Sunday, May 07, 2017

Raspberry Blondes

One of the joys of living not too far from San Francisco is that family and friends find it no hardship to visit there. We also have family who live in the city, so we are there a number of times a year.

There was a family gathering in San Francisco yesterday, with all four members of the Michigan branch there, all three members of the Sacramento area branch there, Sweetie and I and Coffee Man, the sweetie of T-Rose who lives in SF.

Food is always an important part of any gathering in my family. Mark was in charge of most of the food, so we knew it would be creative, top-notch, perfectly cooked with fresh ingredients, and delicious. In order to work up an appetite, we decided to visit Golden Gate Park, a few blocks away. It was a beautiful day, breezy and bright and not too hot. After a meandering walk in the park, and went up in the De Young museum tower, which gives a 360 degree view.

The entrance to the bay was sort of foggy, but you could see the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then we walked back. There were so many flowers blooming and tiny wild strawberries lined some of the paths. Lots of people, too, but that's part of the fun.

After the walk (which was almost too long for Sweetie as he has been mostly resting the last two weeks), we had mint juleps in honor of Derby Day, watched the running of the race in the terrible muck that the track was, and enjoyed the onion tart which I baked earlier in the day at home. I'll post the tart recipe tomorrow or the next day. It is a variation of this tart. As we caught up on family news, Mark finished off the feast.

The feast was a truly delicious slow cooked pork shoulder with Asian seasonings, served with rice and lettuce cups (well, lettuce and radicchio). Mark had created sauces to go with it which included one with cilantro, lemongrass and ginger, plus a hot one, and some kimchi. There was a delicious salad of roasted corn kernels, avocado, and various kinds of peppers. We almost didn't have room for dessert...almost.

Natasha from Sac area had shared with me that she would be bringing something from Freeport Bakery,

so I knew I should bring something non-dairy for myself. The bakery goody was their famous Princess Cake,

a wonderful creation of sponge cake, chocolate, custard, raspberry jam, much whipped cream and marzipan over it all.

My raspberry blonde bar with fresh raspberries, plenty of aromatic white chocolate, slivered almonds, macadamia nuts and coconut (but no brown sugar) was equally delicious and went really well with a cup of peppermint tea. The bars are moist, very almondy, have lots of mellow but crunchy nuts and the raspberries go so well with the almond and coconut top notes.

Sweetie was fading fast by then, so we headed home. Happy Derby Day! Try some of these Raspberry Blondes yourself the next time you have some fresh raspberries on hand. If you love white chocolate you will love these bars!

Raspberry Blondes 
makes 24

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or non-dairy butter, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1 1/2 cups blanched slivered almonds
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup white chocolate chips and chunks (I used about half chips and half hand broken white chocolate chunks)
1/2 pint fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried lightly with a paper towel (don't crush)

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Melt the butter and sugar together in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter and sugar are blended and completely melted and starting to bubble gently. Remove the pan from heat and let the mixture cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk the cooled butter and sugar mixture into the eggs just until combined. Whisk in the flour and baking powder to form a loose batter. (Make sure the batter is cool before stirring in the remaining ingredients, otherwise the chocolate will start to melt before the bars are baked.)

Stir the nuts, coconut, and white chocolate chips and chunks into the cooled batter. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Distribute the raspberries over the batter as evenly as possible. Pour the remaining batter over the berries and smooth with a spatula.

Bake until the top is shiny and slightly crackled and feels firm to the touch, 30 – 35 minutes. A wooden skewer inserting into the batter should come out with moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cool on a wire rack to room temperature, then cut into bars and serve.

1 comment :

  1. Beth in Taos12:36 PM

    The gathering sounds wonderful, and so do the Raspberry Blondes - I may have to try those!