Black Tea Blondies With Caramel Swirl

blondiesLess decadent than its chocolate-based counterpart, the blondie often suffers from an overly enthusiastic addition of sugar. Enter Elisabeth Prueitt, champion baker and co- founder of San Francisco’s Tartine bakery. In an updated version of her 2006 baking bible, Prueitt mixes a perfectly balanced blondie: not too sweet, and full of complex flavor, thanks to finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves and a salted caramel swirl. Taking the blondie far beyond basic, Prueitt gets the classic dessert just right.

1½ cups + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Earl Grey tea leaves, finely ground
2¼ cups dark brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
Caramel sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9 x 13–inch glass baking dish.

Sift the flour and ground tea into a small bowl. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top and drag a knife horizontally left to right, creating a marbled design. Bake until the center and the sides have risen evenly, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, cut the blondies to the desired size. They will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days.

Caramel Sauce
Makes about 1½ cups
⅔ cup heavy cream
¼ vanilla bean
1¼ cups sugar
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Pour the cream into a small, heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape the seeds from the pod halves into the cream. Place over medium to medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low to keep the cream warm.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then cook, without stirring, until the mixture is amber colored, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. The mixture will continue to cook off the heat and become darker, so make sure to have your cream close by. Carefully and slowly add the cream to the sugar syrup. The mixture will boil vigorously at first. Let the mixture simmer down, and then whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Cut the butter into 1-inch chunks and add them to the caramel one at a time, whisking constantly after each addition. Then whisk the caramel periodically as it continues to cool. The caramel will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Makes 16-20 blondies, depending on size.

Reprinted from Tartine Revisited by Elisabeth Prueitt with permission by Chronicle Books, 2019.


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