July 29, 2010

Simply Chewy, Simply Chunky, Simply Blondies!

Since I last blogged here about a week ago, life has been pretty terribly interesting for me. When I say “terribly,” I mean it. It’s been terrible. I feel fatigued after working overtime to catch up with assignments in the past couple of days. And, that’s not it.

After a swollen pink eye, I was bugged by an achy tooth. Double whammy! A few hours ago, I was still sitting at the clinic – diligently waiting to have my tooth extracted. It’s gone. But, I’m feeling the pain as the anesthetic is worn off. Luckily, I’m on medical leave. I do have to say, though, that this post was painstakingly composed. Haha!

I brought something to read along while waiting for my turn in the clinic’s reception area. Suddenly, I heard the bawling of a kid coming from the dentist’s room. I wondered to myself, “Why hadn’t you come to see the dentist and have the goddamn tooth removed earlier!?”

I realized that one of my greatest fears has to do with dentists and anything related to them. This faulty tooth had been bugging me for a few years actually; however, I was reluctant to see these people professionals. And so, the long delay. (Because of the phobia fear!?) This time around, I promised myself to get rid of the problem once and for all. What amazed me was I stayed pretty calm. Now that I also know my teeth are worth a million! The money spent on my tooth can buy me a round-trip bus ticket to and fro Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Haha! Seems like I’ll have more dates with Ms. Dentist over the next few years -- when my wisdom teeth start to grow and force their way out. (I still lack the wisdom needed to be a grown-up. Haha!)

I realized one more thing: Having a tooth extracted is something a foodie will never, ever look forward to. I’m forced to ground myself to a toddler’s diet by taking soft, mushy and runny foods. No strenuous workout. Minimal talking too, verbally. *Sob*

Anyway, this post has come a little awkward. As you know, I’m a slow (and long-winded) blogger. Though I was trained to be a journalist, I could never seem to blog about all my bakes and dishes in a timely fashion. (I have months of backlogs to clear, slowly. Haha!) This week, though, I have to make it an exception.

Bars (or bar cookies) were unheard of in my world until I began my 3-year stint in America. I was so naïve that I didn’t know brownies are bars till then. (The brownies I grew up eating were cakey, which were very untypical American. That was why I misplaced brownies under the Lethally Chocolaty Cake category at the back of my brain. *LOL*) When I was in the States, besides lemon bars and fudgy brownies (yet to blog about), one of the first few bars I was introduced to were no other than blondies.

I had my first blondies during the Christmas of 2008. (Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas equate long bake-a-thon! Miss it!) The bars were made by my family friends for the cookie swap at their family’s annual Christmas gathering. (The Lockes and the Mathews, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for the invitation!) Based on what I can recall, blondies have to be chewy, soft, SWEET and give you that deep butterscotch flavor.

Just this Sunday, I made blondies to satisfy my cravings. I have two blondie recipes to choose from. To justify the money spent, I decided to go with the recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours.” Honestly, this book has been put to pretty good use. But, I have yet to blog about my other bakes from the book. And, these blondies aren't the first recipe I've tried out from the book. *LOL*

I decided to blog about the blondies in a timely manner because I just discovered that Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD) bakers also made these bars for this week’s assignment. It was a pure accident! Thought it’d be fun to join TWD just this once. I wonder if there’ll be another pure coincidence again ...

Anyway, money wasn’t the only deciding factor. Greenspan named hers “Chewy, Chunky Blondies.” “Chewy” and “chunky” really caught my attention. I’d been meaning to replicate these bars, but something had gotten my way. I couldn’t find butterscotch chips and Heath toffee bits in Malaysia! (Or I didn’t look hard enough!?) Frankly, I’m not a big fan of butterscotch chips; however, I don’t mind using them in my foods. If I could choose, I’d prefer peanut butter chips to butterscotch ones, anytime. (Can’t find those here either!) I guess I really took these ingredients for granted when I was still in the States.

After a visit to the clinic (for my pink eye) last week, I went to pick up a few items at the local supermarket with my mom. As I swooshed past the confectionery aisle, something grabbed a hold of me from the corner of my eye: Andes Toffee Crunch Thins! I excitedly said to myself, “It's blondies time!” Yes, these make good substitute!

