Friday, November 4, 2011

Nutty, Fruity, or Just a Blonde?

When it comes to flavour combinations, I'm (on occasion) new and bold in my cooking. I like to think that adding sliced bananas to the bottom of my strawberry-rhubarb pie and using honey, dates, wheat germ and Grand Marnier in my blueberry pie were pretty original! Then there's the rest of the time - more or less standard bills of fare come out to play - regardless of their overall application process. Garlic and tomatoes almost always pair together, just like my penchant for adding a touch of nutmeg to cream sauces and cinnamon to apple pie.

Well, I'm certainly not original this time, in either my ingredient selections or their application! Like my well-recieved thumprint cookies, I went the route of recreating a sandwich favourite - but I opted to make jam-swirled, banana-laced almond butter blondies instead of drop cookies. The reason was twofold - one, it was something different (and therefore bloggable!) and I was purely and completely lazy. Bar cookies, brownies and blondies included, are generally faster to put together and get in the oven than drop cookies (and certainly rolled or slice n' bakes), and with only one bowl and pan to wash I got out of the dish duty faster too. Easy and fast as these are, they're still delicious in every sense: a delicate balance of cakey and dense, buttery but not overly rich, with a delicate fruity sweetness from the banana that's the perfect balance against the tart jam. I would not suggest making these with a standard, sugary jam or jelly - if you don't have homemade on hand, make sure you use a high-ratio fruit preserve (ideally 100%) like Polaner or St. Dalfour, or the lines called "Simply Fruit" (Smuckers) and "Just Fruit" (Crofters) in a naturally tart flavour like grape, blueberry or black currant. But really, next year when fruit's in season? Make your own. Easiest, cheapest, most delicious toast / oatmeal / yogurt / ice cream / cake / etc. topping around.

Meanwhile, bake up a batch of bars, tuck them into your lunch, and hide them from the kids - they'll polish off the pan!


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Better Lunchbox Blondies
Makes 1 9" pan, 16 pieces
2.8 oz butter, softened
5.3 oz almond butter
1 tbsp honey
4 oz soft light brown sugar
2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbsp vanilla
1 ½ cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup 100% fruit jam (I used homemade)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F and line a 9” square pan with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, almond butter, honey, brown sugar, mashed bananas and vanilla.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder and gently mix in by hand.
  4. Spread in the pan and dollop with spoonfuls of jam. Gently swirl in with a knife.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool in the tin before removing and cutting into squares
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 236.6
Total Fat: 13.6 g
Cholesterol: 10.8 mg
Sodium: 34.1 mg
Total Carbs: 30.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 4.0 g

1 comment :

michele said...

I use St. DaFlour orange jam and a family member makes fresh jam whenever she can.