What’s a blondie… and can it be vegan?
I’d not come across a blondie before, at least not when it wasn’t in the form of a slightly patronising remark from an older gent. But luckily I happened across Poppy of Poppy’s Patisserie mouthwateringly good blog Maple Almond Blondies to inspire me to give the recipe a go.
In fact they looked to be my dream pudding. I’m very much all about the texture but maybe not in the way that most people are. Rather than bite to my pudding, I like things soft and chewy, which is perhaps why I’m such a pud fanatic in the first place. Unfortunately for other people this means I’ll often recommend something like a French Fancy on this basis only for them to look slightly horrified when the delicacy disintegrates into nothing as soon as it comes in contact with saliva.
Anyway blondies appeared, from a bit of further research into the matter, to be of the more crowd-pleasing chewy yet ‘melt in the mouth’ type of texture. I decided to make some as my contribution to a picnic I was attending and, having miraculously found a vegan blondie recipe, decided there was no reason why my lactose-intolerant flatmate shouldn’t be treated to her annual dessert. The recipe I used was for peanut butter blondies but apparently there are all sorts of varieties including white chocolate, vanilla, choc chip, maple syrup and any other kind of nut.
Here’s how I made them. I used:
- 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soya milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup plain flour (this is apparently what’s by all purpose flour in American recipes)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– In a mixing bowl, I used a fork to vigorously mix together the peanut butter, oil and sugar.
– I stirred in the milk and vanilla extract, then the flour, salt and baking powder.
– Advised by my recipe to use my hands once the stirring got heavy-going and the mixture had started to resemble a dough, I got stuck in.
– I transferred the dough to the dish and pressed it into place then baked for 22 to 25 minutes checking to see at this point whether my edges were colouring. They weren’t. All that had happened was that my slab of dough was a little warmer than when I’d put it in.
I ended up baking the blondies for a good 50 minutes, and still wasn’t sure whether it had cooked or not when I finally decided I might end up missing the sunshine altogether if I left them in any longer. So I’m just not sure whether this was a baking success or not, chiefly because I’m not convinced it constituted baking. No reaction seemed to happen whereby the mixture radically transformed into something obviously cake-like. Instead the dough just got a little crisper.
So it was with a certain degree of trepidation that I presented my tin of blondies at our London Fields gathering. But this is where people’s unfamiliarity with the genre really came into its own. “It’s like a brownie but with no chocolate,” I explained patiently as people crunched their way through these mysterious nutty offerings, not looking convinced and trying to work out if they’d reached the pudding course or not.
Although the blondies weren’t really sweet enough and more biscuit-like than anything, they were a surprise hit. Naturally the lactose-intolerant friend loved them. (She doesn’t know any better. Bless.) But so, to my amazement, did everyone else. I can’t deny, their density meant they were quite a chore to get through but their substantial texture came in very handy for soaking up the cider and preventing any inappropriate pleasant-afternoon-picnic drunkenness.
I’ll certainly be trying this cake’s more sugary, lightweight dairy-laden counterpart at some point, but maybe these initially unappealing, oddly gritty treats were after all doing their bit for girl-power. Blondies can have grit and substance you know.