Pardon me for the horrible shots of these blondies. I photographed them just before going off to work this Monday morning as it’d been raining nonstop from Sunday afternoon till early that morning. Do bear in mind, though, blondie recipes are easy to execute. Not time-consuming whatsoever. It’s just that I was also making some good ol’ potato bread at the same time; therefore, I was a bit slow in getting the foods photographed toward the end of the day. Yet to blog about these delectably soft rolls. We shall see when that happens. Haha!

I referred to my other blondie recipe and altered Dorie’s a wee bit by reducing the sugars and adding in a tablespoon of molasses and light corn syrup each. (Light corn syrup is labeled as “liquid glucose” outside of the States.) I know the sugars are there to give the bars that chewiness, but I couldn’t bear witnessing myself dumping that much sugar into my bake! In addition to that, I used fresh grated coconut in mine. In Malaysia, we don’t have sweetened flaked coconut. And, I don’t look forward to using that actually. Nothing beats fresh coconut flavor!

Result? Blondies that are equally chewy as the ones I had in the States – except these are REALLY chunky. With each bite, I get a little surprise here and there. I love the chunks of chocolate, toffee bits and walnuts within! The downside is these bars are a tad too greasy to my liking. Or did I do something wrong!? No doubt, though, mine don’t look exactly like the ones in the book. After looking at other TWD bakers’ blondies, I feel better. At least, mine aren’t the only ones that turned out darker. Haha! Mine still taste like blondies, except chunkier.

My cravings have been fixed. My only complaint now is since the loss of a tooth this morning, I’m having a hard time chewing on the bars, which are still sitting on the dining table. How I wish I can share some of them with all you sweet-toothed!

Chewy, Chunky Blondies
Adapted from "Baking: From My Home to Yours," by Dorie Greenspan & "Joy of Cooking: Christmas Cookies," by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker

220 g all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

227 g unsalted butter -- softened at room temperature

300 g light brown sugar
* I used 220 g. *
115 g granulated sugar
* I used 100 g. *

1 Tbsp molasses
* Not blackstrap molasses! *
1 Tbsp light corn syrup (liquid glucose)

2 large eggs -- at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

170 g bittersweet chocolate -- chopped into bits / semisweet chocolate chips
170 g butterscotch chips / Heath Toffee Bits
* I used coarsely chopped Andes Toffee Crunch Thins. The candy comes in 132 grams per box; therefore, I only used that much. *
75~100 g sweetened shredded coconut
* I used fresh grated one. *
113 g walnuts
* To toast the walnuts, bake them at 150°C for 13~15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let them cool completely before use. Coarsely chop cooled walnuts; set aside. *
  1. Grease a 9x13-inch pan and set aside for use later.
    * I used a slightly smaller pan, which is around 8"x12". And, I lined it with parchment instead. *
  2. Whisk (A) together and sift once; set aside for use later.
    * I sifted mine, which was additional, to break up all the big and small lumps and to REALLY ensure that the ingredients are well distributed throughout the flour mixture. *
  3. Cream the butter on medium speed till smooth and creamy, then add in (B) and beat for 3 minutes or till well incorporated. Mix in (C) quick to just combine.
  4. Add in the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Then, mix in the vanilla extract to blend well.
  5. Reduce to the speed on the hand/stand mixer to low, blend in the flour mixture till the the flour mixture has just disappeared into the batter. Now, do this by hand and with help from a rubber spatula, stir in (D) to evenly distribute them throughout the batter.
  6. Scrape the batter from your mixing bowl and into the prepared pan. With a rubber spatula, smooth out the top of the batter to ensure an even surface as best you can.
  7. Bake at 160°C for 40 minutes or till test done, i.e. the knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of the blondies. The blondies should pull away from the sides of the pan slightly and the top gives a nice honey-brown color.
  8. Remove the blondies from the oven; transfer the whole pan to the cooling rack to let cool completely before cutting to serve and/or store airtight.


Swee San said...

I always thought blondies are brownies made with white chocolate, hence the creamy colour instead of normal brownies colour.

Which tooth did you extract. If you go to the government's clinic, it's only RM 2. Private, its RM 50. The difference is you have to wait for the cheaper one. Wisdom tooth extraction is different tho. hehe.

Enjoy Singapore ya... remember to buy the matcha kit kat from Meidi-ya in Liang Court!!

