Wednesday, 5 January 2011

I'm a Good Neighbour

Okay, in this day and age some of my neighbours might not recognize me. Or know me only as the somewhat crazy lady with the two little doggies.. but for those close neighbours, the ones that I have gotten to know.. It is not such a bad thing to have a neighbour who bakes and makes her own wine. Especially if she always has both the baked goods and wine on hand in case of emergencies or, you know, Tuesdays.

Author Suzanne Schlosberg found that it was indeed a good neighbour who made her life easier by dropping off a pot of much-needed chili when her twins arrived. She loved the idea so much that she started helping out new parents in the same way. First with store-bought dinners and, when she paired up with Sara Quessenberry of Real Simple, they started making simple yet delicious goodies for new parents, and then expanded to all sorts of neighbourly events.

They put out The Good Neighbor Cookbook, so that you too can provide simple yet delicious fare for your favourite neighbours, and friends in need.

The chapters are divided by category of event:
Bringing Home Baby
Get Well Soon
Welcome to the Neighborhood
Block Parties and Barbecues
Meet and Eat: Community, Religious, and Business Gatherings
Novel Ideas for Book Clubs

I love this concept for a cookbook, we could all strive to be even better neighbours in this new year.
In our KitchenPuppy test kitchen, we whipped up the Chocolate Chip and Candied Ginger Blondies from the Novel Ideas for Book Clubs chapter. Fudgy and delicious, I love the warm glow of the ginger in the melty chocolate. They would definitely be a hit at your next book club meeting!

The Good Neighbor Cookbook
125 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Surprise and Satisfy the New Moms, New Neighbors, Recuperating Friends, Community-Meeting Members, Book-Club Cohorts and Block Party Pals in Your Life!

by Sara Quessenberry and Suzanne Schlosberg
Paperback, 208 pages

Chocolate Chip and Candied Ginger Blondies
From The Good Neighbor Cookbook
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 hours (includes cooling time)
Makes 32 squares

Candied ginger adds a snappy edge to these chocolaty bars. For the most economical candied ginger, look in the bulk or nut section of your grocery store. Ginger lovers may want to cut back on the chocolate to enhance the ginger flavor.

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
One 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup loosely packed candied ginger, chopped

   1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter or spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
   2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
   3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer with a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
   4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined (do not overmix). Stir in the chocolate chips and ginger.
   5. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour on a wire rack before slicing.
   6. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.