Perfect blondies spiked with aromatic ginger…..

From the moment I first lined up my new collection of spice jars, I was titillated by the vibrant colors and textures of the various contents within. One particular jar entranced me with its possibilities – the Spice Islands Crystallized Ginger. I left it out against my kitchen back splash with a few others that I knew would make it into my early culinary explorations.

Each day, the bottle of ginger caught my eye. With their slightly dusty finish and unique, rough shapes, the golden nuggets resemble a pile of treasure from a lucky prospector’s pay dirt. My first taste of the little gems revealed a soft texture, just enough sweetness and the aromatic flavor from the Australian ginger root.

One evening while cooking dinner, my attention was inexplicably called to the jar of ginger pieces and I knew that they must find their way into a blond, cookie bar. I pulled the necessary ingredients out of the pantry, (my favorite thing about Blondies is that you almost always have ingredients on hand), and made my first batch of Ginger Blondies.

I added a sprinkling of ground ginger to the batter so that my precious, crystallized nuggets would feel more at home in their new surroundings. The finished bars delivered the buttery heaven of a Blondie, a touch of warmth from the ground ginger and an occasional surprise when you discover a piece of Crystallized Ginger hidden within.

Try these alongside a cup of tea or after a big meal to help quench a sweet tooth and sooth your stomach. Even if you aren’t normally a ginger lover, just one bite and you may catch the fever.

Ginger Blondie
Makes 16 2-inch squares.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/3 cup crystallized ginger in small bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, making sure the foil is tucked into all corners and that there is at least 1 inch overhang around the top of the pan on all sides. Grease the foil.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, ground ginger and salt. Use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients thoroughly.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove it from the heat and with a wooden spoon, stir in the brown sugar. In a small bowl, use a fork or whisk to lightly beat the egg. Add the vanilla to the egg. Stir the egg and vanilla mixture into the butter and brown sugar mixture. Stir the dry ingredients and mix just until combined, mixing as little as possible. Stir in the crystallized ginger pieces.

Pour into the baking pan. Bake blondies for 30-35 minutes until they are just set in the center. Let the pan cool completely. Using the foil, pull the blondies out of the pan. Pull the foil back from the sides and cut into 16 squares.