Chocolate chunk bars

Hello stranger. I suppose it’s been a little while, hasn’t it?

To justify my lack of blog-related baking, I do feel the need to explain that last week I did a practice run of an Earl Grey cake with vanilla buttercream for my friend’s wedding. So I have been baking. I just haven’t been baking with help from Paul and Mary.

But the milk I bought for that cake was about to expire, and this one-spoon recipe was sitting in the biscuits and traybakes section, requiring milk. So here we are.

The book calls these “chocolate chunk bars” which brings to mind something akin to the Grasmere ginger shortbread or possibly some sort of a chocolatey granola bar. What I ended up with, though, was not at all what I expected.

But before we jump to the end, I should explain a bit of my process.

I had all of the ingredients required except raspberries, which would have meant a trip the grocery store had I not remembered that my brother and sister-in-law have a line of raspberry bushes that they generously shared with me. So I was saved a grocery trip and I get to appear to be a domestic queen with organic raspberries in the backyard (even though it’s not my backyard).

With those rinsed and ready, I set them aside and went to the next step: butter.

A lot of butter.

Two-hundred grams of butter.

It’s a small pan, but it still seems like a lot of butter. I double- and triple-checked and then trusted Paul and Mary.

With that melting gently, I measured out the dry ingredients, namely the self-raising flour (a.k.a. all-purpose flour with baking powder) and caster sugar (a.k.a. Canadian granulated sugar).

Then I was told to mix the wet ingredients together separately, including the aforementioned milk.

But not just any milk. Buttermilk. But I didn’t have buttermilk. I had regular milk. But I also had lemon juice.

Thank you, baking hack science that I don’t understand, for letting me make buttermilk out of the two.

Add to that a couple of room temperature eggs and vanilla…

…beat together and pour into the well in the dry ingredients.

I also need to pour into this well the melted butter. The melted butter that needed to cool until “just barely warm.”

But I don’t know which end of the heat spectrum “just barely warm” lands on. Is it just barely warm in relation to the fact that it was just super hot? Or does it need to be just barely warm above completely cool? I didn’t want to pour it in too hot and scramble the eggs. But I also didn’t want to stand there for much longer, so I took a risk and poured the “just barely warm in relation to it being super hot a second ago” into the bowl and mixed immediately to cool it down.

As instructed, I didn’t overmix because I still needed to add the starring ingredients: raspberries and chocolate.

Raspberries are just so delicious looking, aren’t they? They’re also delicious. I love summer berries.

With everything appropriately mixed, I poured it into my prepared baking dish and sprinkled it with granulated sugar. Mary and Paul wanted me to use coarse sugar, but I wasn’t going to the store for a sprinkle of sugar.

See what I mean about it not seeming like a bar? It’s so cakey!

*just under 45 minutes later*

The recipe says to bake this for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (a very cakey thing to do), but when I checked after 42 minutes, the toothpick was clean—even when poked in multiple places.

It’s just not a bar. It’s a cake.

What are you talking about, Mary and Paul?

One final touch to dress it up a bit is a bit of chocolate decoration. It was an optional step in the bakebook, but I figured why not. Because as it is, it’s just a dull cake. So I melted some chocolate chips…

…and piped out a masterpiece.

Beautiful, right?

Not overly, but it’ll do.

*the next day*

I brought it to work, cut it up, arranged it on a plate and watched them slowly disappear.

In my usual fashion, I pre-apologized in case it wasn’t enjoyable. I told them about the bar vs. cake dilemma and explained my hunch that it’s more of a blondie than anything else. I’ve never made a blondie before because I don’t know why you’d make a brownie without chocolate, but I’m fairly certain that’s what this is.

But whatever it is, it’s really good. Other people really enjoyed it too. Something about raspberries and chocolate makes the world a better place.

But in future, I would go into this with a brownie mindset more than a blondie one and add cocoa powder to the cake mixture because you can never have enough chocolate.

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