This past weekend we were home after over a month of travels and visitors: back and forth to the east coast twice, up the coast to Portland, and hosting (fabulous) friends from New Hampshire. While traveling and hosting is energizing and exciting and interesting and fun, it was really lovely to be home with no plans! It was a slice of heaven to curl up on the couch with a book, do some baking, take meandering walks, do laundry...
These blondies proved to be a great comfort food for the weekend. The weather was cool for the first time in forever and heating up the house with these luscious-smelling treats was a nice way to celebrate and welcome autumn. Are you familiar with blondies? The non-cacao-based brownie? They are a lovely golden color and caramely in flavor. In this version, the chocolate melts lusciously into the top and the almonds are a nice, toasty and buttery addition. You could try walnuts or hazelnuts, too, and white chocolate if you prefer. I love the flavor, but I'd make these again just for the smell as they bake: mouthwateringly enchanting!
I like Alice Medrich's recipe for blondies in her book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy, and this is my evolution of that recipe.
A Brunette's Take on Blondies
Makes one 8-inch pan of bars
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 small eggs (or one large... I like the results with a bit extra yolk, though)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional: if you don't have this, just double the amount of vanilla)
1 Tablespoon bourbon
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Prepare your pan by lining it with foil so the foil comes up over at least two of the sides -- this makes it easy to pull the whole square of blondies out of the pan after they have baked.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
4. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar.
5. Mix the eggs, vanilla & almond extracts and bourbon into the butter/sugar mixture.
6. Stir in the flour mixture.
7. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
8. Either sprinkle or place the chocolate chips on top of the batter (I like the look of places chocolate chips -- you can make lines or shapes with them, but that's not necessary!), followed by the slivered almonds.
9. Bake for about 25 minutes. The almonds will be golden and the edges will be pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Lift the blondies out of the pan using the edges of the foil. Remove the foil before cutting into squares. These keep well for 4 or 5 days in a sealed container (but they probably won't last that long!).
Enjoy and Happy Autumn!
|Some pretty fall flowers in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina|