Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies | Gluten Free

Pure peanut butter flavour captured in a chewy, gluten free blondie studded with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. These easy to bake bars are sure to become a family favourite.Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comLet’s pretend that I’ve had more to eat in the last two days than five rice crackers and three almonds. Having a stomach flu is probably one of the worst things to strike people who love food, and for those of us who love to photograph it, write about it, and share it, when you can’t eat you can’t do what you love, which for me, is fill this little spot right here with all of my latest favourite eats and treats. Whinge over.

Luckily, I made these gorgeous, chewy peanut butter chocolate chip blondies on Saturday night well before my stomach turned rogue.Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comOkay, let’s talk blondie science very quickly. Much like their dark chocolaty sisters a blondies chew-factor (a valuable measure in the blondie ranking system) is determined by a few factors:

  • Flour to batter ratio: A lower flour to batter ratio makes for chewier blondies as most of the blondie body is made up of eggs, sugar, and, here, peanut butter!
  • Leavener use: Both baking powder and baking soda appear in this blondie batter to provide adequate leavening without an increase in acidic ingredients. Here the brown sugar provides the acid needed to make the baking soda work. The baking powder provides a little extra boost to the puffiness, without these brownies becoming cakey. Using both leaveners here also creates crispy edges (hollah to my crispy edge loving people) and a soft, chewy centre.
  • Type of sugar used: Brown sugar is important for boosting the peanut butter flavour of these cookies, and keeps the batter moist. The presence of caster sugar boosts the chew factor as there is less moisture in caster sugar (owing to the absence of molasses in its formula). Using both in combination gives you the best of both blondie worlds: moist and chewy = win.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comJust let me take my lab coat off….ahem. Now that we’ve got the science covered, let’s talk about flavour and texture and the yum factor of these blondies.

The scent of these gluten free blondies baking in the oven was enough to have my stomach rumbling in anticipation. Pure peanut butter flavour is enhanced by brown sugar, vanilla essence, and a touch of cinnamon and what pairs better with peanut butter than chocolate!Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comBite into one of these squares and you are met first with absolute brown sugar peanut butter chew quickly accompanied by a morsel of peanut butter chip or semi-sweet chocolate chip. Forget that midnight snack peanut butter cup and reach for one of these instead!Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Gluten Free | Makes 24 blondies | Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Leftovers will keep for three days (if they last that long) in an airtight container at room temperature. Or they can be wrapped well and frozen for up to two months.

Ingredients

  • 50 grams sorghum flour
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 40 grams white rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup (125 grams) peanut butter (I like chunky myself)
  • 60 grams butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) caster sugar
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup peanut butter chips
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9-inch (22.5cm) square baking pan with baking paper.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside until required.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a handheld mixer and a large mixing bowl) beat peanut butter and butter together until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add caster sugar and brown sugar and beat until well combined, another 2 minutes.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  6. Beat in vanilla extract.
  7. With mixer on low speed add dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated.
  8. Switch to a wooden spoon and mix in peanut butter chips and chocolate chips until well distributed.
  9. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  10. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the tops turn a deep golden brown and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  11. Remove blondies from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into small squares.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Spirit of the Season Blondies

When I was little and the first of December rolled its way around to the front of the calendar I would feel a light fizzing begin in my chest. With each passing day of Advent the fizzing would grow larger and louder, until on Christmas Eve I would be as effervescent as a bottle of champagne. I didn’t really know what that fizzing meant as a little kid.

As I grew up I realised that the fizzing was the spirit of the season: the joy of Christmas time, the thought of spending time with my family, playing out in the sunshine every day, helping to decorate the Christmas tree and the rest of our home, watching friend’s and family’s faces as they gather round to open presents, and baking Christmas treats. The Christmas Spirit meant that a bubble existed around my own little world just for a few weeks, where nothing bad could happen, and everyone’s hearts were a little more open to the plight of others.

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Now I am grown and the spirit of the season is sometimes harder to capture. The last few weeks of the year can pass in a flurry of end-of-year deadlines, parties, and the constant barrage by the media counting down the shopping days left until Christmas.

This is why it is important to be present in the moment this season. It takes extra and effort and patience to be exactly where you are without worrying about the million other shiny distracting baubles on offer. For me, this is particularly important when I get to spend time with my friends and family. This is where I feel the spirit of the season the most.

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Recently my friends and I gathered at Casey’s house to celebrate the season with games on the grass, tacky Christmas t-shirts, cheap Secret Santa presents, and plenty of good food and wine.

I brought a summery salad and these Spirit of the Season Blondies. My friend Melissa took one bite and declared ‘they taste just like Christmas’. What a beautiful compliment, thanks Melissa.

The flavour of Christmas is captured in blondie form with the combination of Frangelico, spices, white chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. They make excellent gifts and will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator – if they last that long!

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Spirit of the Season Blondies (gluten free)

Makes one 9 x 12 inch pan of blondies. If you do not require these to be gluten free you can replace the buckwheat flour, hazelnut meal and brown rice flour with a total amount of 385 grams (2 ¾ cups) plain flour. If you or your family do not consume alcohol you can simply leave out the Frangelico.

Ingredients

  • 200 grams buckwheat flour
  • 100 grams hazelnut meal
  • 85 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 200 grams butter, softened
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) brown sugar
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup
  • 200 grams white chocolate chips
  • 100 grams shelled hazelnuts

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F) and line a 9 x 12 inch baking pan with baking paper.
  2. Spread hazelnuts over a baking sheet and toast in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from oven.  Allow to cool completely and then roughly chop. Set aside until needed.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the buckwheat flour, hazelnut meal, brown rice flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger until completely mixed and no lumps remain.
  4. In a large bowl beat together butter and both sugars with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and scrape down bowl between additions.
  6. Measure in vanilla, Frangelico, and golden syrup and beat until well combined.
  7. On a low speed beat in flour and spice mixture.
  8. Stir in white chocolate and chopped hazelnuts with a wooden spoon.
  9. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and place in the oven.
  10. Bake for 30- 40 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  11. Once cooked remove from oven and allow to cool completely before chopping into squares.
  12. Serve to friends and enjoy.

Tell me, dear reader, how does the spirit of Christmas feel to you? How do you stay present at this time of year?

Spirit of the season - just chillin'

Spirit of the season – just chillin’