Tomorrow is Independence Day and let’s face it…we’ve all had enough of the cakes covered with whipped cream and lined up with berries to mimic the American flag. Nothing wrong with it, just that it’s nice to do something different.
Dying the cake batter…yup, Red Velvet is popular (don’t get me started…not a fan of it) but really, who wants a cake that’s just been colored and doesn’t really have any flavor other than “sweet”? And if you don’t get enough color in the batter then it’s just sickly looking…especially blue. (Just google “American Flag Cake” and you’ll see plenty of examples to choose from)
Here’s a new option…Red, White and Blueberry Blondies. This is a recipe I adapted from a recent issue of the Baking Sheet newsletter from King Arthur Flour. The original recipe for Blueberry Brownies was good but as soon as I tried them I thought the tartness of raspberries would work well and look good. As long as I was changing it up…why not swap part of the butter for cream cheese? To complete the changes I balanced the flavor and complemented the vanilla extract with almond (and PLEASE…make sure it’s PURE, not imitation!) The original recipe called them a “Brownie” but since it’s not even close to brown I hesitate to call them that. Blondie is more accurate but since Blondies technically have brown sugar in them and more color than these, I guess they should technically be “Red, White, and Blueberry Albinos”? While more accurate, it sounds just a bit weird. Alternatively you could call them poundcake bars because the texture is somewhat akin to a light poundcake.
Call them whatever you like…just enjoy them!
Happy Independence Day!
Red, White & Blueberry Blondies
These easy bars make for an easy patriotic dessert for the summer holidays. A bit of lemon or lime zest could also be added for a touch of citrus flavor.
Yield: 1 9×13 pan (24 bars)
1 stick (1/2 cup ) butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ pint fresh blueberries
½ pint fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9×13 cake pan with vegetable oil spray. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper or foil that will cover the bottom and the two long sides of the pan and stick up an inch or two above the edge of the pan. The paper or foil will act as a sling to remove the bars from the pan to a cutting board where they can be cut into equal pieces. Spray the paper or foil with vegetable spray.
In a large mixer bowl, combine softened butter and cream cheese and beat until softened and light and creamy. Add granulated sugar and beat until mixture has a light color and is fluffy. Add both extracts and beat for about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition, about 30 seconds.
Combine the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly using a dry wire whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix just until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the berries just until they are evenly incorporated. Be careful not to mash or crush the berries.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Blondies are done when a pick inserted comes out clean, or with just a small crumb attached. Allow blondies to cool in the pan about 20 minutes before removing. To remove from the pan, use a knife to cut between the blondies and the short ends of the pan. Use the edges of the paper to lift out of the pan and to a cutting board where they can be cut easily. Cut 6×4.[/print_this]