Tonight I was the host for my book club. This fabulous group of women meets about every 6 weeks, we take turns choosing the book, and whoever chooses the book hosts and runs the discussion. I've been in it for 7 years, which is amazing because we've seen each other through so much -- jobs, relationships beginning and ending, marriages, babies. It's incredible! I really look forward to it every time.
I had chosen Three Cups of Tea, an amazing nonfiction story about a mountain climber who runs into trouble while attempting to scale K2, and ends up being saved by a Pakistani village. He stays in the village for a few months and discovers that the people who live there don't have a school. He returns to the U.S., raises the $12,000 he needs to build the school, then goes back and builds it, after enduring all kinds of setbacks and hardships. He then goes on to build dozens and dozens of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's a remarkable story, and all the girls in my book club loved it.
Anyway, so I was the host, and as such I led the talk and fed the ladies. We aren't supposed to cook (long story), so we got pizza and salad from a great local place called Layla Jones. But it's ok to make dessert, so naturally I did. I don't remember why, but for some reason I had it in my head that I wanted to make blondies. In trolling around the web looking for a recipe, I stumbled on one by Mark Bittman, aka the Minimalist from the NY Times. Now, if you know me, you know that I love Mark Bittman! So that was a plus. Also, the recipe was posted and raved about by one of my favorite food bloggers, the world-famous Deb of Smitten Kitchen. So I knew it had to be great.
And it was! The book club girls loved them. Yay!
Mark Bittman -- and Deb -- offer lots of ways to modify the recipe to dress it up, so this is my interpretation. Enjoy!
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
7 oz. dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. scotch whiskey
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup chocolate chips.
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Lightly mist the foil with cooking spray.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter with with the brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and lot cool for 5 minutes.
3. Beat in the egg and the scotch. Stir in the salt and flour. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips.
4. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until set in the middle. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. (I actually let them sit overnight at room temperature, covered, and they cut beautifully and tasted divine.)