Is it Thursday already? Where has this week gone? Oh well, one day closer to Friday, am I right? So over the weekend, I got my first taste of
summer for the season. Both Saturday and Sunday were heavenly, hovering in the low 80’s, full of sunshine and light breezes, and ideal outdoor days. The hubs and I got two great runs in along the High Line Canal trail (he’s back in the running game after a 3 month battle with runner’s knee, so I am extremely excited), and spent the rest of our time cleaning up our back patio and planting our potted herb garden.
What did we plant, you may be asking? My absolute herb garden staples: sweet basil, sweet mint, rosemary, lavender, lemon thyme, and sage. These are herbs I use so often, both in cooking and in cocktails (well maybe not lemon thyme in cocktails, but everything else, absolutely!). We also planted a strawberry plant. My sister-in-law planted one last summer and it did so well in the Colorado weather I thought I would give it a go! The other thing to keep in mind is that I pot everything. I like to change it up each year, and some herbs do not make it through the winter months here. Furthermore, I refuse to plant mint in the ground because it will spread like wildfire and it’s nearly impossible to get rid of. This allows me to monitor what I have and how much watering I need to do, and it’s so manageable.
After all our hard work planting, cleaning off patio furniture, hosing the entire patio down, and removing leaves and fallen blossoms, our outdoor area was usable again! We spent Sunday evening grilling – I prepared salmon fillets with lime butter sauce and the hubs made a delicious sirloin – making cocktails (blackberry mojitos, yum! It was Kentucky Derby weekend, we had to have mint-inspired cocktails afterall), and baking! My friend Justine, who so graciously hosted my gaggle of girlfriends the weekend prior for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC, found a delightful recipe for Cake Batter Blondies. She attempted to explain the odd connection she has with the creator of this amazing recipe, but I will not attempt to relay that here. Thanks to Sally’s Baking Addiction blog (and now cookbook!), we’ve got a favorite new blondie recipe.
The hubs loves blondies, so I try to surprise him with new twists on this delectable classic. His mom used to make blondies for him as a child, and it has become his comfort dessert. She shared her recipe with me while he and I were still dating, and it was literally titled “Robbie’s Blondies.” It’s a sacred recipe to be sure. Switching it up, however, is always a fun way to rediscover his favorite treat. He and I both adore cake batter (almost) anything, so this recipe is the perfect combination of awesome. Plus, it’s super easy to make! I will not promise any health value, but enjoyment, most definitely.
1 box yellow cake mix (any kind will do, but if at altitude, check high altitude instructions)
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 – ½ cup milk (less is better, I used 1/3)
½ cup sprinkles (better to use larger multi-colored sprinkles than the small round type)
½ cup white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray 11×7 baking pan with nonstick spray (I realized I do not own a 11×7 baking pan, so I used a 8×8 and a 6×4 baking dish separately, so they weren’t as dense).
Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl, adding the milk slowly. You want the cake batter to be as dense & thick as possible. Mix in the sprinkles and white chocolate chips. Pour into prepared baking pan, sprinkle a few more sprinkles on top, and bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are just turning brown (at high altitude 25-26 minutes is recommended).
Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes so the center sets, before cutting into squares. Keep in mind they will not appear to be fully done as the center will be gooey and fudgy. This is the ideal consistency, however, so do not cut them until they’ve cooled! Sally also notes not to use black sprinkles – it will turn the batter black before you bake… and that wouldn’t look so pretty!
What have you been up to recently? Anyone else loving the ability to bask in the outdoors? What fun twists do you have for your baking favorites?