Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Strawberry Blondies, Two Ways

I do not function well in gloomy weather. No, siree, I'm a solar powered Florida girl through and through.

Unfortunately, the "Sunshine State" has not held up to the promise of it's name for the past few days. Cloudy days = lazy me. And that's not good because I have far too much to do to sit around in my pj's and rearrange my Pinterest boards... not that that's what I did all weekend, or anything.

So, to distract myself from the blusteriness going on outside {and avoid doing all the other important stuff I actually need to get done}, I spent some time whipping up some strawberry treats. Because what could possibly brighten your days more than sweet, fresh strawberries??

You know when you find a recipe that excites you so much that you keep putting off making it because you want to save it for the perfect time? {Or is that just me?} That's how I felt when I found the recipe for Fresh Strawberry & Cream Blondies. It was sometime last year, past strawberry season and I remember thinking, "I'm going to make these next spring when the strawberries are beautiful {and cheap}."

With this past weekend's weather in a funk, I couldn't think of a better time to bring these little beauties into existence and add some strawberry sunshine to my day.

But here's the thing: They didn't exactly turn out how I imagined. All that time fantasizing about them, and - while they were quite delightful - I couldn't bring myself to really consider them true "blondies" with their super cakey texture. Because of the fresh strawberry pieces in the batter, they retained so much moisture {teetering on the edge of gooey, in fact} that it made them rather messy to eat with anything other than a fork.

To me, blondies mean chewy, handheld goodness.

Since it didn't seem that I'd be getting to play outside by the look of things outside my window, I stayed in the kitchen and worked on another batch that would suit my Strawberry Blondie fancy.

And guess what? This second batch did the trick.

Chewy, sweet, jammy... swirled with strawberry goodness... ok, maybe not "fresh" like the others, but still satisfying the strawberry quotient I desired.

Each recipe had it's own distinct charm... sort of like sunny days versus rainy days.

I'm posting both recipes so you can decide for yourself. Which makes the better Strawberry Blondie?

Strawberry & Cream Blondies
{Barely} Adapted from Taste of the South

1 (16-ounce) container fresh strawberries, cut into small pieces
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided

Strawberry Cream Frosting:

4 ounces 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚. Prepare an 8x8-inch square baking pan by lining with foil, and spraying with nonstick cooking spray.

Reserve approximately 1 cup of cut up strawberries for frosting. Add 1/4 cup sugar to remaining 1 1/4 cup strawberries in a medium bowl, and combine gently. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, add remaining 3/4 cup sugar, flour, and salt. Add eggs, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and combine until smooth {try not to overmix}. Gently stir in strawberry & sugar mixture. Spoon batter into prepared, foil lined pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract with a mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar together until stiff peaks form. Add whipped cream to cream cheese mixture, folding in gently until combined. Stir in remaining 1 cup strawberries.

Spread frosting over cooled blondies evenly. Refrigerate to store.

Chewy Strawberry Blondies
Adapted from Food Network

4 tablespoons unsalted butter {and about 1 tbsp extra for the pan}
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons strawberry jam {I used good old Smuckers, but you can get fancy if you want}

Preheat oven to 350˚. Prepare an 8x8-inch square baking pan by lining with foil. Butter foil with 1 tablespoon butter.

In a medium microwave safe bowl, place 4 tablespoons butter and the brown sugar. Microwave about 1 minute, until butter is melted. Add vanilla and stir all together. Cool slightly, then stir in the egg.

Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Add to the butter mixture, and stir together until just combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.

Drop jam by the tablespoon on top of batter and swirl using the tip of a knife. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until set and slightly golden brown. 

Allow to cool for about 15 minutes on a rack, then lift out foil and transfer the blondies to the rack to cool completely. Remove the foil and cut into bars.


Autism United said...

Both blondies look awesome, will have to try when the strawberries finally arrive here in Ontario. Has been so cold and yucky here Spring is slow coming.

The Kitchen Prep said...

Thank you! Ontario must not have caught on with the nearly non-existent winter & early spring that many had here in the States. Since I'm in Florida, we only get three seasons: Warm, Hot Humid & Rainy, and Blistering Heat. ;) If strawberry season takes it's time for you, try the Chewy Blondies since they call for strawberry jam rather than fresh berries!

Anonymous said...

How about leaving the berries out of the batter and just putting them in the frosting??? <3 I'm going to try them that way. :)

Dianna M. said...

@Anonymous - Why not?! Let me know how it works out! :) Enjoy!

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