Wild Blackberry, Coconut and White Chocolate Blondies

This year, we have an awful lot of weeds in the garden. Luckily for me, some of them are blackberry plants, and in the past few days the canes have been bowing heavily, full of ripe and juicy, blackish-purple fruit.

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SONY DSCSo, what is a girl to do with so many wild blackberries? Well, a thumb through of the Flavour Thesaurus (without which, I am lost), told me that white chocolate is a great pairing and since I have a huge bag of it in the house, my mind was made up!

A quick Google search bought me several recipes for blackberries and white chocolate, including muffins, fools, parfaits and cheesecakes, but I had a hankering for cake or brownie. Something sweet and satisfying, something to give you a hug when you are down, and tastes great with a cup of Masala Chai.

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And so I bring to you, my recipe for…

 

Lightly Spiced, Wild Blackberry, Coconut and White Chocolate Blondies

(makes 9 big or 12 smaller blondie squares)

You will need:

113g Butter (melted in microwave)

165g Coconut Palm Sugar

2 Medium Eggs (beaten)

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

5 Cardamom Pods (seeds crushed finely in a pestle and mortar)

4 small sticks of cinnamon (crushed/ground into a fine powder)

96g Plain Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt

64g White Chocolate (chopped)

90g Wild Blackberries

43g Dessicated CoconutSONY DSC

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Then you need to do this:

  • Preheat your oven to 190C (160C for Fan assisted).
  • Grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin
  • Beat together the melted butter, beaten eggs and coconut palm sugar until smooth and lump-free
  • Add the vanilla extract, crushed cardamom seeds and cinnamon. Mix well.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir well.
  • Add the white chocolate, wild blackberries and coconut. Stir gently and combine fully into the mixture.

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  • Pour into tin and level with the back of a spoon. Bake for 25-35 minutes or so. The top should be golden brown and a wooden toothpick placed into the centre should come out relatively clean (a few sticky crumbs is fine).
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Then tip out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

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Or cut into squares whilst still lukewarm and enjoy with a cuppa.

The result? A satisfying and soft, fluffy blondie, with the occasional sharp and fruity tang of blackberry, alongside the mellow creaminess of coconut and white chocolate. A beautiful combination.

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Now, if you don’t have coconut palm sugar at home, don’t fret, you can use soft brown sugar instead. I happened to have some Biona Coconut Palm Sugar in the cupboard, and it reminds me of Jaggery, which is used a lot when making Indian desserts. Along with the cardamom and cinnamon, this addition contributes to the really unusual flavour of the blondie. Try it as a dessert after an Indian meal, maybe with some vanilla ice-cream. Yum!

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Also, if you want to add other ingredients or even take some away, then go for it! Just remember to balance out the recipe (i.e. remove some liquid (maybe use smaller eggs) if you decide to take out the coconut).

On to the chocolate, I used deZaan Obsession 30 white chocolate, bought from Keylink (who else!) This chocolate is not as sweet as some shop bought versions, so you may want to taste a few before you choose one to bake with. I have a sweet tooth and I really love this chocolate, even though I find most white chocolate is far too sweet for me.

Finally, as if this recipe wasn’t amazing enough, I realised when tidying up, that my flour was gluten free (Doves Farm – thank you!) and so was my baking powder. So in essence, I managed to make a gluten free recipe, without even trying. Result!

If you do decide to try this recipe, please let me know how you get on. I hope you love my blondies as much as I do.

Now, off to hide them from the husband!

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Do me a favour!

I apologise for being absent for many weeks – it’s been incredibly busy, what with planning and making wedding favours for a friend.

Yes! You heard it right! I actually got to make chocolates for real people! For people who were obliged to take home my tiny boxes of delight, and (hopefully) ate the contents (or not – I don’t like those people). Can you tell I’m quite proud of this achievement?

Let me take you into my world for the past two months. My crazy world of chocolate. Thinking of chocolate. Dreaming of chocolate. Noting down recipes for chocolate. Eating copious amounts of chocolate. Starting to really dislike chocolate…

It all began last year, when my friends announced their impending nuptials. Immediately, I leapt at the chance to make their wedding favours, and (thankfully for me), they accepted my offer. However, once the initial excitement wore off, and I really thought about what I had let myself in for, the panic set in. I was required to produce 100 boxes of 2 moulded chocolates, all beautifully decorated and wrapped in organza ribbon – for a wedding in July.

July – one of the hottest months of the year (Gulp).

I started in earnest, researching furiously and finding several ganache flavours that I felt would be appropriate for a summer wedding. I thought I would stick with fruity flavours as the bride-to-be had indicated that she likes these, rather than the spicy ganaches that I was accustomed to making. So a short-list was made, to include Raspberry, Rhubarb, Strawberry and Lemon. After a tasting, the lovely couple decided that their favourites were (drum roll please) Strawberry and Basil, and Lemon. Woo!

So the hard work really began. I finalised my recipes, adding a little more butter and a little less liquid, to ensure that the chocolates stayed fresher for longer. Then a week before the Big Day, I procured the ingredients and made a plan of action. For two long (hot and humid) days before the wedding, I de-hulled, sliced, puréed, tempered, poured, moulded and scraped my way through mountains of strawberries and seas of molten chocolate, before a final flourish with some red colouring. Along the way, I encountered several problems. Primarily, the temperature was too high (at 25 degrees centigrade) which made tempering very difficult. The solution was to temper using Mycryo (powdered cocoa butter) in my living room (whilst watching Wimbledon on the telly), where it is slightly cooler.

Also, I had a pain of a time trying to release my chocolates from the moulds (probably due to my tempering problem). I had made 120 of each flavour, just to ensure that I had plenty available in case some of the chocolates did not come out of the moulds, however, I did not envisage that around 40% would refuse to budge. So to make the experience even more stressful, I spent several hours, checking each mould and tap-tapping them furiously on the kitchen counter, trying to release the stubborn few. Eventually, I managed to get 100 of each flavour out of the moulds, but with hardly any to spare.

The beautiful Blue & Red Floral Boxes were a find at Keylink, and the bride-to-be was instantly drawn to the tiny burgundy accents which matched the colour scheme perfectly. Seeing the finished product on the banqueting tables was a real treat for me, as all the hard work paid off, with plenty of compliments and not one box left behind.

‘A few pictures if you please!’

Oh go on then…

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