White Chocolate & Chilli Blondies

I have a new obsession: hot chocolate. And I don’t mean the rich tisane to which this commonly refers; I mean the marriage of chocolate with spice in the form of cakes and confectionary.
White Chocolate Chilli Blondies 4

I know this concept isn’t new in the world of gastronomy but I’ve never really explored it until recently. This recipe was my first attempt at combining the two and it was a great success. Often, chilli is paired with dark chocolate but I decided to start with a white chocolate base, since I hoped the extra sweetness of white chocolate would soften the bite of adding fresh chillies. And holistically, this duo creates a perfect harmony. The sweet, caramelly white chocolate is just zinged up ever so slightly by the subtle heat of the chillies. It’s barely enough to detect – I’m not sure a blind taste test would immediately pinpoint the chillies – but it’s there at the end of each mouthful, the rich fudge-like blast followed by a tiny whisper of spice. I think it prevents the sweetness of the blondie being too cloying and leaves behind a wonderful note of warmth.
White Chocolate Chilli Blondies 2_cleaner

White Chocolate Chilli Blondies

200g/7oz butter
300g/10½oz quality white chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
150g/5oz caster sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
200g/7oz plain flour, sifted
Pinch of salt

For the chillies:
1 large fresh red chilli, de-seeded
1 large fresh green chilli, de-seeded
100g/3½oz caster sugar
150ml/5fl oz water

Heat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4.

Lightly butter a 20cm x 30cm/8in x 12in straight-sided baking tin and line the base with greaseproof paper. Finely slice the chillies on the diagonal. Combine the sugar, water and chillies and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for five minutes.

In a heatproof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, melt the butter with 150g/5oz of the white chocolate, whisking well until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until pale. Beat in the melted white chocolate mixture.

Fold in the sifted flour and salt, then the remaining chopped white chocolate. Drain the chillies and add most of them to the batter.

Pour into the baking pan, strew the remaining chillies on top, and bake for 25 minutes or until the top is firm and lightly golden. Remove and cool in the pan. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before slicing into squares with a sharp knife. These will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or can be frozen for 1 month.

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