Where’s the hottest place you’ve ever spent a summer? For me, it’s Arizona. I recently moved here and just experienced my first 118-degree day. Yep, that’s hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk, and way too hot to turn on the oven.
During this same record-hot week, I received samples of the most amazing Indonesian teas from Atlas Tea Club. One whiff of these fragrant teas and knew I needed to use one of them in a blondie recipe I had been dreaming about.
I set my alarm for 6 a.m. so I could accomplish a tea-infused baking project before the outside temp hit 100 degrees by 8 a.m. (I guess this is my new summer baking routine?)
It was worth the early rise to make my dreams came true in these olive-oil laden blondies speckled with Indonesian black tea leaves. The grassy olive oil cuts the brown-sugar sweetness of the blondie, and the black tea leaves add a balanced malty note to the overall flavor.
Why this recipe works with tea: This Food52 blondie method calls for whisking olive oil with eggs and brown sugar, then letting the mixture rest for 30 minutes before adding the dry ingredients. This is supposed to help the sugar dissolve before baking, resulting in a chewier blondie. It also provides the perfect spot in the recipe to “steep” black tea leaves in the resting wet ingredients in hopes of infusing some of the tea’s smoky-caramel notes into the batter. For extra impact, I crushed the tea leaves with coarse sea salt to sprinkle on top of the baking blondies.
The result? A beautiful blondie that’s less sweet and more interesting than the normal butter-brown sugar style blondie. And you can really taste the tea!
I used an Indonesian red tea from Atlas Tea Club for these blondies. (Wait! I thought these were black tea blondies? They are. What we know as black tea in the West is based on the dark color of the dried tea leaves. In the East it’s called red tea because of the red-ish color of the brewed tea.)
Feel free to use your favorite loose leaf black tea in this recipe. Just make sure it has some discernable flavor profile that you might be able to pick up in the final baked treat. With notes of malt, caramel, and plum, Atlas Tea Club’s Indonesian red/black tea was the perfect complement to the earthy-sweet blondie I was aiming for.
Happy cooking & sipping!
P.S. Thanks so much to Atlas Tea Club for sending me some of their stunning Indonesian teas to play around with in my Tea Foodie kitchen. Atlas is a tea of the month club that curates single origin teas from around the world, including lesser known tea producing countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Indonesia.
Black Tea Blondies
Makes 8 large blondies
Adapted by Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie, from the Olive Oil Blondies recipe on Food52.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I used half light and half dark)
2 teaspoons crushed loose leaf black tea (I used Twisted Leaf Red from Atlas Tea Club)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup toasted, chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1 large pinch coarse sea salt
1 large pinch loose leaf black tea leaves
1. Whisk brown sugar, tea leaves, kosher salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add olive oil and whisk until everything is moistened. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until mixture is combined.
2. Set sugar-olive oil mixture aside for 30 minutes, whisking occasionally. This should help dissolve some of the sugar and result in a chewier blondie. It will also allow the tea leaves to infuse into the batter.
3. Lightly grease a 9×9 baking pan with olive oil. Line the bottom and sides with two overlapping sheets of parchment paper and lightly grease paper with a bit more olive oil. Preheat oven to 350 with the rack in the lower-middle position.
4. Add flour and nuts to sugar-olive oil mixture, and stir to combine. Transfer blondie batter to prepared pan. Roughly crush a large pinch of salt with a large pinch of tea leaves in a mortar & pestle (or in a bowl with the handle of a wooden spoon). Sprinkle tea-salt over blondie batter.
5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until blondie has puffed slightly and the top feels set. Let cool completely in pan. Remove from pan to cut into pieces. Store in an airtight container for a week at room temperature or up to 3 months in the freezer.