In 2014, four women gathered in a London church with the idea of teaching women at a local homeless hostel how to bake. Working out of the church’s kitchen, the small program quickly evolved into a successful social enterprise, growing from a small wholesale operation into the exclusive baked goods supplier of Ben & Jerry’s UK. Two years after that first meeting, the first brick-and-mortar location of Luminary Bakery opened its doors, churning out some of the most delicious treats in London (Meghan Markle is a huge fan) and helping hundreds of women in the process.
Rising Hope: Recipes and Stories from Luminary Bakery pairs 80 incredible recipes with inspiring stories from women who have graduated from the bakery’s two-year training program. This recipe was developed by Grace, a refugee and single mother whose lifelong dream of becoming a pastry chef came true after learning about Luminary in the pages of a magazine. Her penchant for experimenting with new flavors and ingredients inspired Luminary’s directors to ask Grace— who at the time was only an apprentice—to help develop a special treat for the new Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop opening in London’s Soho neighborhood. A U.K.-exclusive, these special honeycomb cheesecake blondies have not been brought across the pond for Americans to enjoy; thanks to this recipe, we can finally stop waiting for Ben, Jerry, or cheap airfare to bring these blondies into our hearts and stomachs.
Reprinted with permission from Rising Hope: Recipes and Stories from Luminary Bakery (HarperCollins Publishers)
Grace explored many textures and tastes during the development of this recipe, but there was something that always drew her back to honeycomb—with its appeal of caramel, but lighter balance and crunchy twist. For Grace, this felt particularly nostalgic, reminding her of flavors she experienced as a child. It took her nearly 20 tries to get it right, but she persevered: “There’s something in perseverance that reminds me of Arya, my daughter—she’s everything I love!” The resulting melt-in-the-mouth blondies were well worth it.
Makes 12 generous slices
- Vegetable or sunflower oil, for greasing
- 1¾ ounces superfine sugar
- 1 ounce light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 11¾ ounces unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 3 large eggs
- 11¾ ounces brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 11¾ ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. fine salt
- 6 ounces whole cream cheese
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¾ ounce confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
First, make the honeycomb. Line a deep baking sheet with baking parchment and smear with a little oil.
Tip the sugar and light corn syrup into a deep pan and place over low heat, swirling every now and again until all of the sugar has dissolved (you don’t want it to bubble at this stage).
Once the sugar has melted, turn the heat up to medium, bring to a simmer, and keep swirling for 2 to 5 minutes until it turns a deep amber color. At this point, immediately take the pan off the heat and beat in the baking soda with a spatula. It will start to foam and rise in the pan. Continue to mix for a few more seconds, then scrape the mixture out onto the oiled sheet (be careful as the mixture will be very hot).
Set aside for at least 30 minutes—the honeycomb will continue to foam and grow and will eventually set rock hard.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of an 9 x 9-inch baking pan with baking parchment, greasing the sides with butter.
To make the blondie batter, melt the butter in the microwave or in a small pan over low heat until liquid but not hot and spitting.
In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Once the butter has melted, add it to the egg mixture and gently whisk until smooth and glossy.
In another small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Tip this into the glossy mixture and mix until there are no pockets of flour remaining.
Break the honeycomb up into ¾- to 11/4-inch chunks and add to the blondie batter. Briefly stir through, then scrape it into the lined pan, spreading it flat.
In one final bowl, make the cheesecake swirl. Mix together the cream cheese, yolk, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
Dollop large blobs of the cheesecake mixture across the top of the blondie batter, then use a butter knife to swirl it into the batter to give a marbled effect on the top.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown all over but still a bit wobbly in the middle (the wobble is crucial, otherwise you’ll have dry, cakey blondies). Once baked, let cool completely in the pans before cutting into 12 squares and tucking in!