Maple Walnut Blondies

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Oct 13, 2019
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Continuing into the baking season today, I’m giving you another hit of maple with these pretty blondies. These are absolutely your next favorite- blondies are heavily underrated if you ask me. Not only are they super easy to throw together, but they’ve got that amazing texture that we always associate with brownies.

I just wanna take a moment for blueberries. Great in nearly every baked good, great as jam, I mean even a strong poptart flavor.

I’m thrilled that blueberries have been on sale lately, it’s about to be blueberry city up in here for a few weeks. This week, it’s blueberry pie bars and guys. These are the perfect summer dessert.

Hey guys, happy confetti day! Whatever day you’re reading this, we’re on the same page. I’ve got a killer blondie recipe, and today I’m turning it into a birthday cake version, and it’s worth a bake I promise.

Actually, blondies (and brownies for that matter) are really simple to whip up. You literally need not a single excuse, and usually just one bowl to do it so. What are we waiting on at this point guys? Plus this recipe makes a full 9×13 inch cake pan full of blondies you’ll dream about, so you can share with friends. If you want, whatever.

Hey guys! It’s Monday, and let’s make something, okay?

Today we’re talking about millionaire bars, which are a classic bar dessert. Here’s how it typically goes down: a base layer of vanilla shortbread, topped with a thick layer of chewy caramel, and capped off with chocolate, or chocolate ganache. It’s messy, it’s delicious, and it’s really sweet.

So today, we’re giving it a little twist. First up, the shortbread base today is chocolate shortbread instead of the classic. It’s the beginning of the week, let’s all just get that much-needed treat in, k?

Now, we’ve got that trademark caramel layer, and it’s a thick one. Let’s be real, caramel is the star of a great millionaire bar. What I really love about this caramel recipe is that it uses sweetened condensed milk. Caramels that use condensed milk are WAY easier, and they are WAY harder to mess up.

If you’ve ever tried making classic caramel, it’s no easy task. I would like to say I have figured it out, but the reality is that there are so many tiny factors that can mess up a classic caramel, it’s hard to really become an expert.

The condensed milk, combined with brown sugar, and the cooking method here- they all make for an easy caramel that comes out smooth, silky, and flavorful every time. It is, however, a bit of a labor of love- you have to stir it constantly for about 15 minutes. Worth it, I promise.

To combat the sweetness overload here, we’re adding a healthy dose of salt to our caramel layer, as well as the ganache topping. And even further, we’ve added crushed pecans to the top. Think about it- chocolate on caramel on chocolate? We need some balance guys, even though we love those things.

And so another tip here- the instructions say to freeze the bars before removing from the pan and cutting. This makes it MUCH easier to handle. Caramel is sticky and stretchy, and chocolate ganache can be messy as well if it hasn’t fully set. It’s worth waiting, otherwise you’ll have a huge mess on your hands.

So it’s the beginning of the week, we made it through Monday, we got this. Enjoy!

Chocolate Millionaire Bars

Servings 20 bars

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbs. dark cocoa powder
  • 1 cup flour

For the caramel:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt

For the topping:

  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Instructions

For the crust:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease an 8 by 8 inch square pan, and insert parchment paper with overhanging edges. This will help to remove the bars. 

  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add in the salt, cocoa powder, and flour, and beat for several minutes until a crumbly dough has formed. 

  3. Spread the dough evenly in your prepared pan, and press down with the bottom of a glass for a flat, even layer. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the crust looks dry and just slightly darkened on the edges. Set aside. 

For the caramel:

  1. In a large, high-sided skillet (you can use a saucepan as well, but it may take longer), combine the butter, sweetened condensed milk, dark brown sugar, heavy cream, dark corn syrup, and vanilla extract. 

  2. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture up to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the temperature to medium heat, and cook for 10-15 minutes, whisking constantly. The mixture will thicken, and become slightly darker. When you whisk the mixture, it should be thick enough that you can clearly see streaks of the bottom of your pan. 

  3. Remove from heat, and continue stirring for another couple of minutes. Pour over your baked crust, and let the caramel set for about 30 minutes in the fridge. 

For the ganache:

  1. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until boiling, and pour over the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the salt and vanilla. 

  2. Pour over the caramel layer, and smooth out using the back of a spoon to cover the caramel layer entirely. While the mixture is still wet, sprinkle the pecans evenly over the top. 

  3. Cover and freeze for at least an hour. Run a knife along the edges to remove the bars, and slice to your desired size. These are very dense, so I'd go small. Enjoy! 

