I am not Nigella. Not Lorraine Pascal. Sometimes the recipes I make do not go to plan.
Although, actually, I bet that, once in a while, Nigella – or any of her celebrity chef chums – makes something that tastes pretty horrible. I’d take a punt on Nigella’s ‘spaghetti with marmite’ being one of them. Or most of Hugh Fearnley Whittenstall’s concoctions for River Cottage. I’d love it so much if, just once, instead of going ‘mmm delicious’ and trying to eat whatever it is sensually on camera, as if it’s perfectly normal to tuck into profiteroles or moules mariniere on your own at any time of day, the celeb chef in question spat it out with a look of disgust and said, ‘Something’s gone horribly wrong here. Sorry, I’m going to have to open a tin of spaghetti hoops, it’s all I’ve got in.’
Anyway. My three-year old son forces me to bake a lot. Generally, ‘baking’ involves making chocolate fridge cake, to which he is addicted, and which you can’t really get wrong. Today, however, we branched out and had a go at making blondies – like brownies, but with white chocolate. Actually, not really like brownies at all, except in the sense of being a tray bake. While very pleasant tasting (if slightly burnt, which I’ve cunningly disguised with icing sugar), the resulting texture was more like the doughy peanut butter cookies I used to make as a kid than the dense cakeyness of a brownie.
This may be because I modified the recipe’s list of ingredients to use stuff I’d got in the house. I am turning into my mother. When I was a wee nipper at secondary school, we had cookery every other week. The home economics teacher, Mrs Brown, was not my biggest fan. This was partly because I made a comment about Mr Brown during the sex ed class she took that I think she may have heard, as she vigorously demonstrated how to put a condom on a courgette (a useful life skill, I’ve always found), and also because I accidentally ruined all her cookery classes. This wasn’t strictly my fault. I’d diligently give the list of ingredients to Mum the week before cookery class, and on the morning of class Mum would hastily make me up a box of ingredients using whatever she had in the house. Brown sugar would become granulated sugar, marg would be substituted for butter, fresh apple for dried fruit. I swear that, on one occasion, everyone else in the class made raisin scones, and I made a chicken casserole.
The lesson I never really learned then is that, sometimes, substitutions are no substitution. So there you go. Read into that what you will. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for white chocolate and peanut butter blondies that probably will work.
150g crunchy peanut butter
100g unsalted butter
150g soft brown sugar
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
65g chopped white chocolate
1. Grease and line a square tin with baking paper. Pre-heat oven to 17o degrees.
2. Cream the butter and peanut butter together. Add the egg and the sugar, then beat in the flour, baking powder and chocolate to form a dough.
3. Put into baking tin and bake for around 35-40 mins, until dough is cooked through but not burnt on top! Remove, cool, dust with icing sugar and cut into squares.
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