One of the best things about moving to Ra’anana is that not only did I get reacquainted with friends from the past (for instance, Karen from high school), but the second generation has kicked in, and my kids are now friends with their kids. Way back in the day, before the second generation was even a twinkle in our eyes, Jonathan was a friend of The X. He used to come over for Shabbat and abuse our bathroom. A few years later he married Vicki, one of my favorite yummy mummies. We didn’t see each other often as a couple, usually just at weddings and other celebrations. But when I married Ju-boy and moved into his burb, Jonathan and Vicki were just down the street, and the friendship was renewed, and a stronger link was forged. Jonathan is a loyal friend, and Vicki, well, Vicki is such an amazing cook she actually makes me think I have miles to go before I can keep up with her in the kitchen. Her petite frame has some wonderful shoulders and she’s a great friend, always willing to let me rant and set me straight about life.
Jonathan and Vicki’s son Shim-boy is friendly with my Tinky, but the closest bond is between my Didi and Leah. They started out in high school together, went on to do their bagruyot (matric) studies together, and now that both are in National Service (Didi in Afula, Leah in Jerusalem), they try to meet up when both manage to get home on the same weekends. They laugh together, fight, make up, go out for sushi and ice coffees (I hope not at the same time), and each one likes to raid the other one’s kitchen. Didi, picky thing that she is, will willingly eat anything Vicki puts in front of her, and Leah is always ready to sample my baking experiments.
With such devotion to kitchen quality assurance, how could I not play around with some of Leah’s favorite ingredients and make a brownie in her honor. Well, not exactly a brownie, with Leah’s tightly curled flaxen locks, it’s more of a blondie. A lambie blondie. A luscious lambie blondie. A Luscious Lambie Leah (always alliterative, actually).
White chocolate, check. Gooey caramel toffees, check. Light brown sugar, check. These luscious lambies are a combination of various ideas. The blondies are based on the Butterscotch Blondies found in Bruce Weinstein’s The Ultimate Brownie Book. The idea for the toffee filling comes from Carine Goren, my dessert diva. You need to flatten the toffees (or caramel squares). I made good use of Shy-boy. I highly suggest everyone acquire a step-son interested in cooking for this task, a valuable piece of kitchen equipment.
20 milk toffee candies (or caramel squares), unwrapped
1 2/3 cup white chocolate chips (divided)
3/4 stick unsalted butter (150 grams)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar (I used golden)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Flatten the toffees/caramels and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Line a 9×13 inch (23×33 cm) baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place 2/3 cup of the white chocolate chips and the butter together. Melt either on top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir until well combined and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda together until well combined, set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl beat the white sugar, light brown sugar and eggs at medium speed, for about 5 minutes, until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is light and creamy. Beat in the white chocolate mixture and the vanilla, 2 minutes or so, until everything is smooth and uniform.
- With a wooden spoon (I used a spatula), stir in the remaining 1 cup of white chocolate chips and the flour mixture. Do this until everything is just incorporated, do not beat, do not overmix! The batter will be very thick.
- Pour half of the blondie batter into the prepared pan. Then evenly place the flattened toffees/caramels over the surface of the batter. The gently pour the second half of the blondie batter over the flattened toffee/caramel layer, and smooth with your spoon/spatula until everything is covered. Do this gently.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is light brown. You can’t do the toothpick test here because of the goopiness of the filling.
- Chill well before cutting into squares.