Sometimes you want a bar with a little more oomph. These are it.

Hi guys btw!

EspressoBourbonBlondies4

Blondies are a pretty solid dessert on their own. I like to make mine with dark brown sugar to really add more of that caramel-y flavor to things. That’s part of the reason these ones look so dark in color.

EspressoBourbonBlondies1

Blondies are kind of like brownies except without the chocolate, and with brown sugar (though some classic brownies already use brown sugar). The result is a dense, sweet bar with a flakey, crackly top just like you would expect from the classic version.

EspressoBourbonBlondies2

And anyways, if you’re gonna do it, let’s really bake today. I’m adding a good splash of bourbon and instant espresso powder that really packs in the flavor. I’d say go with a whiskey that you like to drink here- the flavor will come through. I really like Breckenridge bourbon- this isn’t sponsored, I just really like ’em.

EspressoBourbonBlondies7

So, brown sugar, espresso, bourbon, what’s not to like? Well, I also threw in some chocolate chips because why the heck not. We’re doing it all today. In the end, you’ll be left with an intensely flavored and satisfying bar that you’ll keep coming back to.

EspressoBourbonBlondies6

Bonus points if you decide to cut them into abstract pieces like I did for absolutely no good reason. Actually, bonus points if you have a square pan clean so you can make these like a normal person (I did not).

Espresso Bourbon Blondies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 3 tbs. instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch pan (or two 8 inch round pans). Set aside. 

  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together over low heat until completely melted and combined. Remove from heat, and beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, and bourbon. 

  3. Stir in the flour, espresso powder, salt, and chocolate chunks until the batter is smooth. Pour into your prepared pan(s). Bake for 28-30 minutes until the bars look set, and a toothpick inserted into the pan about 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Cool completely and enjoy! 

espresso bourbon blondies

Hey guys!

Today we’re making cookie bars, and if you haven’t tried making cookies in one giant sheet, now is the time to start. I’m not saying all cookies should be baked this way, but man, it’s SO much easier.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 1

Don’t get me wrong, the effect is slightly different when you bake them in one big sheet. You won’t get crisp edges around each cookie, for example, if that’s what you’re into. And sometimes that’s right for a cookie.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 2

But with these, you can bake the whole dang batch at once, with very little work, and without scooping out cookies and switching pans and baking 4 separate times. So that’s a pretty big take away. That being said, you can totally scoop and bake these cookies as well if that’s what you’re feelin.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 6

So, these cookies stem from a simple concept- I wanted chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate. I know, I know. Everyone loves chocolate, and me too, but sometimes you aren’t in the mood for chocolate. So here we are.

The browned butter kind of just kicks up the flavor on these. It’s only barely noticeable, but it’s worth it for the overall effect. It’s a very simple cookie, which means every little step counts. So we brown the butter. And let it cool back down to room temperature, which can take some time- go watch some TV while you wait or whatever.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 3

The espresso powder does not make these taste like coffee, so don’t be afraid of it if you aren’t into coffee flavors. It just pops out the other flavors in here, like the brown butter, and adds to the whole end result flavor, which I promise you’ll love!

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 7

Last, we’re sprinkling coarse salt over the top right when it comes out of the oven, which helps it stick to the cookies without baking in during the actual, well, baking time. The salt is just enough to make these bars totally addicting.

Brown Butter Cookie Bars 5

The rest is really simple, so I hope you guys enjoy this one- plus I hope it converts you to making cookie bars occasionally, I think it’s a great trick! Enjoy!

Brown Butter Cookie Bars

Servings 32 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter (plus water, as needed, see instructions)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. coarse salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, brown the butter over medium-high heat. This takes me about 10 minutes. Your butter should melt, become frothy and foamy, and eventually will start to brown on the bottom. Transfer to a heat-safe glass measuring cup. Add enough water to the hot butter to make 1 1/2 cups total liquid in the measuring cup. Cover, and let the mixture cool on your counter to room temperature, about an hour. 

  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a 12 by 18 inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt. Set aside. 

  4. In a large bowl, beat together the browned butter mixture, brown sugar, and sugar until combined. Add in the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients slowly, and beat until completely combined. 

  5. Scoop your dough onto your prepared baking sheet, and spread evenly. It should fill the entire sheet. Bake in your preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, or until the cookies have set around the edges and are just starting to become golden. Sprinkle the coarse salt over the cookies right after they come out of the oven. Cool in the sheet pan for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy! 

brown butter

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