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Rachael | Set the Table

Hello! 

Welcome to Set the Table! My name is Rachael and I'm here to help you set your table with beautiful, healthy, delicious food your family and friends will love. More importantly, I'm here to encourage you to welcome everyone to your table. Talk. Listen. Laugh. Eat. Be kind. 

Hand Made Baking: Nancy Drew Blondies

Hand Made Baking: Nancy Drew Blondies

We are three weeks into this whole we-have-two-kids life. It has both flown by and moved in slow motion. (Trust me, that is totally possible.) While we certainly experience difficult moments each and every day, this has proven to be easier on us than the first time around. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we were prepared for all the sleep deprivation, the constant nursing, and the general upheaval of life as we knew it. Whatever the reason, I'm relieved that this little bundle has slid relatively easily into our lives. Riley is being an amazing big brother. He brings little gifts to Braden throughout the day, including his favorite blankie, and doesn't get upset (yet) when his baby brother is crying and inconsolable.

Another bonus has been that my healing post-Cesarian section has been rather speedy. Could it be that these Nancy Drew Blondies, which I baked and handed out to the nurses at the hospital, had a hand in all of this? I'm going to say yes. At the very least, this little treat brought a smile to the team of nurses that took care of us during our hospital stay. I wanted to make them feel comforted and appreciated because I knew they would make me feel the same way. This recipe from my friend Kamran's book, Hand Made Baking, did not let me down!

Kamran was one of the first food bloggers I really connected with when I started this crazy gig several years ago. I've always admired his grace, both in his craft and his character. He is a wildly talented person with so many good things, recipes and otherwise, to share with the world. When I received his book in the mail and read the dedication he wrote to me (yes, I'm going to humble-brag about that) I immediately teared up. Seeing someone you care about and respect have success like his is such a wonderful thing. One look inside the pages of his book and you can see the immense care and passion he has poured into every photo and recipe.

Kamran, you've just begun what I'm sure will be an incredible career. I'm humbled and honored to be even a small part of your journey. Thank you.

If you are looking for a Valentine's Day gift for your partner, a friend, or yourself, I think Hand Made Baking is perfection. I've made several recipes, all of which have been flawless, and have no doubt that if you baked any of the wonderful items from this book for your Valentine, you'd win.

If you'd like to purchase the book, click here. You won't regret it!

Nancy Drew Blondies from Hand Made Baking by Kamran Siddiqi

Makes 16-36 blondies

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar (or muscovado sugar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (or dark, which is what I used)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped (or pecans, which is what I used)

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper (or aluminum foil), leaving an overhang around each side.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and use a wooden spoon to mix in the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Quickly stir in the egg. Add the flour, white chocolate chips, milk (or dark) chocolate chips, and walnuts (or pecans). Stir everything until just incorporated. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and set in the middle.

Allow to cool completely in the pan before lifting the ends of the parchment paper to transfer the blondies to a cutting board. Cut into 16, 25, or 36 squares, depending on which size you prefer. I went for close to 25.

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