If you've been reading my blog for long enough, then you know I'm a big fan of using tea in desserts (see here, here and here). I've had a few tea bags of chai mix sitting in my kitchen and decided that a white chocolate ganache infused with all those spices and tea would taste amazing. I was totally right. And then I spread a wonderfully thick layer of the this delicious ganache on top of a blondie, which I also added lots of similar spices to.
They might not be much to look at, but the flavour of these little squares really packs a punch. Think of biting into one of these fudgy, cakey squares and tasting the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, coriander seed, cloves and (my favourite) black pepper. I've been fascinated with using black pepper in sweet recipes, but this was the first time I really tested it out. I really, really love the way the pepper adds a little zing of flavour to this recipe. You wouldn't think it would work but it does, trust me. Just a word of warning, keep a close eye on your oven and don't let the blondies overcook like I did, I wish that mine were a lot less cooked through (still tasted awesome though).
Spiced Blondies with Chai-Infused Ganache
(adapted from Martha's Choc Chip Blondies, makes approx 16)
225g (2 sticks) salted butter, melted, plus more for pan (add 1/2 tsp salt to flour mixture if using unsalted butter)
275g (1 1/3 cup) packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 US cups (250g) plain flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground coriander seed
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
For the chai ganache:
2 tbsp chai tea mix (or two tea bags), I used T2 Chai
300ml (about 1 1/4 cups) pure/pouring cream (or heavy whipping cream in the US, min 35% fat unthickened)
400g (14 oz) good quality white chocolate, finely chopped.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), Brush a 17x27cm slice/brownie tin (or an 8-inch square baking pan) with butter; line pan with a piece of baking paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter paper. Sift flour and ground spices together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk butter and sugar until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour and spice mixture; stir together just until moistened (do not overmix). Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack, and let cool completely.
Prepare the ganache. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl. Place tea and cream in a medium saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from the heat when it just starts to boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate (strain to remove tea bits) and leave for 5 mins to allow chocolate to melt. Carefully whisk mixture until smooth (if there are still lumps, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir until they are gone). Set aside to cool (or chill if you want to speed it up), until has returned to room temperature and is thickened but still spreadable, whisking every 5 mins or so to keep it smooth. Spread thickly over the top of blondies, smoothing with a spatula. Leave to set for at least half an hour. Using baking paper overhang, lift cake from pan and transfer to a cutting board; cut into 16 pieces. Can be stored in an airtight container for several days.