Sunday, February 15, 2009

Salted Pecan Carmel Blondie Cake

Valentine's Day dessert was a delicious new recipe that I found while looking through The Washington Post Food section. It was a yummy combination of blondie + homemade caramel sauce + toasted pecans. I give this a thumbs up!

from The Washington Post

For the blondie base
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the foil
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the topping
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (I used pecan pieces instead of halves)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
For the blondie base: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the sides and bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with a piece of aluminum foil that is long enough to extend over two ends of the pan. Use butter to grease the foil.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.

Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed for about 1 minute, until smoothly blended.

Add the eggs and vanilla extract, beating to incorporate, then add the flour mixture; beat just until the mixture is smooth.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Cool the bars in the baking pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

For the topping: Heat the cream in a small saucepan. Do not let it boil; adjust the heat to keep it warm while you cook the sugar.

Combine the water and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook for about 6 minutes without stirring until the sugar turns a dark golden color. Watch it carefully so it does not begin to burn. Remove from the heat.

Slowly add the hot cream. The mixture will bubble up, so be careful. Slowly stir until smoothly combined. Add the salt and vanilla extract, stirring to incorporate. Let cool for about 1 1/2 hours, until the caramel is thick enough to cling to the cake. The cooled sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the pecans and melted butter in a medium bowl, stirring to coat the nuts evenly. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the nuts, stirring to coat evenly. Scrape the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading them in a single layer. Bake for a total of 15 minutes, stirring once after 8 minutes. Let cool completely.

To assemble: Use the foil to lift the cooled blondie slab from the pan. Cut the slab in half crosswise, creating 2 pieces that each measure 9 by 6 1/2 inches. Trim off the edges evenly. Slide one half-slab onto a serving plate. Tuck wax paper strips just an inch or so under the bottom of the cake all the way around to keep the plate clean. Spread about 1/2 cup of caramel sauce over the top of the cake and place about 1/2 cup of pecans over the sauce. 

Transfer the remaining cake, bottom side up, over the filling, centering it carefully. Spread about 3/4 cup of caramel sauce over the cake, letting some drip down the sides. Spoon the 
remaining pecans over the top and drizzle 1/4 cup caramel sauce over the nuts. There will be about 1/2 cup of sauce remaining.

Use a large, sharp knife to cut the cake. Serve with additional caramel sauce, if desired.

Recipe Source: From cookbook author Elinor Klivans.

1 comment:

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