Roasted White Chocolate and Sour Cherry Blondie on Rosemary Shortbread

All this craziness started because I read David Lebovitz’s blog about roasting white chocolate. Of course, I had been storing 11 pounds of the premium coverture for too many months and had yet to bake with it. When I saw David’s post, I thought why not roast it all and maybe it would give me inspiration to then use it.  Well, there the container of roasted chocolate sat staring at me until I had a weekend free to experiment.

I made my first batch of blondies or as some would call them “bars” using the chocolate, toasted pistachios and semi-sweet chocolate chips folded into the batter.  The pistachios were lost and the chips were too sweet for my taste.  Mind you, no one complained but I felt there was something missing, some je ne sais quoi.

White chocolate and macadamia nuts are also a classic pairing.  Rosemary in shortbread is delicious. And, it was just sour cherry season and I had dried a few. Why not put them all together with the rosemary adding a savory component and the bittersweet chocolate and sour cherries countering the sweetness of the white chocolate. I haven’t yet tried it but I bet you could leave out the shortbread and they would still be delicious.

Rosemary Shortbread Dough
8 tablespoons (4 oz, 112 g) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup (2 ounces, 55 g) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon (1/4 ounce, 5 g) finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ¾ ounces, 160g) unbleached all-purpose flour

The dough needs time to rest in the refrigerator so preheat the oven accordingly to 375°F.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar for 3 – 4 minutes, or until pail and creamy.

Add the flour and mix until crumbly. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and shake to distribute evenly. With your fingertips press into an even layer. Prick the dough with a few times with a fork. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 8 hours.

Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool.

1 cup (4 ½ oz, 135 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
6 ounces premium roasted white chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons (2 ½ oz, 70 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs (3 1/2 ounces)
1 cup (7 oz, 200 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (2 ¼ oz, 65 g) macadamia nuts, toasted lightly and chopped coarse
Generous 1/3 cup (2 oz, 55 g) chopped dried sour cherries
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz, 75 g) bittersweet chocolate chips

When ready to finish the blondies, preheat oven to 350°F. If not using the shortbread crust, butter a 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, extending the ends over on two sides.

Measure  flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt white chocolate and butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove the bowl or top of double boiler from heat. Cool chocolate mixture to room temperature.

In a large bowl with a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until thickened and pale. Reduce the speed and stir in the cooled white chocolate. Stir the flour mixture into chocolate mixture until batter is just combined. Stir in nuts, chocolate chips, and cherries. Spread batter evenly in over cooled shortbread or into prepared pan if not including the shortbread.

Bake blondies in middle of oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack before cutting into 32 squares or 16 or 8 squares. Brownies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container at cool room temperature, 5 days.

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