Banana & Caramel Blondies

These crispy edged, squishy middled, sweet little squares don’t take long to get into the oven, and are the perfect sweet treat on a rainy afternoon, with a good book to read and a cat to sit on your feet (cat totally optional).

WARNING: If you’re trying to reduce your sugar intake, or you’re on a weight loss diet, you probably shouldn’t read this post.  In fact, don’t even look at the pictures.

Banana and caramel blondiesAww…you didn’t listen did you?  Never mind, tomorrow’s another day – just don’t say I didn’t try to head you off 😉

Caramel SauceServes one (oh, all right – makes around 20 squares…you decide how many that serves!)

2 ripe bananas, sliced
200g golden caster sugar
100g butter
2 dessert spoons caramel sauce (ready made or make your own by boiling a tin of condensed milk for 3-4 hours) plus some for drizzling on top
100g white chocolate, broken into chunks
2 medium eggs
200g self-raising gluten free flour mix (eg. Doves Farm)

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF.

Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin.

Chocolate, sugar, caramel and butterOver a low heat, gently melt the sugar, butter, caramel and chocolate, until blended and smooth – stir frequently.  Set aside to cool a little (5-10 minutes)

with flour and bananas folded inBeat in eggs then fold in the flour and sliced bananas.

in the tin and drizzled wih caramelPour batter into the prepared tin and drizzle a couple of teaspoons of caramel sauce over the top.

Baked Golden BrownBake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until golden, risen and set.

Allow to cool before removing from tin.

Banana and caramel blondies with ice creamServe warm with ice cream or cool completely and have with coffee.

Banana and caramel blondieWill technically keep for around 3 days if stored in an airtight container (or well wrapped in tin foil).  It’s improbable that this will happen though.

Wickedly Tempting Chilli Chocolate Brownies

For one reason and another it’s been a dreadfully long time since Barn and I were able to enjoy a leisurely Sunday brunch together; however, the calendar indicated that our free time would coincide this weekend – glee!

Barn was full of anticipatory excitement as Sunday approached – the ‘big food shop’ had been delivered, cupboards, fridge and freezer were bulging with exotic delights…expectations were high for some kind of culinary wizardry.

BrowniesThen the day dawned and all I wanted to eat was brownies – warm, fudgey, chocolatey brownies.

Now Barn’s not normally one to need persuasion to eat chocolate but for some reason he was being difficult:

“You can’t just eat cake.  You have to have something savoury first.”

“OK, I’ll have a piece of Marmite on toast.”

The LookHe gave me The Look

“Fine!  I’ll have a piece of Marmite on toast, cut it in half and therefore will eat TWO pieces of toast”

He wasn’t buying it

“All right, all right…I’ll have a bacon sandwich.  But only if you make it while I make brownies – of which I’m going to eat non-rationed and unquestioned quantities.”

And so the deal was done

Bacon buttyThis is the bacon butty that was duly consumed: rather tasty and actually a good call on Barn’s part, as me, fuelled solely by sugar and butter = likely bad ending 😉Chilli chocolateIngredients
200g unsalted butter
130g plain dark chocolate, broken into chunks
100g chilli flavoured dark chocolate, broken into chunks
alternatively, use 230g plain chocolate and a pinch or two of chilli flakes ground into powder with a mortar and pestle – add this in with chocolate
160g caster sugar (preferably golden, but white is fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
25g cocoa powder
3 medium eggs, beaten
100g ground almonds
50g plain gluten free flour mix (I use Dove’s Farm)

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170°C/325ºF.

Lightly butter your baking tin and line with greaseproof paper (you can probably get away without lining but I tend to play safe).  My tin was a little to large and so the brownies were a touch too thin – a 8″ (20cm) square tin would be about right.

Broken chocolate chunksMelt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.

Melted chocolate and butterTake the pan off the heat.

Vanilla pasteSift in cocoa powder, add vanilla and sugar and whisk until combined.  Leave the mix to cool a little (5-10 minutes).

Sugar, cocoa, vanilla and eggs addedAdd eggs to chocolate mix and beat until smooth and glossy.

Ground almondsBeat in ground almonds and flour then pour into the prepared baking tray.

Baked brownie trayBake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until just firm to the touch in the centre.
(I don’t know why that pretty swirly design happened – please don’t be cross if you don’t get this lovely effect 😉 )

Allow to cool a bit before turning out of the tray and cutting into squares.

Brownies and creamServe warm with whipped cream.

When completely cooled, store in an airtight container – this makes it easy to carry them around with you so you can snack at will through the day 😀