One of the best perks of staying in Dubai is the massive array of baking ingredients that are available in most supermarkets here. Something I missed seeing in Mumbai. Yes, Crawford market in Mumbai does provide you with almost everything you need in your baking pantry but not only are most of the ingredients very pricey (since they are imported) there's also the inconvenience of going all the way to to town to purchase them. Ok, i'll kill the suspense and let you know what I am talking about. Cream cheese, mascarpone (pronounced as 'maaska-ponay'), chocolate chips, molasses, treacle - a few prized possessions that didn't come by too easily when I was in Mumbai are easily available here. So I am making the most of this opportunity and trying out as many recipes as possible that call for such ingredients. Well, yes, at my own peril. In these past few months I must have consumed a million calories thanks to these heavy duty dairy products, but I couldn't care less (well, not until I stood on the weighing scale, gulp!)
On one of my baking escapades I ended up with a lot more mascarpone cheese than the recipe asked for. Talk about not planning my groceries properly. Anyway, its a habitual thing for me - to pick up stuff on a whim, promising myself that I will turn it into something nice, getting back home with a load of groceries, putting them away and completely forgetting about them (that reminds me, I have a load of cream cheese sitting in the deli drawer of my fridge, Omigosh!). After browsing the net for a suitable recipe I came across this delicious recipe on Simply Recipes
that made use of the mascarpone and lemons that were idly sitting in my fridge. By lemons I am talking about the large yellow ones which are not commonly available in India. In India we get lndian limes and lemons which are really small and maybe 2-3 of them may fit into one's palm easily. The ones available here are quite large and are perfect for desserts and cakes, the zest of which can marvelously uplift even a boring sponge cake.
Anyway, the most important story of the day is that I had a near death experience when I made these blondies. I chose to write about it just so that it serves to be a reminder to everyday cooks to be a bit more cautious in the kitchen. While I went about preheating the oven that day, I didn't realise that the gas burner for the oven (below the crumb tray) had gone off. My niece who was always alert brought it to my notice and I immediately went to open the kitchen door. Despite having exercised immediate caution, I don't know what compelled me to go right ahead, open the oven door and light the burner again. The next thing I knew was...Boom!!! I was thrown to the ground with a row of burnt hair, heart pounding like crazy and a scream that escaped my lips. This was the effect of that little gas that was trapped inside the oven that caught fire from the ignition of the gas lighter. Such a scary experience for me and the kids in the house who had been just chased out of the kitchen before my great adventure. After everyone had calmed down & I had gained my composure I made a vow that it was the last time that I was ever baking in a gas oven. Although the ceramic (smooth top/glass top) hob in my new house is painfully slow, it gives me a sense of safety every time I turn the power knob. I urge all my readers to exercise precaution before using gas ovens or any other kitchen appliance for that matter. It's never a good idea to be over smart or careless in the kitchen (or life in general).
Life is precious, so please stay safe!
Ahem! Back to the recipe now!
Blondies are just like brownies in terms of the texture. They are slightly fudgy, dense and in some cases may be chewy too. The only difference between brownies & blondies are that no cocoa or chocolate is used in the preparation of blondies. However some blondie recipes may call for chocolate chips. Cocoa or chocolate is replaced with brown sugar that gives blondies their taste and colour. They are baked in square/rectangular tins and cut into shapes before serving.
These blondies are simply melt-in-the-mouth. So decadent, so delicious and yes, rich too! But no matter how much you try to resist you won't be able to stop at one! The mascarpone cheese gives the moistness and flavour to these blondies making them so irresistible and any festive occasion definitely calls for these!
Lemon Mascarpone Blondies
Prep time: 20 mins | Bake time: 30 mins | Yield 9 blondies of 3x3" each
- 1 cup (115grams) all purpose flour (maida), sifted
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 cup (200gms) firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100gms) butter, melted
- 8 ounces (225gms) mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2-1/2 teaspoons of lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square tin and dust with flour. You could even line it with baking parchment.
2. Mix the melted butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the egg & vanilla extra and whisk well.
3. Add the lemon juice, zest & mascarpone cheese and mix until incorporated. Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt in parts & mix well.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin & spread the surface with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
5. Remove the tin cool it on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Then carefully invert onto the rack.
6. When completely cool cut into equal sized squares and serve.