The above picture looks cute, I’m sure. Three hands – one of which is barely big enough to hold an egg – reaching across the coffee table to grab a just-cut, freshly baked blondie that finished cooling on the countertop only moments before. In reality, the older brothers are mocking the youngest one, whose pudgy fingers find their way into all of my food photos these days, because I have exactly two seconds to take a snap before he tries devour whatever he finds on the plate.
It’s adorable, without a doubt, but equally as frustrating. I try to plan my photo sessions around naptimes, but since those are few and far between these days (and always have been), my 13-month-old assistant is around for most of my working hours. The writing part of my work I try to reserve for a booth at Starbucks one night a week, or, more frequently, the front seat of my vehicle. Jerry Seinfeld may be a comedian in a car getting coffee, but Jan Scott is a writer in a mini van with a hot chocolate and a sleeping toddler. My non-napper will almost always sleep in the car, so sometimes we drive until he dozes off and then I park somewhere with a nice view, or where I can access some Wi-Fi, haul out my laptop, and write in the car while it’s quiet. Did you ever think working from home could be so glamorous?
When we aren’t hauling around the travelling workbag, we spend most of our mornings in the kitchen coming up with new recipes, like this sweet and salty whole-wheat blondie. There’s something so satisfying about sinking your teeth into a traditional brownie, but the sugar and fat content are admittedly a little higher than I like for an everyday snack. Since the big boys can scarf down half a pan in one sitting, I try to make treats like these a little healthier when I can. In this recipe, I’ve swapped whole-wheat flour for the all-purpose kind, and reduced the sugar and butter by roughly forty percent. The result is a not-too-sweet afternoon treat that everyone, toddler included, wants in on.
Sweet and Salty Whole Wheat Blondies
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons liquid honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup chopped pretzel sticks
- Optional: Maldon sea salt, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and line with a piece of parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a second bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and honey. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until almost combined. Add the chocolate chips and pretzel pieces and mix until just blended.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with a little sea salt, if using. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the centre is soft but barely set. It will firm up as it cools. Once completely cooled, cut into 24 squares.