If you’re a beginning baker or just wanting to improve your baking skills and learn helpful baking tips, you’ll have to check out the new cookbook, Baking Basics and Beyond (Second Edition, softcover) by food consultant Pat Sinclair. I received a copy of this book to review, and it’s filled with great photos and recipes!
At the beginning of the book, you’ll find tips and information on baking equipment, ingredients, measuring, and some helpful “how-tos” (How to Dissolve Yeast, How to Melt Chocolate, etc.). Each of the 12 chapters in the book focus on a different kind of baked good, such as Biscuits and Scones, Coffee Cakes, Cookies, Pies and Tarts, Yeast Breads and Rolls…just about anything you’d want to bake! The beginning of each chapter has several pages of helpful baking tips and there are additional notes and tips included in each recipe. Baking Basics and Beyond focuses on simple baking techniques and directions, so it’s great for beginning bakers, but has great recipes that any baker would love to make.
There are over 120 recipes in the book and I decided to try something from the Brownies and Bars chapter. Since I love cashews, I couldn’t resist trying the Butterscotch Cashew Blondies. They are really yummy–thick and chewy, with lots of buttery, butterscotch flavor. Very rich. These are great just as they are, but if you want to make them into a fancier dessert, you could top a blondie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle some butterscotch sauce over it…maybe even sprinkle on a few more chopped cashews…yum!
This is a great, easy recipe and makes a 9×13″ pan of blondies. You can cut them into 36 bars, but I cut mine larger, so I didn’t end up with quite so many. 🙂 Here’s how you make them…
BUTTERSCOTCH CASHEW BLONDIES (from Baking Basics and Beyond)
The opposite of a brownie is a blondie–the colors are different but the texture of the bars is similar. It is much easier to determine doneness in the blondies than in the brownies. If the blondies are not done, you can see the batter move under the top crust when you shake the pan. Because of the high amount of sugar in these bars, the edges rise and get dark and chewy–I think this is the best part!
Makes 36 bars
- 2 cups (242 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
- 2 cups (456 g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup (227 g) butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup (168 g) butterscotch chips (6 ounces)
- 1 cup (150 g) cashew halves and pieces, coarsely chopped
Heat oven to 350˚F (180˚C) with oven rack in middle. Line bottom of a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 22.5-cm) baking pan with aluminum foil, extending foil about 2 inches (5 cm) beyond pan on each long side. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl and stir slowly to mix. Add eggs and mix with a wire whisk until well blended. Slowly stir in flour mixture until it is moistened. Beat with wire whisk 30 seconds until smooth.
Add butterscotch chips and cashews. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until center seems set when touched lightly with a finger. The blondies will also start to pull away from pan edges. When set in the center, the batter won’t jiggle. A toothpick will come out dry. Cool in pan on wire cooling rack.
Remove blondies intact from pan by loosening ends with a metal spatula and lifting out, using the aluminum foil. Cut into bars. Make sure foil is not stuck on bottom of any blondies.
BAKER’S NOTE: When you combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla, mix until smooth, crushing any lumps of brown sugar.
That sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? Enjoy making these chewy treats! 🙂