Eat cold stuffs, reduces the pain quicker. And get well soon :)

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Sweetie, you sangat jahat lar ... LOL! It's still pain-pain lor ... T_T ... I can foresee I'm gonna spend more on dental care. It's a must, no choice. Health is important, too. No lar, don't want govt. hospitals. I'd rather survive my dentist appointments than to die in the wards. LOL! I'm actually nervous about my wisdom teeth ... Sangat takut! =S

No, no! Blondies are basically chewy chocolate chip cookie batter made into the form of a bar. Higher brown sugar content, too, I suppose.

I told you to come with me liao ... Never mind, maybe we can invade Ipoh & Wendy's together. LOL! I'll try look out for special KitKat. Regret didn't buy any at Narita Airport when I was there a year ago. T_T Hopefully, I won't go bankrupt in SG ... LOL!

Yea, I told you I'm now basically eating toddler's food liao ... Has to be cold, too. I hope I can get over with the pain soon!!! Thank you for your concern! Hope to see you soon! =)

Piggy said...

Hope that the pain from tooth extraction will wear off soon!

Your blondies look great! Sweetened flake coconut is too sweet for me and so I think it's a great idea to use freshly grated coconut instead. Oh, my blondies are greasy too and I thought that only mine turned out that way! ;-)

Angie's Recipes said...

Oh poor you...you sure you could finish these blondies without a problem since you just visited your dentist?
I hate to visit doctors...any kind...I usually made an appointment, then when the came, I canceled it. Just can't stand it..
Get well soon, dear.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

@Grace: Thank you for the kind words. I, too, hope I can get over with the pain soon. Yea, that's why I don't care about using sweetened flaked coconut. Too sweet for me, and it's got that funny medicine taste on my taste buds, just like what imitation vanilla does to me. But then, these have lower moisture content when compared to fresh ones. Haha! Good! At least now I know my blondies aren't the only weirdo around. Yours were also greasy! Btw, I've always admired your food photography and styling since my college days. Keep it up! =)

@Angie: You're always so sweet and being so supportive! Well, I don't mind visiting GPs if there's a need. Of course, visiting the doctor doesn't indicate good sign. Who likes it!? Of all, I hate visiting dentists the most! The sound of "drilling" and whatnot gimme goosebumps! Actually, I can't finish the blondies. How? LOL!

pigpigscorner said...

oh man, I had my wisdom tooth extracted when I went back to Malaysia. My mouth was swollen for a week and I couldn't eat anything! My worst holiday ever! take care.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

i hate to see a dentist, feel very scary when sitting and open big mouth, no " Xing Xiang" at all, hehehe..you should send some blondies over to me since you can't finish it..hahaha..take care ya.

Allie said...

Wow, these look scrumptious! I've never tried making blondies before as I thought I'd prefer their ultra chocolatey brownie cousins instead. But looking at your description makes me wanna try them out too...I'm bookmarking this recipe!

A Thrifty Mrs said...

Great blog, found it via flickr.
Youch re the tooth. I had my wisdom teeth out, so I feel your pain.

Going to give the blondies ago over the weekend. Thanks for sharing.

Jessie Hearty Bakes said...

*hugs* Wishing you speedy recovery PeiLin.
Your blondies look mouth-watering! I just love your potato bread, looks petite and lovely!

homeladychef said...

Haha..Pei-lin, I am sure your round-trip-from-KL-to-Singapore's money is well spent!! I had my tooth extracted years ago, had an infection right after, scared to see dentist from then onwards. I hope you have a better experience than I did this time round, make sure you rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouth wash, eat the antibiotic on time (if any).

Oh.. Do you want some Matcha Kit Kat? I can pass some to you when we meet. You can enjoy them asap if you still have some teeth left by that time!! ><

Swee San said...

Sometimes public clinics are okay. Well I pulled out 4 teeth in there and i survived!! :D

I also wanna go SG but but but not so soon k.. next round :)I'm saving up to go Sydney next year, so .. yeah..

oh btw, there's Reese's peanut butter chips and butterscotch chips in village grocer (saw them in Bangsar Village) and we do also have coconut flakes here :)

TeaLady said...

Great job on the blondies. They were good weren't they.

Su-yin said...

What's the second photo? It looks like potato bread... I must be going mad.

