Check out Valerie Gordon’s recipe for salted-peanut blondies
Los Angeles baker Valerie Gordon, who runs three locations of her popular Valerie Confections shop, will be in Austin this week to teach cooking classes from her new book, “Sweet: Inspired Ingredients, Unforgettable Desserts” (Artisan Books, $35). The first class, during which she’ll demonstrate edible holidays gifts, will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Central Market, 4001 N. Lamar Blvd., and the second class is on Saturday for guests at the Lake Austin Spa & Resort. The Central Market class costs $70. Tickets at centralmarket.com.
I like peanuts best when they are well salted and paired with something sweet. Bazzini peanuts from New York City have an exceptional crunch, a good roasted flavor, and a pleasing level of saltiness, which makes them the perfect addition to buttery blondies studded with milk chocolate chips. This recipe makes small blondies; you can cut them bigger if you like.
— Valerie Gordon
2 cups (10-oz.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks or 6 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (12-oz.) light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (available in the baking aisle of specialty or upscale grocery stores)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (4.13-oz.) 38 percent milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup (3.5-oz.) high-quality salted peanuts (such as Bazzini), chopped
1 tsp. fleur de sel
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet with nonstick baking spray.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla paste and beat for 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate chips and beat until evenly distributed, about 1 minute.
Spread the batter into the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts and fleur de sel over the top. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the edges appear crisp and the top is slightly golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let the blondies cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack before cutting with a sharp knife.
Once cooled, the blondies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days; or leave the blondies, uncut, in the pan, wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 2 months. Makes 48 blondies.
— From “Sweet: Inspired Ingredients, Unforgettable Desserts” (Artisan Books, $35) by Valerie Gordon