The Best Way to Celebrate Galentine’s Day, According to Lizzie Acker of ‘The Great British Bake-Off’
The Great British Bake-Off star Lizzie Acker says skip the gifts this year. Instead, treat your gal pals to homemade blondies inspired by her BFF.
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While her gluten-free “Extraordinary Cake” had many fans (myself included) agog, Lizzie’s typical baking style is much different than the multi-tier cakes and technicals she executed during the competition.
The two of us hopped on the phone for a chat recently. Here’s what Lizzie really likes to bake, including a browned-butter blondie recipe—the perfect Galentine’s Day gift.
Lizzie’s Favorite Bakes
When it comes to baking at home, Lizzie explains that recipes like cinnamon rolls are her go-to. “You can have them for lunch, have them for breakfast, have them for dinner,” she says with a laugh.
A good loaf of focaccia is always welcome in Lizzie’s kitchen, too. “It’s the smell of it, the crunch,” she says. “Bread is home, isn’t it?”
Lizzie uses her time baking bread and other treats to help center herself. “The kitchen is a place where anything can happen,” Lizzie says—in the best way possible! Baking up a new recipe is, in her words, “about the experience,” not getting it Paul Hollywood-perfect.
On Baking for Friends
“Baking is a massive part of my friendships,” she tells me. Instead of relying on store-bought gifts, Lizzie prefers to share home-baked goodies with her friends to show she cares.
“It’s all about spending that hour to think about the person you’re making it for,” she says.
Taking Inspiration from Her BFF’s Recipe
Certainly, any creation from a Paul and Pru-approved baker like Lizzie would be a welcome treat, but this Galentine’s Day, the ultimate gal pal holiday, she wanted to focus on a new recipe inspired by her BFF, Amy.
“She makes the best brownies ever, like ever,” according to Lizzie.
And they’re a treat she can’t get enough of, explaining that Amy would make a batch for all occasions: “You’ve done well in something, she makes you brownies. It’s your birthday, she makes you brownies. Christmas she makes me brownies. If I’m feeling a bit upset, if a date went bad, she’d bring brownies.”
How to Make Lizzie’s Galentine’s Day Blondies
With all those memories of Amy’s best bake, Lizzie wanted to put her own spin on the recipe; but instead of chocolate, Lizzie wanted to focus on vanilla, one of her favorite flavors.
As Lizzie explains, “Vanilla is best friend to all flavors. It’s a supporting actor. It’ll support lemon. It’ll support chocolate, coffee…” In this case, it supports white chocolate and browned butter.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 cups white chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1-1/4 cups white chocolate
- Pink gel food coloring (or any color)
- Freeze-dried fruit
- Spatula: A spatula is a must in the kitchen—all the better if it’s pink to match the holiday!
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla does the heavy lifting when it comes to these blondies’ flavor. Lizzie’s favorite brand is Nielsen-Massey (and it’s one of our Test Kitchen’s best vanilla brands, too!).
- 8×8 baking pan: These blondies, like many other desserts, are baked in an 8×8-inch pan. Make sure you have one at the ready.
Step 1: Brown butter
To brown butter for this recipe, melt 3/4 of a cup of butter in a saucepan on the stove and cook until the butter begins to simmer and turns a nutty brown. Mix the browned butter with the brown sugars, vanilla and a dash of salt, and let the mix cool slightly.
Lizzie’s Tip: Blondies aren’t just your basic bake. These sweets layer on the flavor, starting with browned butter. Don’t skip this step!
Step 2: Add remaining ingredients
Once the mix has cooled—it can be warm to the touch but not piping hot—stir in the eggs. When the batter is smooth, gently fold in the flour and baking powder until there are no pockets of flour visible. Then stir in the white chocolate chips.
Step 3: Bake
Spread the blondie batter into a lined baking pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350ºF. After baking, allow the blondies to cool on a rack.
Lizzie’s Tip: These blondies are delicious right out of the oven, but if you want to make them extra special, decorate them once they’ve cooled completely.
Step 4: Decorate
Melt white chocolate and pipe a creative message on top. Then sprinkle on freeze-dried raspberries (fresh are great, too!) and even some festive sprinkles.
Lizzie’s Tip: The two best things that make vanilla shine are white chocolate and freeze-dried fruits. The vanilla-ness—I don’t know if that’s a word, but I’m going to coin it—definitely helps mellow them out.