I hate dentists too, like I honestly hate the whole idea of it. Unfortunately my teeth are rubbish so I have contributed a fair amount to my dentist. I really like her though, as she gives excellent analgesia. Topical before the needle as well, lol. Thankfully I don't have any wisdom teeth (and none were seen on the OPG) so fingers crossed they'll never make an appearance!

Do take care! x

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Dearie, you OK now? For what it's worth, it's my turn later today ... to see the dentist, that is! :) I've never tried making blondies, maybe because the chewiness doesn't appeal to me. Those buns, on the other hand, ah ... now we're talkin'!

Nicole said...

Well, what a happy accident and I am so glad you baked along with Tuesdays with Dorie this week.

I have to go to the dentist tomorrow, not my favorite thing. I have been seeing the same dentist since I was 4, so it's not like I don't know him.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Poor thing you... Tooth extraction is never fun. Hope the pain goes away soon. Btw, have not make blondies before, always preferred to make brownies instead.... I am way too much a chocolate person. :P Hmmm.....chewy and sweet...sounds like a good curb for sweet tooth though. Might just give this a go. Nice pictures! Hey, any updates about the coming gathering? Still on rite?

Happy Homebaker said...

Pei Lin, hope you are feeling better today! I have always thought blondies are 'white brownies' ;)

edith said...

I hate dentist visit. In fact I am paranoid about it. At least you are much more brave than me.

I have the same thoughts as Sweet San about blondies. LOLz. Guess I learnt something new today. thanks.

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Thank you so, so much for the kind words! Have a splendid weekend!!

@Anne: Dear, sorry to hear that ... I'd also think that was the worst vacation ever. When we were supposed to enjoy, we ended up suffering ... LOL! Oops! Thanks for your kind words! =)

@Sonia: LOL! Haha! There are many of us who don't like seeing these guys ... But hey, they earn a lot! Maybe your sons can consider pursuing a career in this field! It's lucrative! Too bad, my sciences and math suck ... =( OK, I tell Mr. Postman to send some over to Klang for you. LOL! Still got 6 slices left. I belanja my colleague a slice today. Surprisingly, he thought it isn't too sweet. =) Btw, what's "xing xiang" ar? Hokkien is it? I tak faham Hokkien lar ...

@Allie: Hehe! Yay! This time I inspired you to make blondies! OK, it's reciprocal. You inspired me to try Brrrrr-ownies. Thank goodness you did 'coz they were SOOO good! Hope I can blog about them soon. Will see when my mood strikes ... LOL! I don't really associate blondies with brownies, honestly. There's only one thing in common between them, which is they are all bars. LOL! Hope to see yours up on your blog soon!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Thank you so, so much for the kind words! Have a splendid weekend!!

@Thrifty Mrs.: Hello! Thank you for dropping by! You've made my day! Please blog about your blondies. I'll check them out whenever they're up and running on your site! =) Btw, love your writing! Love your sense of humor! Hope I can be just as outstanding as you're someday. Too bad, English is my second language. Still have room for improvement. LOL!

@Jessie: Arigato! Do you have such potato bread in Singapore? It was a rage years ago in Malaysia. Now, it's sold everywhere.

@Esther: When I read your comment yesterday night, I couldn't stop laughing. LOL! I try to remember to take antibiotic on time, been very forgetful ... Must be a sign of ageing. LOL! Yea, gargling too ... Thanks so much for the advice. I'll bear in mind. I don't wanna end up with infection! SCARY! Did I tell you, KitKat of matcha, azuki bean, sakura flavors are on my shopping list, too. My matcha-loving mom, bro and I are eager to give them a shot. I regret not buying any at Narita Airport last year. I'll DM you via Twitter about this. I wonder if I even have sufficient time to shop there. LOL!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Thank you so, so much for the kind words! Have a splendid weekend!!

@Swee San: Glad to hear that! I doubt I'll go to public ones. Don't like to wait. I'm pretty impatient and impulsive actually. =P I know ... Obviously you miss Sydney a lot lor ... Always talking about Oz ... LOL! Noted! Will tell my sales colleagues to help me check the items out from Village Grocer since they drop by that place so often! I hardly go to Bangsar lar, not my territory ...

