Coffee and Walnut Blondies

Here’s a classic flavour combination as a luscious tray bake and it works a treat. In this recipe I’ve given a few options along the way, so take your pick and enjoy.

Makes: 16 squares

Time: Around 40 minutes for the basic bake plus another 20 for decorating. Could be a bit more, depending on options chosen.

Difficulty: Not especially difficult

Equipment: A 20cm/8″ square tin is fine for this, especially if it has a loose bottom.

Ingredients

  • 125g/4.5oz unsalted butter
  • 150g/5.5oz white chocolate – chips or small chunks
  • 2 or 3 tsp coffee powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g/3.5oz golden caster sugar
  • 100g/3.5oz Self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50g/1.75oz – 60g/2oz chocolate chips (Dark, milk or white – here’s your first choice)
  • 50g/1.75oz – 60g/2oz chopped walnuts
  • (optional) 50g/1.75oz – 60g/2oz of any of the following: Ricotta, full fat cream cheese, full fat Greek yogurt

To decorate (optional)

  • 50g/1.75oz full fat cream cheese
  • 50g/1.75oz icing sugar
  • 75g/2.5oz white chocolate
  • 2 tsp coffee powder
  • 16 walnut halves

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6. Butter and line the tin with baking parchment.

2a. Melt together the white chocolate and the butter. Stir in the coffee powder until dissolved. 

2b. OR (and here’s your second choice) Brown the butter by heating it steadily in a saucepan until it turns frothy then goes brown. At this point take it off the heat and cool it down, either by pouring the browned butter into another dish or by putting the pan in shallow cold water. When cooled a little, pour the butter over the white chocolate to melt them together*. Stir in the coffee powder.

* NB I usually give the white chocolate a couple of 20 second blasts in the micro-wave to soften it a little before adding the butter. (Don’t forget to stir it.)

3. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs and add in the vanilla extract then stir in the sugar.

4. Stir in the following:

i) the melted chocolate mixture,

ii) the flour, baking powder and salt,

iii) the dark chocolate chips and the nuts.

Mix it all gently until everything is fully combined.

5. (Third choice coming up) You could just go for it with this lovely mixture, but if it’s very dense or if you fancy being a bit adventurous you could add in 50g – 60g of any of the following: Ricotta cheese, full fat cream cheese, full fat Greek yoghurt. Any of these would loosen the mixture nicely. I used the Ricotta option, mainly because that’s what I had in the fridge that day.

6. Bake for 13 – 16 minutes. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes then cut and remove, or take out in one piece if you intend decorating it as a slab before cutting. Cool fully on a wire rack. (You may want to invert the slab to give a smoother surface ready for any decorating you intend doing.

Decorating choices

7. Make a rich buttercream and swirl it thickly on top + walnut halves, or flavour the buttercream with coffee.

8. Or – This is what I did in the photos shown here. First, I whisked the cream cheese vigorously by hand, added the icing sugar and whisked some more then added in some powdered coffee. I set this aside while I melted the white chocolate, which I then brushed on the baked slab. Working quickly I spooned blobs of the coffee cream cheese mixture over the slab and swirled it with a chopstick. Finally, I arranged the walnut halves on top 4 x 4 (See the second photo – above).