☆ recipe: hazelnut blondies with a peanut butter frosting

In my house, we have a big list on the wall of my flatmate's bedroom. On it, we have written down all of the things we want to accomplish by the end of this Uni year. One of those things was "to bake".

I am not a baker by nature; I don't know if it's because I have tasted some fine cakes in my life and I find that nothing I bake can ever compare, but I am just not a baker. However, I once watched a Gordon Ramsay cooking show and in this particular episode, he made blondies. Now, for those of you who don't know what they are, blondies are essentially white chocolate brownies. While I do like brownies, I find that they're sometimes too rich for myself, and I actually prefer vanilla-flavoured desserts compared to chocolate one, so the idea of blonde brownies sounded like just my cup of tea.

My flatmate and I followed the BBC recipe for blondies, but we made a few subtle changes to it, namely that we substituted macadamia nuts for hazelnuts. We chose this recipe because while I am not a baker, I do like to cook savoury dishes and the BBC is often my first port of call when I'm feeling adventurous and want to try something new. Plus, lots of other recipes suggested using dried cranberries, and I'm not as keen on berries in my dessert dishes.

The recipe itself was not difficult: both my flatmate and myself are what I would consider 'inexperienced' bakers and we both agreed that the steps were easy and straightforward (although to be honest, there isn't really much skill in making brownies). We were a bit unsure about whether to make the peanut butter frosting, since it just sounded quite strange to us, but in my opinion, the frosting works so well with the actual blondie itself.

We baked the blondies for about 33 minutes in an electric-powered oven and it gave the blondies a lovely brown colour on the top, while our middle was just cooked. The thing I found most disappointing was the fact that all of our white chocolate chunks and hazelnuts sunk to the bottom. I'm not sure if that's a technique thing or to do with the recipe, but it was sad to see them stuck to the bottom of the tray. 
Overall, though, the blondies turned out great: the texture was perfect for me - it wasn't too rich, but it was a bit heavier than a cake and the hazelnut and peanut butter flavours gave a wonderful nutty flavour. It wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be, surprisingly, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing, to be honest. All in all though, this was a lovely 'first recipe' to make with my flatmate and my other flatmates weren't complaining when they eating them, and I would say that that was a success overall.

Easiness: ★★★★★
Taste: ★★★★★
Cost to make: ★★★★☆ (while the addition of nuts was the best thing about this recipe, they can be quite pricey, especially for students)


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