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Friday, May 23, 2014

Carrot Cake Blondies inspired by Bridesmaids | #FoodnFlix

Carrot Cake Blondies
For the past few years now, the Food 'n Flix crew has managed to sneak some sort of wedding-related movie into our movie picks during wedding season. This year is no exception. We're kicking off that time of year with Evelyne's pick this month - Bridesmaids!

Bridesmaids, of course, has both of the usual suspects: cake and booze. What would a wedding be without them? But there are some other fun foodie aspects woven into the background if you're looking for them. While watching the film again (I hadn't seen it since it first came out), I wrote down things like:

  • Brazilian food ...but, not so appetizing when relating to the horribly disgusting and ridiculously funny "bathroom humor" scene. I passed on that idea.
  • Pink Lemonade ...inspired by the beautiful, fresh, and breezy lemonade offered to Annie as she arrives (still in her car) at Lillian's bridal shower.
  • Ginormous Heart-Shaped Cookie ...but then I'd have to put it on an easel and beat it up (it'd be too hard to resist).
  • Artichoke Dip ...because apparently Annie's mom makes a mean one.
  • Tuna Fish Salad with Maple Syrup Just no.
  • Scotch ...mmm, Scotch.

But in the end, I plucked out two of my favorite elements from the movie as inspiration. The first is the peace that comes over Annie when she is baking. Her bakery, Cake Baby, closed its doors due to the recession and basically she's in mourning. Her life is a shambles on all fronts, much of which is her own doing. But when she lets go and gives in to it, all seems right in the world - if only for a short time. Hence, the first part of my inspiration.

The second part comes in the form of carrots. When Annie and Rhodes meet in the convenience store in the middle of the night, he's buying a bag of baby carrots and invites her to share them with him. The carrot comes back around later in the film when Annie bakes him a cake in the shape of a carrot to apologize for her craziness. Those are two of my favorite scenes. Yes, I'm a sucker for "that kind of thing". Plus, I have a mad-crush on Chris O'Dowd.

So, I didn't want to make carrot cake, but I did want to do something with the delicious components of a carrot cake.  I admit that I almost turned them into a cocktail. Instead, the craving for blondies hit me with a force so hard it almost knocked me over. Why? No clue. But I've learned to surrender to those forces. Hence, the crazy delicious (and boozy, if you're so inclined - again, Carrot Cake Blondies you see before you.

Carrot Cake Blondies (Boozy, or not)
Carrots, walnuts, and spice permeate these blondies with the flavors of carrot cake; add Cake vodka for a grown-up twist.
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Carrot Cake Blondies
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert soy-free vegetarian carrots cream cheese spice walnuts bars American

Ingredients (16 blondies)
  • 4 ounces (8 tablespoons / 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (discard pod or reserve for another use)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup (packed) grated fresh carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons Cake Vodka (+ 2 teaspoons flour), optional for boozy blondies
for the cream cheese drizzle:
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon (+ a dribble or two) milk
making the blondies:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8"x8" baking pan, then line it with parchment paper, then grease that lightly too, leaving an overhang for easy removal.

In a large bowl, stir together (no need to pull out your mixer, a simple fork will do the job) the melted butter, brown sugar, and the seeds of the vanilla bean until it is smooth and no clumps remain in the sugar. Still using that fork, beat in the egg (and the booze, if you're using it).

Combine flour (don't forget the extra if you're adding booze), salt, and spices in a small bowl. Toss the carrots and walnuts in the dry mixture, then dump the whole thing into the large bowl and stir together until everything is well-combined.

Scrape everything into your prepared pan. Slide into preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until just set in the center. Set on a wire rack to cool.

the cream cheese drizzle:
Whisk all of the ingredients for the drizzle together until smooth. Drizzle over the top of the cooled (you know, as cooled as you can manage) blondies.
Carrot Cake Blondies inspired by Bridesmaids for Food 'n Flix
Food 'n Flix club logo
This month's edition of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Evelyne at Cheap Ethic Eatz, with her chosen flick - Bridesmaids! Submissions are due by May 29, so you still have time to join us this month (everybody is welcome)...pop in the dvd, watch it online, or maybe you already know it by heart...either way, head into the kitchen and make something inspired by the movie!

Never fear, whether you have time to join in this month or not, there's a different flick showing every month...and you're always welcome to pull up a bean bag. Next month we'll be watching Moonstruck with our host Debra at Eliot's Eats!

Buy the movie or equipment you might find handy for making this recipe: