Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Pecan Chocolate Chip Blondies

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.
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). 
* 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.



Pecan Chocolate Chip Blondies 

200g quality white chocolate
160g unsalted butter 
325g caster sugar 
130g plain flour
3 eggs
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 whole 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 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

17 comments:

  1. Totally agree about chia pudding - frogspawn!! Love these little cakes though and YES to Whole Foods - I always come away from there with all kinds of weird and wonderful flours, spreads and hard-to-find ingredients!

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    1. frogspawn slash dinosaur eggs! Wholefoods > Tesco, though :)

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  2. I don't care what's in these - they're so darn pretty that I want to eat a million of them!

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    1. I wish I had a million of them to give to you!

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  3. Wow! These are real beauties :)

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  4. Emine! I love these SO SO much -- they're so adorable and mini, and the rose petals on top?! I die. So gorgeous.

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  5. Life is too short to go without butter and sugar. These look dreamy, I love that you made them individual no faffing around cutting and no loosing all those bits that end up everywhere when you try and cut them - and everyone gets a bit of gooey middle! I also have a complete whole foods soft spot, I can't go in there. I always spend £30, even if I need nothing.

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    1. I'm exactly the same, I could spend hours browsing - I mean, who wouldnt when you can actually PICK the eggs you want to put in your egg box?!

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  6. Living in Devon we have farmers markets and thats about as close as I get to anything organic and healthy, this Whole Foods store intrigues me though. Im such a sucker for anything healthy and exotic , I always get things telling myself I need them when I most definitely don't. In fact this week I just bought myself chia seeds and have yet to use them *typical* L x

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    1. Make sure to add a ton of something sweet with the chia seeds, otherwise it might test a *little* like dinosaur eggs!x

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  7. You are hilarious and these are the prettiest blondies I've ever seen. :)

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  8. Oh my god, I once innocently bought chia pudding for breakfast and it tasted like curdled pond water. STAY AWAY. I'll take many, many of these blondies, though, despite the stomachache that will ensure (I trust you that it would be well worth it).

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  9. Awesome post .i hope everybody will like your post

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  10. Oh Emine, I too ADORE Whole Foods and I'm rather insanely jealous you arranged a tour with them. It's like a treasure trove and Aladdin's cave of brilliant-ness. PS Lovely, lovely little cakes too

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  11. these are just the most perfect blondies i have ever seen.. they are so adorable! i am definitely saving this recipe to recreate. thanks!

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