Chai-spiced blondie with Italian meringue and glittery orange dust
This was my creation for traybake week at Edinburgh Uni Baking Society. It’s basically my take on the best drink in existence- the chai latte. I would have added a pinch of cardamom into the blondie mix too to make it a little more authentic, but being lazy/poor/forgetful, I didn’t get any from the shop. Seemed to be ok without though, as it won me “Star Baker” for the week :) If you don’t have a sugar thermometer then the meringue could easily be replaced with marshmallow fluff or whipped cream, and for those without a blender/food processor/time to faff around with all that jazz, it tastes fine without the orange dust, or orange zest would also work I imagine.
For the blondie base:
300g soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs
100ml or so of milk (any kind- I used skimmed because that’s all I had to hand)
1tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
150g white chocolate (use chocolate chips, or chop up a bar)
Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Cream the butter and sugar together, then gradually add the eggs, vanilla and milk. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Sieve into the butter/sugar/egg mixture and gently fold until combined. Add a drop of milk if the mixture is too stiff. Fold in the white chocolate until evenly distributed, then spread out onto a lined 12X7 inch pan. Bake at 180 for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
For the Italian meringue:
3 large egg whites (room temperature)
170g caster sugar
1tsp lemon juice
In a pan, combine the sugar and water. On a medium heat, stir until dissolved, then stop stirring and place a sugar thermometer in the pan. You need the mixture to reach 115 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites with lemon juice in a large bowl using a handheld mixer (or a stand mixer, if you’re lucky enough to own one!) until soft peaks form. When the sugar syrup reaches 115 Celsius, pour the syrup steadily into the egg whites, whisking continuously (you may need someone to give you a hand with this!). Keep whisking until stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters. It may take a few minutes. Pipe on to the blondie base, or just dollop and spread if you cannae be bothered :)
For the glittery orange dust (makes FAR more than you need, but keeps well in an airtight container)
The peel from 1 orange (I just used a veggie peeler), roughly chopped
100g ish of sugar (I have to admit, I didn’t weigh it out)
More sugar to add to taste
Edible glitter (optional, but seriously, everything is better with glitter. EVERYTHING)
Put the orange peel and sugar into a pan, and heat on a medium/low heat. I’m probably breaking all rules of cooking here, but keep stirring it. The sugar should caramelise, and then recrystallise. Usually this is a disaster in the world of sugar, but you want it to be crunchy, not syrupy, so that you get a powder instead of mush when you blend it. If it doesn’t crystallise just add more sugar and lower the temperature. Be careful and don’t let the sugar burn- when it starts to get a caramel tinge, take it off the heat. Tip the solid sugar/orange mix onto a plate covered in baking paper to cool. Don’t be tempted to have a taste just yet… I tried, and have a burn on my lip to prove it!
When cooled, blitz in a spice grinder/food processor/blender until a fine dust forms. Add sugar a little at a time, pulsing between each addition until it’s just the right sweetness for you, and finish off by adding glitter.