Friday, October 3, 2014

Espresso Chocolate Chip Blondies

When life throws us a curveball, our human response is to take stock of where we are and take a fond and cherishing look at all the good fortune in our lives.

A month ago I landed in an emergency room with pain and severe difficulty breathing.  Five doctors, several tests, x-rays, scans and lots of blood work later, it looks like I caught a very nasty virus that infiltrated my lungs and the sac surrounding my heart.  Confined to bed rest and a regimen of big doses of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine, I really had the stuffing knocked out of me.  But I began to get better, ever so slowly.  The pain went away and my breathing came easier.  I’m now thrilled to say I'm starting to feel human again.  I’m able to walk for several city blocks without losing my breath.  Although I still tire easily, I know it will be a few more weeks before I get my full stamina back.  And what I feel profoundly is a tremendous THANK YOU to all the doctors and medical staff who assisted in my treatment.  Each and every one of them have been inordinately kind, compassionate and perfectly professional.  I also want to say to all my readers, please take good care of yourselves this winter.  There are some terrible bugs out there.  It can be so easy to forget how fortunate we are to enjoy everything life has to offer. 

I hope to get back in the swing of working full speed in my kitchen soon, but for now I’m posting this very easy recipe for some simple Espresso Chocolate Chip Blondies.  They are a delicious treat incorporating some basic ingredients without much effort.   I hope you enjoy them.

My deep appreciation to all my readers who sent me the loveliest emails and good wishes.  I can’t tell you how much they really lifted my spirit.  You are the BEST.  And to my family and friends, I hope you know how much I love you.

Here's to lots of cozy fall days full of wonderful aromas emanating from our kitchens!

Bench notes:
- You can substitute coarsely chopped 3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for the chocolate chips, if you prefer.                  
- Add some toasted chopped nuts for more texture and flavor.
- Like any cake or bar cookie, once these are cut, the edges will begin to dry out.  Cut what you need and store remaining uncut pastry in an airtight container to prolong freshness.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Blondies
Makes about 16 slices

1 cup (5 oz) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz (1 stick) butter @ room temperature                                  
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg @ room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla                                                                                                              
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 cup (3 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease and line the bottom of an 8” square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 -3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl.  Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated. Combine the vanilla, espresso powder and rum and add to the mix.  Blend thoroughly.

Add the dry ingredients and combine just until barely mixed and a few dry streaks remain.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and finish mixing by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread into a smooth and even layer.

Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 22 - 24 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Run a small spatula or a thin knife around the edge of the pan and remove from the pan using the parchment overhang to assist.  Gently peel off the parchment.


Sue/the view from great island said...

So glad to have you back, what a scary experience. It must be a thrill but also a long slow process getting back to regular life after something like that. These blondies are so up my alley, I love a shot of espresso in my desserts!

Donna said...

I am so glad to hear you are feeling better! Be gentle to yourself and take the time that you need to make a full recovery. And thanks for another great recipe :)

pastry studio said...

Sue and Donna, thank you so much. It was definitely a very scary experience and I just have to find the patience to slow down and heal.

Hope you enjoy the Blondies!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! How absolutely frightening for you and your loved ones. I am so glad to hear you are on the road to recovery. Continue to take care of yourself so you do not overdo and have a setback. We can wait, and your archives are a goldmine. ^_^


Barbara said...

Gayle, I'm so sorry! What a fright you must have had. Be careful not to do too much too soon. So glad you're halfway back....any recipe from you is a winner!

pastry studio said...

Thanks a TON, good friends! You're the best!

Beth said...

Oh no! I hope your road to recovery is a smooth one (and filled with yummy things for comfort).

pastry studio said...

I so appreciate your good wishes, Beth. Thankfully, I'm getting better each day!

valerie s. said...

A little late, but so glad you're feeling better. My sentiments exactly for our caregivers everywhere, especially in these times.

pastry studio said...

Thank you, valerie s. I am feeling much better, thanks to all the great care I've received. I'm very fortunate to have a great team of doctors & providers & great insurance.

Here's to better days ahead!