Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Home Grown Tomatoes...Let's keep it together

Blondes and Brunettes

Home Grown Tomatoes is a weekly Vegan/Vegetarian column by Giovanina Bucci

I'm always reminded, after returning from various traveling excursions, how much I adore my home (by home, I mean small, charming apartment).  I even begin to love the things that normally annoy me, like folding laundry.  After my awesome trip to Denver two weekends ago, I spent this last weekend in Prescott, Arizona.  Friends from St. Thomas, who now live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, got married and asked me to join them for their weekend of festivities.  The weekend was full of old friends and new and took place in a beautiful cabin tucked up in the woods of Arizona.  We laughed, ate, relaxed, played music, played pool, drank wine, and celebrated being part of this amazing couple's weekend.  They got married in the cabin right in front of the giant free-standing stone fire place which has given me this sudden urge to run out and buy a fireplace, wood stove, something that may evoke that priceless ambiance and leave the smell of oak lingering throughout my house...ahhhh...that would be nice.  Fireplace or not, it's good to be home.  At least until the next excursion.

I have to be honest though, with all of this mini-vacationing I've been doing, it has not left me with much time to test out the new mandolin or turn the kitchen upside down in hopes of creating amazing new recipes.  But I have been digging.  I have been digging deep into my food picture archives and completely forgot about these little numbers, which were inspired by My Sweet Vegan.  In her repertoire of desserts, Hannah Kaminsky has two Blondie recipes: Black Bottom Blondies and Butterscotch Blondies.  Although the recipes are relatively similar, I used the Butterscotch recipe, split the batch in two and added cocoa powder and chocolate chips to one half. 

Serving Size: 9-12 bars, grease 8x8 in. baking pan

1/4 C. Earth Balance butter
1 1/2 C dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. plain soy yogurt (or vanilla yogurt, if you would like some extra sweetness)
1/3 C. soy creamer
2 C. non-enriched, unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Begin by melting the Earth Balance and then stirring in the remaining wet ingredients.  Once the wet ingredients are mixed well, go ahead and stir in the flour and baking powder until smooth.  This is the point whereby I separate the batch into two even halves and add in a 1/4 C. of dutch process cocoa powder and (vegan) chocolate chips to one half!  Pour your chocolate layer into the bottom of your greased pan, and then top with the blond layer.  Bake bars for about 25 to 30 minutes - the texture of these comes out pretty chewy and gooey.  Sometimes I like to opt to leave the chocolate out, but either way, they have a really subtle sweetness and a very palatable texture.

Also, there are all kinds of different flours out there, that are at least a bit better for you than white flour, so explore and experiment with some options.  Changing flours doesn't necessarily mean that you have to compromise the flavor or texture of your baked good!  To give you some examples to try...spelt, barley, wheat, amaranth, brown rice, millet, there's tons!  Enjoy!

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