I’ve had a thing going on for the past few months. I want coconut and cashews with my chocolate. And wow, it’s a standout combination in brownies. But that’s not the only way to meet this desire. I made a batch of blondies with coconut, cashews and chocolate. Heavens they were tasty.
I had to iron out a textural problem with the blondies: they were a little on the greasy side. And I wanted them a little less sweet to take into account the sweetened, shredded coconut (since the unsweetened stuff is hard to come by up here). So I’ve tinkered with the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. And I’ve got a product I’m not just proud of, but also find nearly irresistible. In fact, I’m having a hard time concentrating enough to write this, as I have a pan downstairs now.
1 cup, 4 oz, cashews, toasted
3/4 cup, 3 oz, sweetened shredded coconut, toasted with the cashews until gently browned (you’ll have to stir once or twice whilst they toast)
1 1/2 cups, 7 oz, all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
10 TBSP butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups packed, 8.75 oz, dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup, 3 oz, chocolate chips
Get your cashews and coconut toasting in a preheating 350° oven. Allow the cashews and coconut to cool down somewhat, then chop the cashews coarsely. Line a 9 X 13 pan with aluminum foil, so that it hangs over by several inches at each end of the pan. Grease the foil sling well. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat the butter, eggs and sugar together until fully combined. Stir the wet ingredients gently into the dry ingredients. And the mix-ins. Stir only until just combined. Spread the batter as evenly as possible into the prepared pan.
Cook the blondies for 25-30 minutes. Let them cool completely for two hours on a wire rack. These are very rich, so I cut them very small. Try 7 by 8 and see how you like the size. You can always eat more pieces. Or cut the next pan into bigger portions. And there will be a next pan.
Chocolate Almond Cherry Blondies: Substitute 1 cup, 4 oz, toasted almonds for the cashews. Substitute 1/2 cup packed, 2.5 oz, chopped dried cherries for the coconut, but don’t toast the cherries. Swap 1 tsp almond extract for the 4 tsp of vanilla extract.
Spiced Pecan Blondies: Two southern favorites in one happy recipe! Substitute pecans for cashews, in the recipe which follows, and omit the coconut. Preheat the oven to 300° Mix together 2 TBSP sugar, 1/4 tsp ground cayennes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 pinch allspice. Beat an egg white until frothy. Stir 1 cup, 4 oz, pecans into the egg white, then dredge the nuts in the sugar and spice mixture. Spread this in a single layer on a baking sheet baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let them cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasty and so fragrant. Allow these to cool then chop them coarsely and stir them in with the chocolate chips.
Classic Blondies: Substitute 1 cup, 4 oz, walnuts for the cashews. Substitute 1/2 cup packed, 3 oz, dried dates–chop these small, and don’t toast them–for the coconut.