Thursday, October 17, 2013

wednesday wellness*: spelt grain & dark chocolate blondie bars (vegan)

The Virtuous Blondie. And a shout out to Murray.

Yes, today is Thursday. Some technical glitches and a super busy day delayed this post. But, as the spirit of Wednesday Wellness encourages us to be gentle with ourselves and others, a little late is better than never. So let's breathe and bake!

As a kid, I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE blondies. They were a rare treat in my house as chocolate anything was usually the name of the game. Mostly the only time I ever got to have a blondie was after going to the pediatrician, Dr. K., a nebbishy guy with the smallest feet ever seen on a grown male who liked to over-use medication and under-use common sense. Like the time I had a cyst on my hand that he "treated" by smashing it with a medical encyclopedia from which he had just blown a century's worth of dust. But I digress. 

So after the fun house that was a visit to Dr. K, my mom would take me to the local grocery, B&B's. B&B's was an Upper West Side joint that - I can only figure - was caught in one of those time warps of which Einstein was so fond. The old man who ran it was named Murray and had half of one index finger and a mesmerizing gold tooth. There was also sawdust on the floor, some questionable eggs and milk, and a nose about the place of 19th century tenement.  What B&B's (or Murray's as I called it because I figured anyone with half a finger deserved name rights) lacked in charm and hygiene, it made up for in the MOST delicious baked goods I had yet to discover. And my favorite of all was The Blondie - a brown sugary, chewy, chocolate chip filled creation that was the only thing that burned the image of my tiny-footed doctor from my brain. I'd eat the thick, golden square in a couple of enormous bites and then lick the Saran Wrap (the smell and taste of which reminded me why we really didn't buy much else at Murray's). 

Clearly, nothing could come close to Murray's blondie. Especially when dairy products started making me sick. There went the blessed, blessed butter and I do believe Murray used real butter, milk, and eggs in his goods. Nowadays, a store-bought blondie often reeks of cheapness. And forget finding a decent vegan blondie. Based on a Post-Punk Kitchen (the genius that is Isa Chandra Moskowitz) wheat-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, I give you The Virtuous Blondie. This One's For You Murray. 

Also, since we are now soy-free in our house (poor J. and her allergies), we use coconut milk instead of soy or almond milk but those would work as well. We also use chocolate chips that don't use soy lecithin. A hard find let me tell you. However, Sunspire 65% bittersweet chips do not contain soy and are delish. Enjoy Life Foods also makes a vegan and soy free chip but they are really sweet. You can also buy a soy-free chocolate bar (Lindt makes a 90% chocolate bar that is soy free) and chop it yourself.

spelt grain & dark chocolate blondie bar aka The Virtuous Blondie (vegan, NOT gluten-free)
3 cups organic spelt flour 
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar OR sucanat
2/3 cup canola oil or olive oil or 1/3 cup canola + 
1/3 cup unrefined, virgin coconut oil)
2 tblsps ground flax seed mixed with 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or almond or soy milk)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp bourbon or scotch (optional)
1 to 1 1/2 cup best quality dark chocolate chips.
Quinoa or oat flakes (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Combine, sugar, oil, extracts, and flax/milk combo and whisk together until emulsified. Add dry ingredients. Mix well but don't over mix. Fold in chocolate chips. Grease an 8 x 8 brownie pan (preferably glass) and add batter. Smoothe. Sprinkle quinoa flakes (not grain!!) or oat flakes over top. Bake in middle rack for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool.

*Wednesday Wellness is all about checking in with yourself in the middle of the week, taking good care of your body, and grounding your mind. Grounding, versus relaxation, is an active way to bring yourself back to the present. Cooking, especially simple cooking, is a great way to ground yourself. It's active, engages all five of your senses, is low stress, and has a beginning, middle, and end which allows for a sense of accomplishment and completion. Every week I'll post a new recipe. Hopefully with pictures!

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