A few months back I started a bottle of homemade vanilla extract. All the “recipes” one can find say to let it age for about 6 weeks. Well, mine has aged about 4 months now. I’ve always been an overachiever :-p I opened it today and took a whiff. It was, without a doubt, one of the most amazing scented things I had ever smelled. Better than chocolate, better than baking lasagna, better even than my husband after he has been doing he man work in the yard. It immediately started to perfume the whole kitchen and I’m pretty sure if it hadn’t been simply 80 proof vanilla vodka infused with a ton of vanilla beans (I used vanilla vodka just to up the ante and used far more than the amount of beans usually suggested), I would have upended it into my mouth. It is sheer vanilla heaven.
So since I had this wonderful extract, I needed to find the perfect way to use it. My mind went through shortbread to cheesecake to a vanilla shake. Then I thought of snickerdoodle cookies, sugar cookies and so on and so forth. I wanted something that would highlight that floral vanilla flavor without being overwhelmed by other ingredients or overwhelming them since this is one intense vanilla
The other day, Food52 posted a recipe for Blondies. Now I love a good Blondie anyway…. that subtle flavor, the melty chips, the chewy edges; whats not to like? They are even one of the rare cases where I am fine using nuts.
But, being me, I had to change it some. Not much mind you, but some. I added toasted coconut, extra chocolate chips & extra vanilla, as well as a small amount of coconut extract plus used dark brown sugar instead of light to give it a deeper flavor.These turned out wonderfully. They have slightly crispy, slightly chewy edges, tat wonderful coconut/chocolate flavor that I personally love, the crisp topping of chopped pecans. Just all around delicious enough that it is going to take some major willpower for me to not over indulge in these. Willpower or possibly the National Guard standing over the plate with an M-16 pointed in my direction.
You know the drill…
Chewy Coconut Blondies
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter that has been melted and then cooled to room temp
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons good quality vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted at 350 until light golden brown (stir often)
- 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil and then grease or spray the foil.
- Toast your pecans at 350 for ten minutes or until they are a nice toasty brown. transfer to a plate to cool quicker.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend.
- In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and the brown sugar. Whisk well to combine. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract and coconut extract
- Fold in the toasted coconut, chocolate chips and pecans. I actually sprinkled the pecans on top because I like the way it looks that way, but either way works.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 22 to 25 minutes. The top should be somewhat shiny and crinkled looking. Cool on a rack in the pan until they are room temp. Lift the brownies out to a cutting board using the foil as handles and cut into small squares. Or big ones. That’s cool too.
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