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Not your mother’s blondies for sure! Ours are chock full of sunny tropical flavors like pineapple, papaya, and coconut. We’re especially fond of the exotic flavor the Brazil nuts bring, and the slight heat of freshly grated ginger really kicks it into high gear. We especially liked these with a tall, frosty glass of homemade lemonade.
Taste of the Tropics Blondies
Serves 9 to 12
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Brazil nuts
1/4 cup diced dried pineapple
1/4 cup diced dried papaya
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Commercially prepared dulce de leche
Dulce de leche, is a thick, creamy caramel sauce made by slowly heating sweetened condensed milk or whole milk and sugar until it reduces, and the sugar caramelizes to a golden taffy color. It’s a staple in Central American and South American kitchens. It can, and often is, made at home, but it takes time and patience. One excellent prepared option we love, La Salamandra, is made at a family-owned dairy farm in Argentina. Find it at Whole Foods, Zabar’s, and Market Hall Foods www.markethallfoods.com
1. For bars, position one rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick vegetable spray. Line the baking pan with aluminum foil to extend 2-inches beyond the edge of pan on 2 sides; spray foil.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and the baking powder. In a large bowl, with an electric hand mixer on high speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and smooth. Add the egg, ginger and vanilla and continue to beat at high speed until light and slightly thickened. On low speed, stir in flour mixture until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the nuts, dried fruit, raisins and coconut.
3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden pick inserted near the center still has some crumbs on it when removed.
4. Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely. When completely cool, use aluminum foil overhang to lift the cookie out of the pan. Fold down sides of foil. Warm the dulce de leche by placing the jar in a small saucepan of hot water. Measure out about 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce and spread over the cookie. Chill until set, then cut into bars or squares. Store in a single layer in airtight container.