Galentine's Day – 13 February – is now a firm fixture on the calendar when singles (or those with a partner saving a romantic date for the 14th) can get together with their pals to celebrate all their female friendships.
To mark the date, celebrity baker and former Great British Bake Off (GBBO) contestant, Lizzie Acker, is partnering with Nielsen-Massey Vanillas to create a delicious vanilla-based Blondie recipe that can easily be shared with friends.
“For me, a true friend is always there, through thick and thin, as I am for them,” says Lizzie.
“I am not really into buying lots of gifts to show my love for my friends; instead, I like to spend time creating something special to convey that I'm thinking about them. I used Nielsen-Massey Gourmet Vanilla Extract to provide the perfect vanilla flavour for my Galentine's recipe.
“I've put my heart into creating my signature Blondies to give to my best friends, so only the very best will do." Lizzie's signature Blondie recipe is an ode to her best friend, who has made brownies for special occasions over the last 10 years.
She wanted to honour this symbol of friendship with her own unique version of the traditional recipe, which has received her best friend's full approval! Lizzie says: “When I first started baking, I didn't pay much attention to the quality of ingredients I was using, as I assumed there was not much difference between brands.
“However, I remember the very first time I invested in top quality ingredients and my recipes changed. Nielsen-Massey Gourmet Vanilla Extract really makes a difference to my baking; their vanilla completely elevates my recipes with a different dimension of flavours. There is no going back!”
Nielsen-Massey has been producing its quality Gourmet Vanilla Extract, and other flavourings, for more than a century from its base in the U.S. Its vanilla essence is used all over the world by top chefs and home cooks alike, in sweet and savoury recipes, including cakes, biscuits, pastries, soups and sauces.
Lizzie's Galentine's Day Blondie Recipe 20 minutes prep, 30 minutes to cook, serves eight to ten people. She says: “The Blondie is the sister of the Brownie but swaps the milk and dark chocolate with vanilla taste and goodness.
“They are sweet and gooey, with a crisp crust. The vanilla flavour creates an amazing tasting Blondie that's perfect when mixed with white chocolate, to create a delicious and mouth-watering treat to share with a friend.”
180g unsalted butter
150g light brown sugar
150g dark brown sugar
3 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
Pinch of salt
250g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
200g white chocolate chips
200g white chocolate
Pink gel food colouring (or any colour)
Sprinkles / freeze dried fruit
8-inch square tin
1. Preheat the oven to 180°c
2. Place the butter in a pan and cook until it starts to simmer and slightly browns
3. In a bowl place the light and dark brown sugars, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt and mix
4. Once the butter has browned, pour into the bowl with the sugar ingredients and stir to mix, then allow to cool slightly
5. Mix the eggs into the sugar and butter mixture
6. Fold the flour and baking powder into the mixture until there are no more pockets of flour visible
7. Mix in the chocolate chips
8. Put into a lined tin and place in the oven for 30 mins
9. After 30 minutes take out of the oven and allow to cool
10. Meanwhile melt the 200g of white chocolate and add the food colouring
11. Allow to cool slightly and then add to the piping bag
12. Pipe on your messages and decorations before the Blondie sets. You can decorate with sprinkles, edible glitter, or freeze-dried fruit, it's completely up to you
13. Cut the Blondie into square shaped individual portions to eat with mates on Galentine's Day, or wrap up in baking paper and bubble wrap to send to absent friends