I’m not going to lie, moving to a brand new city is hard. While New York has been amazing, there are definitely things that I’m struggling with in my new home. For instance, learning how to shop effectively cause groceries cost a million dollars, but also learning that I can’t just buy 5 bags of food at once because I only have 2 arms. Or the fact that I realllllllllly have to work on my breathing exercises when the subway decides to evacuate because of police incidences, or even scarier when the subway breaks down underground and I’m stuck in the dark for half an hour. I do think though, the hardest thing has been the nagging feeling of loneliness that occurs when you first move to a place where you don’t have many friends.
This past week and weekend, I was definitely feeling way more homesick just cause I felt like I wasn’t really fitting in at my school and also because even after budgeting, making ends meet was still the hardest thing in the world. BUT, I guess the world knew what I needed because the two loveliest new friends that I met came over for a baking and Great British Baking date. Sitting around the dining table and laughing about random things just brought me the greatest joy the world. Also, we chose to make brown butter blondies, which legitimately are like GIANT, WARM HUGS (how can you get better than that).
These blondies, which are adapted from Food52’s recipe, have been my go to recipe since day one in terms of comfort dessert. They can be adapted so easily for whatever you’re in the mood for (nuts, chocolate, white chocolate, fruit, pretzels, chips, honestly everything but the kitchen sink), and when I need a pick me up, it’s dark chocolate chunks all the way. So, my friends are long gone, and it’s just me and the last piece of brown butter blondie, but it’s beautiful souls like them that truly make a place home.
In other news, I’m loving Columbia’s public health program! I was so worried that public health wasn’t the right choice, but I’ve loved everything from learning about the history of public health to discussing the economics of public health (more on that later). OH and can we talk about how New York City is literally dessert heaven?? Where else are you going to find a doughnut store next to a cookie shop next door to a cupcake bakery??
And for those of you who can’t, try out these brown butter blondies, they’re not a perfect substitute, but do come darn near close! They’re chewy, caramel-y, marbled in chocolate and oh, so delicious that you might even want to hide your pan.
*PRO TIP ON HOW TO BROWN BUTTER: Browning butter is hard! The best way to brown butter is to use a small or medium sized sauce pan and cut the butter into smaller sized cubes before placing in pan and melting to help the butter melt evenly. You’ll start to hear small crackles and pops when the butter begins to brown and it’ll look like the white “foam” layer on the top of the melted butter is slowly “boiling” off. After awhile, the crackling sounds will begin to die down and you’ll be able to see light golden specks on the bottom of the pan, remove the saucepan immediately from heat and the residual heat will bring the brown butter to a perfect dark golden color.
BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES | Adapted from Food52 | Makes one 10″ cake tin
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- Heaping 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks or bars chopped into bite-sized pieces
- Preheat your oven to 350 (F).
- In a medium sized sauce pan, brown butter* (refer to note above) and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Then add in both brown sugar and white sugar into sauce pan and mix browned butter and sugars together thoroughly. Let cool for 10-15 minutes (this is an important step, otherwise your eggs will curdle!)
- Add in vanilla and salt into pan and again mix thoroughly.
- Crack both eggs into the pan and whisk or beat mixture together until it takes on a shiny consistency (that will mean that the eggs have properly emulsified the mixture, basically, it means when you bake it, the butter won’t leak out of your blondies and be a gross mess).
- Then stir in flour and once flour is thoroughly incorporated, fold in the chocolate chunks.
- Pour into pan and bake for 25-28 minutes. Blondies are done when surface looks golden and flaky (depending on how much chocolate you put in the blondie, a toothpick will not come out clean no matter what).
- Let cool before attempting to cut into it otherwise blondie pieces will come out gooey and uneven.
- Blondies will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.