Truer words have never been spoken! This week has been a flurry of holiday parties, events, Christmas shopping, cooking and (if that weren’t enough) a very busy schedule at work. As of December 21, our office is closed until the new year and I cannot wait for the break! Get ready for a barrage of Christmas baking recipes in the coming days, as I now have less than two weeks to create my annual holiday cookie/treat packages for my family and friends.
These blondies have sustained me this week. Although they were best on the first day – fresh out of the oven with the warm, boozy, buttery sauce drizzled liberally overtop – they kept quite well at room temperature for 4 days. To keep them, I brushed the remaining sauce over the tops of each and let it harden (a bit) into a glaze, then kept them in a single layer in an airtight container.
This recipe is simple to put together, and you prepare the sauce while the blondies cool slightly on a wire rack. I have an irrational fear of making caramel from scratch, but this version is surprisingly easy and unintimidating. Just keep swirling everything until it reaches the desired consistency.
Personally, I like a little kick in my baked goods: I love rum cake and whiskey cake, and I often add a healthy splash of Kahlua to my brownies. However, if you prefer not to add the bourbon, you can replace it with additional vanilla in the blondie batter and leave it out of the sauce entirely. If you want the flavour without the alcohol, you might try an extract of some kind (rum?) – I don’t have any experience with alcohol-flavoured extracts. If any brave individuals decide to try this substitution and it works out (or fails horribly!) please share your experiences with me.
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 and ½ cups packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup real maple syrup
- 1 and ½ tablespoons bourbon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup walnut pieces for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13" baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides, and grease/butter the foil. Pulse ½ cup walnut pieces in a food processor until almost fine (do not overprocess). Whisk the ground nuts, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat 10 tablespoons room-temperature butter with the brown sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla and bourbon. Gradually beat in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in white chocolate chips and the remaining ½ cup walnut pieces.
- Spread batter evenly in prepared pan and bake until the blondies are light brown and spring back when lightly pressed, about 25-30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly on a wire rack.
- Place the maple syrup, butter and bourbon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the pan and cook until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 6 minutes. Add the heavy cream and continue to swirl until the mixture is the consistency of caramel (or to desired consistency).
- Use foil to lift blondies out of the pan and cut into bars. Serve warm topped with the sauce and additional walnut pieces. Also delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Source: Adapted from Food Network’s Almost Famous Maple Butter Blondies