The whole “meditation” and “relaxation” thing is a bit lost on me. When I’m stressed,the LAST thing I want to do is sit down and be alone with my thoughts. One thing leads to another and I’m looking back to 2003 wondering if that time I snuck off campus for lunch and got caught by my mom’s friend was the catalyst of my slow but inevitable descent into delinquency. It seems probable.
When I’m stressed, I need to be productive – the weighing, measuring, timing and mixing involved in baking is actually the perfect recipe to get my mind off of my present stresses. So – when I was beyond stressed last week as a result of a much-needed vacation being cancelled, an up-coming move, and a new job… I made blondies.
I’m not going to sell these too hard because they are pretty self-explanatory. They are delicious, easy to make, and the great thing about this recipe is, where I’ve used pecans, you can swap in a number of other ingredients to add extra flavour, texture, or even – in the case of whiskey – buzz. I’ve listed some ideas below the recipe in case you’re interested… I’m partial to ¼ cup white chocolate chips and ¼ cup dried cherries, myself.
This recipe doubles well – if you do so, bake for about 30 minutes, and check every five minutes or so afterwards, until set in the middle.
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup pecans: half mixed in to wet mix, half sprinkled on top before baking.
1 cup all-purpose flour
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees
• Butter an 8×8 pan
• Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for about 7-8 minutes, until fragrant
• Mix melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla.
• Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in pecans (or alternative additions).
• Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in
• Place on rack to cool in pan; remove and cut when pan is no longer hot to the touch.
For example, try:
• 1/2 to 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
• 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips
• 1/4 cup bourbon, scotch or other whiskey; increase the flour by one tablespoon
• Stir 1/2 cup dried fruit into the prepared batter