When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my mother read an article that stated almonds had all sorts of health benefits. (My mom was very keen on healthy food, and later went on to cook up all sorts of things for us from Adelle Davis‘ “Let’s Eat Right To Keep Fit” and “Let’s Cook it Right”. Which meant that we had to have wheat germ on everything, powdered milk became a commonplace ingredient [why? WHY?], and we for some godforsaken reason had to have Brewer’s Yeast in our orange juice. The Author reports that his own mother went through a similar healthy food tyranny and says that every day before school he was fed a spoonful of malt extract with cod liver oil. Now that I think of it, I got off easy.) But back to the golden years…
My mom figured that to get our daily requirement of almonds and their beneficent vitamins and minerals, we should have an Almond Joy bar every day. Hallelujah! A child’s dream come true. For a few short weeks, I was allowed to take a half packet of Almond Joy to school in my lunchbox.
I don’t remember when this changed, I just know that it was short-lived. But my mother’s knack for finding the healthy kernel of any food has stuck with me. Unless you are eating pure manufactured junk, chances are that there is a lot of goodness in what you are eating. Here’s one example: brownies have lots of eggs (“one of the best sources of protein available”), cocoa (good for your blood pressure), and dark chocolate (good for your microbes!). Who knew? Well, probably my mom did.
All this is of course leading to our next health food, Blondies. Packed with all the flavinoids of brownies but with the added benefit of oats, you can’t afford not to make them. Really. They’re too good for you!
makes 16 to 20 small squares
My kids like to call these Goldies because, as they rightly point out, we don’t call brownies “brunetties”. Whatever you call them, you’ll find they’re pretty easy to whip up. If you can wait until they cool slightly before cutting them, you will get a nice clean edge. If you can’t wait, you will get a chocolatey gooey centre. Your call.
- 110g (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
- 220g (1 packed cup) brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 125g (1 cup) flour
- 50g (1/2 cup) oats
- 90g (1/2 cup) chocolate chips
Grease an 8 inch x 8 inch pan and line with parchment. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth.
Beat in the egg and then vanilla. If you beat this well, you will have a nice shiny crust on top of the blondies.
Add salt, stir in flour and oats. When everything is combined well, lightly mix in chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F (180°C) 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. (The centre should feel the same as the edges when you lightly press it.)
Cool in the pan, then – using the parchment as a sled – pull the blondies out of the pan. Cut them into squares, try one, and feel the benefits coursing through your body.