Blogging and cooking has not only been therapeutic for me but it’s also introduced me to many many wonderful people and fellow bloggers I am proud and honored to call my friends. We’ve had this post ready to go for a few days now and during that time, Buenos Aires was hit with huge storm. This guest post is from my dear friend, Paula, who lives in Buenos Aires. The guest post and recipe below is hers and I am so honored to have her here. Paula, thank you again, dear friend.
Some of my friends ask me how I have time to cook and bake so often, watch and play with the kids, blog and keep the house in order etc. I’d like to think that I channel Superwoman sometimes and I am a big believer in- if you want to do it, you’ll find the time. Some days, my cape is boldly flying in the air, my hands are on my hip, my chest in the air and I feel like I can do anything. Everything. All within a 24 hour period. Other days, I feel blah and lazy and I just want to take a nap with my 2 year old and stay in bed. These are the days I let the laundry pile up, the toys and clutter remain where they are, I’m not as strict about the homework and I heat up leftovers or make chicken nuggets. Or, we order a pizza.
Superwoman ate pizza. I’m sure of it.
This week is Spring Break and we are headed to Los Angeles to see my brother’s family, meet up with friends and eat. I can’t wait. I somehow thought in this crazy head of mine that I could still cook one or two dishes while in LA and keep the posts going. . It sometimes takes a while for reality to set in for me and then I take a step back and re-access my priorities, my thinking etc. This week is for relaxation, getting some sun and spending time with family and friends. The blog is very very important to me but I know when to ask for help. I know when to reach out to my outrageously talented blogger/foodie/baker friends.
So, I did.
I am so thrilled to be bringing you two amazing recipes this week from my dear friends. I have mad respect for these women and appreciate them so much.
Today’s guest post is from Paula Montenegro from Vintage Kitchen. I have so much respect and admiration for Paula, her blog, her recipes and her writing. She is real and I love that. She is honest. Paula not only has stunning, absolutely delicious, you want to run into your kitchen immediately and bake/cook her recipe recipes, but she also writes about real stuff going on. You will find her in every one of her posts. Whenever I read her posts, I read everything, making sure to click on whatever she has hyperlinked because I know it will take me somewhere wonderful. I am so happy to have met Paula through food blogging and our cooking/baking groups. . and I look forward to the day when we can meet, hug and stuff our faces with wonderful, delicious food. You must visit her blog. Here are some of her recipes to entice you: Corn Basil Handpies, Mushroom Leek and Shallot Quiche, Caramelized Monkey Bread, Soft Pretzels with Spicy Beer Cheese Sauce and you must check this one out, Dulce de Leche Mille Feuille.
Oh yeah, and Paula has a blog in Spanish too, Jengibre Azul (Blue Ginger). I’m giving my cape to Paula. She is Superwoman.
Caramel Congo Bars from Paula at Vintage Kitchen
How are you today Hip Foodie Mom readers? Another week is starting and I’m here to tell you about some superb bars that I hope will start making an appearance in your kitchen. There is something very special when one of your best blogging friends asks you to guest post for her, as is the case with Alice today. I don’t know when we clicked exactly, but for a few months now she and I have bonded over recipes, ways of thinking about food, emails. She’s my sweet, talented friend whom I hope to meet some day, hopefully very soon.
So it’s fair that I share with you one of my favorite findings of the last weeks. Caramel Congo Bars, or a layer of blondie topped with a layer of brownie and drizzled with dulce de leche or caramel sauce. I blog from Buenos Aires, that’s in the southern hemisphere, so Fall has just started. Am I happy to let the very hot summer go! The kitchen is a much nicer place during good weather seasons don’t you think? For the last few weeks the leaves are piling up in the streets, which I love, though not so much when they pile up in my terrace and I have to sweep them, and the days are getting shorter, which is probably what I dislike the most about winter.
But any seasonal crankiness can be remedied by a good recipe with chocolate and our everyday milk jam spread here, dulce de leche. We use it on everything. If you never made it, I think you should, at least once. I know Alice started making it recently; just ask her how she feels about it, ha. These congo bars might be something of an ideal recipe for several reasons. They taste incredibly good, have all the right flavors together without being too much, travel well and, very important for me, are a dream to cut at room temperature. That’s how I like to eat them too. I think chocolate flavor improves greatly when it’s at room temperature.
As for the glaze, you can leave it out, use the one I suggest or use a chocolate ganache. It does add to the flavor, but it’s not essential. Though it does look wonderful, doesn’t it? I never froze these bars, because they never lasted much, but there’s no reason why that shouldn’t work too.
- 1⅓ cups (175g) all purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3oz. (85g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 ¼ cups (225g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup + 2 Tbs (150g) all purpose flour
- ¼ cup (25g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4oz. (115g) unsalted butter
- 4oz. (115g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1⅓ cups (260g) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup dulce de leche or caramel sauce
- 2 Tbs cream
- Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC. Line a 13x9 inch (33x23 cm) baking pan with foil that hangs down the two long sides, or butter and flour it.
- In a bowl mix the melted butter, sugar, egg, egg white and vanilla until well blended.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt directly on top of the mixture and mix until no dry spots remain. Drop the blondie thick batter by tablespoons onto the pan.
- Carefully spread the mixture, trying to get an even layer. Don´t become too obsessed with it though. Sprinkle the nuts on top.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until it´s no longer shiny on top. This is only a partial bake, so don´t let it bake completely and dry out.
- Transfer to a wire rack while you make the brownie layer.
- Melt chocolate and butter together, either in the microwave (at 30 second intevals, stirring well between each. It should take a minute or so to melt), or on top of a double boiler without letting the bottom of the pan touch the water. Transfer chocolate mix to a bow and let cool a few minutes.
- Add sugar and mix well with a spatula. Add eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and mix until smooth. Don´t beat the batter.
- Finally add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, sifting it directly on top of the chocolate batter. (You can sift all dry ingredients before onto a piece of wax paper or a bowl too, and then just add them without sifting again). Mix well with the spatula.
- Spread evenly on top of the blondie layer. To do this, drop the thick batter in tablespoons all through the surface, then spread carefully with the back of a spoon or a spatula. The warm blondie layer will help the spreading a bit.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until it´s dry on top and a tester comes out with moist (but not wet) crumbs attached. Don´t let it dry or the bars will be tough.
- Let cool on a wire rack. Unmold, drizzle with dulce de leche or caramel and serve.
- Heat dulce de leche or caramel with the cream in a small saucepan, until it becomes thinner.
Recipe barely adapted from Baking for all Occasions, by Flo Braker