When I was a kid, it felt like I had all the time in the world and therefore, I squandered it. I’d be up until all hours of the night, reading, writing poison pen poetry about my life, or yakking on the phone with my girlfriends. My dad would come out of his room and pound on my door, yelling at me to get the hell off the phone and go to sleep. I’d then slumber until three in the afternoon most days. I spent every summer this way until I was old enough to get a job. I’d rouse myself from bed in the mid-afternoon and walk directly to the couch, where I’d park myself in my dirty rumpled pajamas and watch endless hours of television.
Time seemed to pass so slowly. It stretched endlessly before me, like a vast ocean of seconds, minutes, and hours. There was so much of it that I didn’t appreciate it as fully as I do now.
Youth is wasted on the young, and all that jazz.
Time is at a premium now. It flies by and there is never enough. I revel in my spare time, luxuriate in it. I don’t even like to sleep anymore because I want to be awake, to be fully conscious so that I can experience and enjoy every moment.
Case in point – it’s my blog’s one year anniversary today. Exactly one year ago, I hit “publish” on my first post. I can’t believe how fast time has passed. I like to think that I’ve come a long way in the past twelve months.
~ This is my 94th post. I’m amazed I kept at it and didn’t give up!
~ I’ve baked with and consumed countless kilos of sugar, flour and butter.
~ I’ve tried recipes I would’ve never dreamed of attempting before my blog.
~ My photography is getting better, in large part because I’m finally starting to understand how my camera works.
~ Hands down, the best part is the fact that I’ve met so many amazing, incredible, talented, hilarious people and bloggers, many of whom I now call my friends.
There have been moments when I questioned whether I should continue with my blog for numerous reasons:
~ I should be saving my money instead of buying countless kilos of sugar, flour and butter, not to mention props and bakeware.
~ I’m gaining weight that inevitably comes from consuming all this food and not working out (ok, so the latter part is my own bad. What can I say, I’m lazy!).
~ It takes an immense amount of time to blog regularly. Not to mention the time spent on social media promoting my blog and participating in the blogging community. I love all aspects of blogging but it can also be stressful, mostly because I’m putting expectations on myself. We all want to be bigger and better, right?
Every time I start feeling guilt about the money and time I’m spending, I remind myself how much I enjoy doing this. I started this blog a year ago because I love to bake and write and that still holds true today. I get a thrill out of making something delicious, taking a photo that I’m proud of, and writing words that I know are going to be read. I get such a kick out of reading the comments from you, my dear readers. I may not respond all the time (it comes down to that blasted lack of time again!) but rest assured, I appreciate every kind, supportive, empathetic and hilarious word you write. I appreciate it more than I can say.
So I’m going to keep on keeping on. I write this blog for me. It makes me happy, it keeps me sane. And today, in celebration of one year down and many more to go, I wanted to make something that I want to eat. So often, I’m making things for parties or birthdays, things that I know will please others. Today, it’s all about me, people.
I made cookies using Twix bars a couple months ago and I LOVED them. Recently, Averie made Twix bar chocolate chip cookies and it made me want to use this beloved chocolate bar again.
I chose not to add them to cookies but to a blondie instead.
Blondes have all the fun, right? Fact: I used to want to be blond and blue eyed when I was in high school. That was when all the Asian girls were dying their hair blond and wearing blue contact lenses. Not a good look!
Twix Brown Butter Blondies (adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything)
1 stick (1/2 cup) browned unsalted butter, cooled
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
8 Twix bars, chopped
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus more for sprinkling over top
sea salt for sprinkling over top (optional but highly recommended!)
To Make Brown Butter:
To brown the butter, cut it into pieces and melt it in a small saucepan or pan over medium heat. Whisk constantly – the butter will start to foam and you’ll see little brown bits form at the bottom of the pan. As soon as the bits turn amber, remove it from the heat. Watch the butter carefully – it can very quickly go from amber to burnt. Immediately pour the browned butter into a bowl and let it cool.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper, cutting the paper long enough so that it sticks out over the side. This will allow you to pull the blondie easily out of the pan. Set it aside.
Mix the browned butter and brown sugar together, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Add the salt and then gently, stir in the flour in 1/4 cup increments. The batter will be very thick.
Add in the chopped Twix bars and chocolate chips. Gently fold in until fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and using a spoon or rubber spatula, press into an even layer. Sprinkle as much sea salt as you want over top. I also like to sprinkle a layer of chocolate chips on top because it looks great with all the chocolate chips poking out.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until just barely set in the middle. It’s better that these are slightly underbaked than over. Cool in the pan for about twenty minutes, then move onto a cooling rack. You want these to be completely cooled, otherwise they’ll be difficult to cut. I let mine sit overnight and then sliced them in the morning.
Twix makes everything better! Blondies are yummy but no question, they’re phenomenal studded with chunks of crispy buttery cookie, chewy caramel and milk chocolate. I liked the contrast between the milk chocolate of the Twix and the darker semi-sweet chocolate. The blondie is wonderfully chewy, with crisp outer edges, and the sea salt on top adds another crunchy texture and flavour dimension. My recommendation: put Twix in everything!
Thank you so much for having followed me on my journey this past year. I hope I can continue to entertain you and inspire you in the kitchen!