40g plain flour
1. Preheat the oven to 180’C. Line a 8x8inch square tin. You will not fill the whole tin, so screw up some tin foil and place it in the tin to prevent the brownie mixture eventually spreading into a thin layer across the whole pan.
2.Melt the 43g of white chocolate and butter together in a bowl, over a saucepan of boiling water.
3. Take off the heat and whisk in the sugar (the mixture will look like it really wont work at this stage – carry on!). Whisk in the egg and vanilla and then finally fold in the flour, salt and remaining 57g of white chocolate chunks.
4. Pour the mixture into the tin, and bake for 15 minutes. Cut the brownies into six even squares (judge the sizes compared to your cutter – ensure there will be a decent border around the cut-out) and leave to cool. Use a heart cutter to cut a heart out of the centre of each brownie.
5. Repeat the whole recipe from step 1, but using dark chocolate throughout instead of white chocolate.
5. Put blondie hearts in brownie gaps and vice versa. Embrace the cute factor and enjoy!