@Margaret: Howdy! Thank you so much for the feedback! They are good! Actually, they'd be even better if only they aren't that greasy. For me, still acceptable. =)

@Su-yin: Why did the potato bread make you go mad!? LOL! You like this type of sweet, potato bread too? Boy, my childhood fave! That was why I made them since I craved for them too. LOL! Well, actually my dentist also did quite well too. Considering I'm not complaining anything about her althought I paid a lot for just this one tooth to be extracted. Lucky you! I wonder when will my wisdom teeth force their way out ... SCARY! You take care too, K?

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Thank you so, so much for the kind words! Have a splendid weekend!!

@Ju: So, you don't like soft chewy cookies, eh? LOL! Ha! Now I know one more "secret" about you ... =P

@Nicole: Thank you so much for dropping by! I feel honored! Thanks a million for hosting this week's TWD, too! Well, great minds think alike! Glad yours and my brain chose to bake blondies. LOL! I love your blog, too! Will link you up. So, you've gotten VERY well acquainted with Mr. Dentist, huh? Me, sorta. She could tell: "You haven't visited me for 10 years!? You've grown a lot!" LOL! I made my first visit in 10 years last September. LOL!

@Bee Bee: LOL! I can tell, you once claimed that you're a choc and cream cheese person. Well, the pain is subsiding ... But I'm mentally exhausted now actually. Just wanna sleep to get ready for tomorrow's. How can you not have tried blondies since you'd lived in America for so long!!?? Ugh! *LOL* OK, you prob should make these. Tell you, they're def sweet. One or two slices of blondies are enough to gimme sugar high. LOL! Yeap, will email you guys later lar ... Will not "fly you plane/kite" one de ... LOL!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Thank you so, so much for the kind words! Have a splendid weekend!!

@HHB: Thank you! =) Oh no, no ... Blondies aren't "white brownies." LOL!

@Edith: You brought me back to childhood years again ... LOL! Don't talk down on yourself like this. We're all brave women! No, no ... Blondies are not "white choc brownies!" *Faint*

Susan said...

Dentist visits aren't fun, but even less fun when you don't go for a long time. :(

Great looking blondies.

Bakertan said...

Hey Pei-Lin,

Hope your toothache go away soon.I

Not that you have blogged about blondeies, I realised I have'nt tried making any blondies yet. It always occur to me blondies are the white chocolate versions of brownies. As for bars, I was introduced to this term are looking through some cookie books. They usually have a chapter on bars and slices.

These looks good to me, nevermind that they turned out darker.

Ling's Passion said...

Love your blog. Nice pictures.

faithy, the baker said...

hope you are feeling better now. I've never tried blondies yet although its in my to-bake list but never quite gotten there yet..hahaha

petite nyonya said...

oh dear!! these lovely delectable blondies don't go hand in hand with a tooth ache for sure! i hate going to the dentist (well who doesn't?!) or have a problem tooth so i really hope you're alright now. these blondies look yummy but stay away from sweet stuff till you're completely healed ya. but then again, you can still bake these and send them over to me ;-)

noobcook said...

aww sorry to hear that. It never rains but it pours doesn't it. everything will get better from here :) and hope you are recovering well from the tooth extraction. those blondies look delicious!

Peggy said...

I've always like blondies a little bit more than brownies! Great recipe and thanks for sharing!

Jess @ Bakericious said...

Hi Pei Lin, hope you are recovered by now. I am sick since last thur too, wat is worst was during my biz trip to Penang. I nearly cannot come back to Spore hahaha... I cancelled my trip to KL this wk cos stil feel weak on Wed. Others said 财多身子弱, I am so chiam leh, no $ but only weak body hahaha.... hope I will fully recover by Sun or else you may b bringing so virus back home again :P. The blondies look yummy, how nice if you can spare me some. I ve not eating any such bakes for more than a week :(

ICook4Fun said...

Hope you are having a great time in Singapore and meeting up with some blogging friends. I hate or more like scare of dentist. I too had my wisdom tooth extracted when I went back to KL this last trip. Thank god it was not as bad as I thought. You take care and hope you are feeling better now.

Weng @ I heart My Bakes said...

Oh Pei lin, I am having toothache too :( It is really bad, especially I did not go to see a dsentist. Dentist cosultation here in Perth is very expensive .. sob sob... Oh well, all my bakings and cooking get into my friends' stomachs.. Heehee..

P/s I have been a silent reader of your blog all the while, but I recently started a blog so I am looking forward to learn from you :)You have a really great blog!

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