I've had rhubarb on my mind. I know that's a weird thing to occupy someone's thoughts, but I tend to get an ingredient stuck into my head and it won't go away until I bake something with it. I realised a week or so ago that there hasn't been anywhere near enough rhubarb desserts in my kitchen this winter. This had to be rectified immediately, before winter disappears.
So I ended up with these Rhubarb & Ginger Blondies. I love me some ginger, and I made sure there was plenty of it in these blondies with candied pieces and a load of ground ginger. The spicy kick is a great match for the tart roasted rhubarb pieces that sit on top of these blondies like jewels. To cook the rhubarb I stuck to my favourite roasting method because I love the way it retains that gorgeous ruby colour in the fruit.
If you're not into ginger you can replace the candied bits with some white chocolate, or maybe some strawberry pieces. We all know how well strawberry and rhubarb go together! I love playing around with different blondie flavours. Blondies and brownies are so evil, I can eat crazy quantities of both and will still be craving more. It's great that they are so easy to make, you basically just need one big bowl to mix them up.
The hardest part for me is waiting for them to cool before cutting it up. I can never hold out! The smell of these babies baking in the oven is wonderful, and made the wait even harder. This is probably why I chopped up the pieces in all sorts of wonky sizes. I was rushing just to try a piece!
The one thing that bugs me is that I tend to overbake my blondies/brownies. I always get nervous if the middle is still a bit wet and I tend to leave it in the oven longer than I should, forgetting that it will cook through a bit more as you wait for it to cool completely in the pan. Don't make this mistake! There's nothing worse than a dried out, overbaked blondie or brownie. Luckily this time around I didn't overbake them too much, they were still lovely and soft in the middle. It seemed like the perfect way to farewell winter.
Rhubarb and Ginger Blondies
(adapted from Martha Stewart, makes 16)
For the roasted rhubarb:
1 bunch rhubarb (about 200g/7oz, trimmed weight), chopped into 2cm thick pieces
55g (1/4 cup) sugar (or more to taste)
Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place chopped rhubarb in a baking dish/roasting pan that will hold them comfortably. Sprinkle over sugar and zest and stir until the rhubarb is covered in sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes, or just long enough for a little syrup to start to form. Cover baking dish with foil and roast in preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Take a peek and if the sugar isn't almost completely melted, stir the rhubarb, re-cover the pan with the foil and roast a few minutes more. Remove the foil and let the rhubarb roast for another 2 minutes or so, until the syrup is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool before using. Can be prepared the night before serving and chilled in an airtight container.
For the blondies:
115g (about 1 stick) butter, melted, plus more for pan
1/2 cup (about 100g) packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup (about 75g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
125g (1 cup) plain/all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp (about 35g) candied/glace ginger, chopped into small cubes
Roasted rhubarb, prepared above
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), Brush a 20cm (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. In a large bowl, whisk butter and sugar until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour, salt, ground ginger and chopped candied ginger; stir together just until moistened (take care to not overmix). Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top as best as you can (mixture will be quite sticky). Carefully press pieces of rhubarb into the surface of the mixture, try to avoid the very edges of the pan. Bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick/skewer inserted into the center (a non-rhubarb part) comes out clean, about 30 mins depending on your oven. Set pan on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift cake from pan and transfer to a cutting board; cut into 16 squares. Can be stored in an airtight container for two days.