Baked goodies for super-sleuths

Posted on June 27, 2007 by Aun

One of the things that my darling wife S finds most amusing about me is that I’m

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highly susceptible to suggestion. If I see something in a magazine, book, movie or on television, I feel this ridiculous and inexplicable urge to taste it, buy it or at the very least see it in person. When I was an intern living in Paris back in 1994, I read Banana Yoshimoto’s beautifully-written book Kitchen. In it, one of the main characters has an important revelation while eating the best katsudon he’s ever tasted. After reading that, I went in search of Paris’ best katsudon. Similarly, just recently, I read a review of the slickest looking portable DVD player I had ever seen. Two days later, I had dragged S into Harvey Norman and convinced her to let me buy it.

blondies.jpg

Last week, S and I went to watch the new Nancy Drew movie (we both have a thing for teen movies). To be honest, the movie was only so-so. But there was one scene in the film that got both S and me really excited. In order to bribe a hospital records keeper, Nancy whips out one of her housekeeper Hannah’s blondies. After just one bite, Nancy had won him over and extracted the information she needed. Heck, looking at that blondie, blown up big on the silver screen, I would have given her anything for a bite of it as well. It looked delicious.

Of course, I couldn’t get blondies out of my head after that movie. S and I combed through our baking books and found two blondie recipes that appealed to us. We chose Sherry Yard’s because she drizzles caramel onto her blondies. And since S had a batch of David Lebovitz’s super-savory and sweet Salted Butter Caramel Sauce, we were all set. Ms Yard’s recipe is pretty basic but very yummy. The one change I would make to it is that I would add a few extra ingredients, maybe some chopped nuts or white chocolate chips. Something to give it a little texture and a little more complexity.

It was really fun making these. Even more eating them. I took a couple with me on a recent flight to Penang (where I am helping a hotel create a new restaurant… but more about that in an upcoming post). Sadly, the meals on Singapore Airlines’ short haul flights have become worse and worse. These days, all one gets is a cardboard boxed tube of something reheated and pretty awful. So, you can imagine how delighted I was to unwrap my homemade blondies and munch on them while watching a particularly amusing episode of How I Met Your Mother (one of my newest favourite shows). The lady two seats over from me, however, was less than pleased. She kept looking at my blondies, then back at her box of inedible swill, then back at my blondies again. If I had brought more than two, I might have offered her one, but I hadn’t, so I didn’t. I hate to admit that I enjoyed eating every last crumb while she jealously watched. Horrible to admit, but it’s the truth.

Blondies
Adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard
Makes 24 2-inch squares

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup Salted Butter Caramel Sauce (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (about 175 degrees Celsius). Adjust the rack to the centre of the oven. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line the base with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.

Triple sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a KitchenAid fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until soft and creamy (about 1 minute). Slowly add the sugars and beat on high speed until fully incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy (about 10 minutes). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add the eggs, one at a time. Be sure each egg is completely incorporated and scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the next one. Add the corn syrup and vanilla.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Poke holes in the surface of the cake with a skewer or fork. Pour the caramel sauce over the cake. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack, then cut into 2-inch squares before serving. We like serving our blondies warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and extra Salted Butter Caramel Sauce drizzled over it.

If wrapped airtight, blondies keep well for 3 days at room temperature or up to 3 weeks in the freezer.

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Makes 1½ cups (375 millilitres)

85 grams butter, salted or unsalted
150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
250 millilitres (1 cup) heavy cream
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ teaspoons coarse salt (I used vanilla fleur de sel)

Melt the butter in a large, deep heavy-duty saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir in the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is a deep golden brown and starts to smoke.

Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in half of the cream until smooth (wear an oven mitt since the mixture will steam and splatter, and may bubble up furiously). Stir in the rest of the cream, then the vanilla and salt. If there are any lumps of caramel, whisk the sauce gently over low heat until they’re dissolved. This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Rewarm it gently in a microwave or by stirring in a saucepan over very low heat.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. L June 27, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    too funny. We went too… although we kind of had to drag our teenage daughter who was too cool to want to see it. And, I’ve been thinking about the lemon bars and blondies ever since!

    (agree on the overall movie, but I did love her dress at the party!)

  2. mj June 27, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Are these cakey or fudgy?

