I purchase an irrelevant (read, near invisible) quantity of flour made from ground nuts or dehydrated coconut. I also find it really difficult to substitute grainy sugar for agave syrup in recipes and come out the other end with risen and delicious goods. A few weeks ago I bought chia seeds and soaked them in almond milk overnight with a bit of sweetened coconut - in the morning I was close to throwing up.
I’m not busting the balls of healthy eating though, a few weeks ago I posted a recipe for ice cream made of dairy free milk sweetened with a natural liquid sugar and filled with the chewy, somewhat inedible remnants of steeped cocoa nibs. When it comes to putting these ingredients in the oven so that they meld together to produce something physically and sensually similar to a brownie filled with refined sugar and cocoa butter, sorry, white chocolate, I seriously struggle. And yet, dairy ruins my bowels but coffee is dishwater without cow's milk.
* I was not paid to write this. I approached Whole Foods myself and asked to bombard their kitchen and write about them, cos I love it.
Even though I cant bake with flax seed, I have an obsession with Whole Foods, which is massively inconvenient because I live in the annoying bit of London where the closest you’ll get to Whole Foods is Holland and Barrett. A few weeks ago I was taken on a tour of London’s flagship Whole Foods store in Kensington, it had three floors and the moment I walked in I could have sworn I was in a huge retail park in a remote bit of land somewhere in New England.
After the tour I peered over their chief baker Angela’s shoulder for an hour whilst she iced cakes in that classic, slightly retro decorative way you’d find on sheet cakes that only exist in America/Australia (why?). We spoke endlessly about the pastry at Whole Foods, (whilst I was excited, she was probably cringing) and surprisingly, she tells me that their healthier alternatives are the least popular sellers in the store, apart from the chia seed pudding (god knows why). This little snippet of information stays with me until later, when my lovely tour guide and the woman I moan to about the lack of Whole Foods in my part of town, tells me how people often misinterpret the company as only selling health foods when in fact they're all about selling quality organic food.
My point is, you don't have to be a health conscious hipster, or have diet restrictions, or be a hipster pretending to have diet restrictions, to enjoy Whole Foods. The wheat flour selection is just...just... Yes.
So I've made these incredibly indulgent, almost-too-buttery blondies to celebrate dairy, wheat and too much sugar, even though it gives me a bad stomach because a) I'm stupid and b) the health alternatives at Whole Foods don't sell in smaller numbers for no reason (in London, that is).
Pecan Chocolate Chip Blondies
200g quality white chocolate
160g unsalted butter
325g caster sugar
130g plain flour
50g toasted pecans, roughly chopped
100g milk chocolate chips
Sea salt and dried rose petals for sprinkling
Notes: the cocoa butter content in white chocolate is what makes these blondies crazy chewy and dripping with moisture because of the additional fat alongside butter. You can easily use 120g unsalted butter instead of the full amount but they won't be AS moist, but I think that's okay.
Preheat oven to 170C/gas mark 3. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray with butter, or ditch the greasing and use non-stick silicon muffin trays, as the brownies will brown more evenly in silicon. Another option: line a 13” by 9” brownie tray.
Put the chocolate and butter in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Take off the heat and let cool slightly. Add the sugar and stir, then add all of the flour and beat until a paste forms, then add the eggs, one by one, stirring vigorously after each addition. Fold in the toasted pecans and chocolate chips. Use an ice cream scoop to distribute the mixture into the muffin holes, or spread mixture evenly across brownie tray. Optional: sprinkle with salt and dried rose leaves. Bake for 35 minutes until the top is crispy and flaky.
Love Em xx