I was once a hoarder of books and then I got an iPad and everything changed. My love affair with tangible reading materials has faded to such an extent that I’m honestly a little shocked. You see, once upon a time I railed against the cult of ebook. I insisted that I needed “real books” because of the way they felt and smelled and I never met a bookstore I didn’t like. Give me pages or give me death! I’m serious. I was hardcore. And now I’m hardcore in love with my iPad and Kindle Touch instead. Especially when it comes to cookbooks.
When we moved I gave away a disgusting amount of unsolicited review copies and books I’d picked up on sale and even some that I’d received as gifts. I still feel rather guilty about the items I received as gifts but finances sometimes rule out over nostalgia when you’re shipping your belongings cross country. Needless to say it was a recipe bloodbath. The cookbooks that made the cut fit into two small book boxes.
The cookbooks I purchase now are all ebooks. I’ve always used my laptop in the kitchen but it’s now been replaced with my iPad. Yes, it sometimes gets little olive oil finger prints on it. No, it’s not a big deal.
One of the most exciting ebook developments (for me) in the past few months was the ability for libraries to rent kindle ebooks. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I’ve spent browsing the San Francisco Public Library’s eLibrary. It’s seriously my new best friend. In fact, the recipe for this post was discovered while I “paged” through an ebook of Martha Stewart’s Cookies during the holidays.
Now, would I be OK with cookbooks on my non-color Kindle Touch? No. Not so much, but the full-color iPad offers a very good user experience that suits my needs perfectly. Have you had a similar change of heart or are you still hanging onto your cookbooks with white knuckled fury?
Enough about ebooks though. We’ve got blondies lounging about on a pig-shaped Paula Deen branded cutting board!
I feel that it’s my duty to warn you that this flavor combo is very different. You’re either going to love it or hate it. Also, dried pears are kind of a pain to find. I suspect Whole Foods probably sells them and you can definitely get them online at any of the bigger nut and fruit sellers. I picked up mine at the ferry building farmers market.
I also think that a few dark chocolate chunks would have been a nice addition to this recipe. If you’ve ever had chocolate covered ginger before you’ll know why I’m recommending it. I think that what I enjoyed the most about these bars was the gorgeous gold on gold color combo. They look so warm and welcoming that it’s practically impossible to turn a slice down. So pour a big cold glass of milk, fire up your favorite eReader, and see what you think.
9 tablespoons (1 1/8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried pears (4 ounces)
3/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (3 1/4 ounces)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped candied ginger (1 1/4 ounces)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or a round cake pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter parchment; set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture until combined. Mix in pears, pistachios, and candied ginger.
Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Lift blondie out of pan; transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely; cut into wedges.