  3. Mari June 27, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    I’m drowning in my own drool and thinking naughty thoughts about salted butter caramel sauce! That looks so divine. Thanks for sharing!

  4. nani June 28, 2007 at 12:49 am

    These blondies look fab, though a lot blonder than I’ve seen around San Francisco. I love the ones from Starbucks (I know, blasphemy) which has chunks of chocolate and toffee.

  5. Stephanie June 28, 2007 at 5:40 am

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I’ll come again soon..

  6. Katherine Leung June 28, 2007 at 11:07 am

    I’m a 50 something year old lady from Australia who accidentally found your blog. Now I’m hooked. It’s incredibly erudite and entertaining.

    Agree with the need to take refreshments on board even sometimes in business class. But blondies… must be the sauce. I always use salted butter, against the current trend of unsalted.

  7. The Guvnor June 28, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Please please please tell me where Paris best katsudon is? and also if you know if there’s anywhere decent in europe to get miso ramen? Forever indebted! R

  8. cream June 28, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    give the airline food a break, the plane is not exactly a restaurant. some credit for the service perhaps?

  9. veron June 29, 2007 at 4:45 am

    Sherry Yard is my basic baking bible. The hubby and I have a penchant for teen movies too, although the last we really enjoyed was “Mean Girls”

  10. Jim June 29, 2007 at 6:47 am

    Blondies! My stepdad’s mother made these things for me every time I visited her house, ensuring my stepdad had enough cred to smoothly join our family. I haven’t had them in years, but now I’ve got a recipe to go with!

    Also, don’t international flights usually have better food than domestic ones?

  11. Lynn June 29, 2007 at 10:56 am

    awwww, shame on you! Let the lady have at least some crumbs! ;o)

  12. Annemarie July 1, 2007 at 5:34 am

    I second the request to name the best katsudon place in Paris; I will definitely be reading Banana Yoshimoto’s book now. Great looking blondie recipe – I always make my brownies by default, but it might finally be time to branch out…

  13. ximena July 2, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    oh I know that so well. I bought a macbook pro when I saw ben affleck using it in a bad movie I can´t even remember. And spent months trying different katsudons in Madrid after reading Kitchen, too.

  14. tim July 3, 2007 at 2:05 am

    hello!

    pierre herme is a 5 minute walk from where i live in the 5ème. you know, wonderful french cuisine isn’t that difficult to find, but locating “paris’ best katsudon” is another thing altogether. could you help us out a little?

    pretty please?

    a singaporean student in paris

  15. Chubby Hubby July 3, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Guys, that katsudon search was over a decade ago. I can’t remember all the places I went to. None of them bowled me over either. S and I will, however, post a katsudon recipe for you guys to try out asap.

  16. JS July 6, 2007 at 6:50 am

    Hello Chubby Hubby!

    I’ve been enjoying your wonderful posts and I recently moved to a new place, all ready to try out the recipes you’ve been sharing. I was just wondering if you could recommend a brand of bakeware that is available in the US? I’d love to have a good set of bakeware that would last.

    Thanks!

  17. Ellie July 8, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Just made these with some chopped up white chocolate and walnuts – very nice!

  18. Jessica March 22, 2008 at 10:50 am

    I loved this post! I happen to be watching Nancy Drew on DVD and am desperately searching for a Blondie recipe (I’ve never had them before). I’m thrilled that you too are “easily persuaded/influenced” (the words my husband uses when giving me a hard time). Unfortunately I do not have all of the ingredients to make these luscious treats, but I will make them tomorrow. Thank you for the recipes and letting me I’m not the only one!

  19. Rachael West November 25, 2009 at 5:32 am

    Is it bad that I just saw this movie and I agree it was a so-so movie. Kids loved it at least.

    Such a delicious recipe none the less. At least something came good out of this movie for us! You posting a delicious recipe. I know I’m slightly late, but when I saw super-sleuths in the title I thought, my kids love Winnie the Pooh & the Super Sleuths (disney cartoon)

    Rachael West

  20. Sandra Hopkins January 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Nice post! I envy this kind of trip, movie then snacks. And thank you for posting your recipe.

  21. James Thompson October 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Made this with my kids and the girls are hooked on baking! Thanks

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