I grinned from across the room, flush with feelings of triumph and, after taking a bite myself, satisfaction. They were “mmm…good.”
Up until 3 pm that day, I’d had no idea what I was going to bake my dad for his birthday. I’d done oatmeal raisin cookies, done carrot cake cookies and had overdone my family’s favorite peanut butter paisley brownies. I wanted to do something different – something special and worthy of holding a birthday candle. The only caveat? It couldn’t contain much (or any) chocolate.
I considered zucchini oatmeal cookies with dried cranberries and walnuts, and toyed around with the idea of toffee apple cookies, as well. But cookies are more of an everyday affair – a lunch box dessert for children, an afternoon snack, or, as it was when I was growing up, a viable breakfast option. Despite my family’s affection for the humble cookie, I had something else in mind on Saturday – not cake, not pie, not bread pudding (though that is rather delicious), but blondies.
Blondies are the perfect solution to any dessert debacle. A cross between a cookie and a brownie, they are "infinitely adaptable" depending on one’s palate, mood or hormone level. If I’m feeling like I need chocolate to prevent myself from snapping an irritant’s neck off, I can saturate the bars with loads of chocolate chips and chocolate frosting. If I’m feeling like I need to pretend to be healthy, I can add oatmeal or dried fruit or Omega-3 rich nuts. And if I want to please my dad, apparently, all I need to do is add fresh raspberries, roasted macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips. (Topping it with vanilla ice cream doesn’t hurt either.)
Seeing the smile on his face on Saturday night made it pretty clear to me why chefs, bakers and other epicurean geniuses do what they do. While I did enjoy my piece (err… two and a half pieces) of raspberry, white chocolate, macadamia nut blondie, the best part was hearing how much my dad liked them. It was an incredible feeling to know that he thought something I came up with was “mmm…good.” It’s moments like this that make all the kitchen fails, arm burns and cut fingers worth it.
Especially when I think the dessert is “mmm… good” too.
Raspberry, White Chocolate, Macadamia Nut Blondies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup, 2 tablespoons flour
½ cup (1 cube) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup roasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
¾ cup white chocolate chips
1 cup fresh raspberries, coarsely chopped (reserve half for top)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8 x 8 glass baking dish.
Melt butter over stove and then pour over brown sugar. Mix together with electric beater and then add egg, vanilla. Beat together approximately 2 minutes. Add flour, baking soda and stir until just combined. Add macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, ½ cup of raspberries. Spread into pan and then top with remaining raspberries.
Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean (ie. not sticky).