Blondies

So last night, I finished reading Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston.  She’s the one behind my vegan cleanse.  Her recommendation for feeling better instantly?  Do something nice for someone.  So here is my contribution. Brownies. Originally from Gourmet Magazine, I had to make two changes.  First, the addition of 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (trust me). And second, almonds instead of pecans.  Oh and one more thing.  To make it taste like a chocolate chip cookie, 4 ounces of bitter chocolate, chopped.  I packaged them up this morning and drove 5 bags to our local post office here in Erwinna, PA.  Our postmaster Nancy beamed with excitement as I took out the bags.  Savoring one of the brownies (which I could not eat due to the vegan cleanse), she said that I could bring over anything else I thought was off limits! I left there with a huge smile on my face.  Enjoy!

                                                 Coconut Chocolate Blondies

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups toasted and chopped almonds (toasted in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, cooled and then chopped coarsely in a food processor)

2 cups sweeetened flaked coconut, divided.

4 ounces bitter chocolate, chopped somewhere between coarse and fine

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place rack in the middle and butter and flour a 13×9 pan. If you like you can cut a piece of parchment as well to fit the bottom.

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan. Take off heat and cool to lukewarm. Add brown sugar and vanilla and whisk well. Add eggs, one at a time, and whisk until creamy and smooth. Add cayenne pepper so that it releases its essence.

Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda and stir (wooden spoon please) into butter mixture.  Add 1 and 1/2 cups coconut, all of the almonds and half the chocolate.  Stir.  Turn into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate and coconut over the top.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cover with foil if your oven runs hot so as to prevent the coconut from browning too much. Let cool on wire rack for 30-45 minutes and then remove by inverting the pan onto a flat surface such as a jelly roll pan (removing parchment if you chose to use it).  Then reinvert the entire brownie onto another sheet pan so that the top is upright. 

Allow to cool to room temperature. Place in refrigerator if necessary to firm up the butter fat. Cut into squares. I like cutting them into 1.5 inch squares and the placing them into cellophane bags for delivery and presentation. 

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