Maple Walnut Blondies

A good friend of mine is from the South and as we talked about some crazy delicious cakes and cookies, the topic of blondies hit the table. He told me that an aunt of his in Alabama used to make a Maple Blondie. Hmmmm, maple.

Now I have my absolute favorite blondie recipe in the world, but when I think maple, I think autumn - maple syrup, maple glazed doughnuts, molasses-maple cookies . . . maybe this could be a good idea.

I checked out some recipes online and all of them pointed to "copycat Applebee’s Maple Butter Blondie". Guess what? The blondie doesn't even have any maple in it - just the frosting. I kept looking and found one with, get this, 1 teaspoon of maple flavoring. No, I don't think so.

Not ONE had actual maple syrup in the blondie. So, I kept all the brown sugar, substituted the white sugar with maple syrup and kept the rest the same in my Brown Butter Blondie recipe.

 Got all my ingredients lined up.

Got all my ingredients lined up.

I still browned the butter - I can't help myself. Chopped walnuts couldn't hurt either.

Can anyone tell me why ALL the recipes online had white chocolate chips in them? I'm not a super big fan of white chocolate, but I could see how I'd have to give up on my dream of having dark chocolate in everything if this is to be a maple blondie. As it happens, my dear friend Judy gifted me two bags of mini white chocolate chips. They're so darned cute I threw those in too.

 Batter going down.

Batter going down.

While tempted to make a full recipe, I cut this one in half - just in case it’s *gasp* not fabulous. It still took 25 minutes in an 8x8 pan as opposed to the 27 minutes of a full 9x13 recipe. Interesting.

No Blondie is complete without a nice sprinkle of kosher salt. Are you as happy as I am that we throw salt on sweets now? Salted dark chocolate, salted caramel, and salted brown butter maple blondies.

 Every time I think I overdid it on salt. I didn’t. Gave this one a good sprinkle to offset the brown sugar and maple syrup.

Every time I think I overdid it on salt. I didn’t. Gave this one a good sprinkle to offset the brown sugar and maple syrup.

Finally, the taste test. Was it good? Yes. Amazing? Not so much. Walnuts are pretty bitter even when baked and I got sidetracked tasting those over the blondie. With maple syrup, walnuts, and white chocolate chips, there wasn’t a necessity to brown the butter because that’s a pretty subtle flavor. All in all, I think the maple walnut recipes work so well because you have it at a restaurant in a huge portion, it’s warm, and they put ice cream, maple-butter glaze and more walnuts over the top.

For me, I’ll stick to my usual Brown Butter Blondies. What’s your latest baking project?

Malted Milk Everything, Please

This summer I have been focused on malt. It started with Food Network's Spring Baking Championship. The winner, Jane Soudah, made Malted Blondies with pecans, chocolate chips, toffee bits, crushed malt balls, and pretzels smooshed on top. I had to make them.

 Malted Blondies

Malted Blondies

After searching four stores, I found malt powder (hooray) at Safeway! And just last week I found a HUGE can at Cash & Carry. (Sidenote: I am now a total toffee convert. I mean, you KNOW I love toffee but I've never baked with it.) While the blondies weren't as malty as I'd like, you can't really go wrong with all the other mix-ins. Here's the recipe if you'd like to make them yourself.

But I didn't give up on malted milk powder and malted milk balls. Oh no. I moved on to Malted Milk Brownies. I pulled out a very good brownie recipe, added 1/4 cup of malted milk powder, added sliced malted milk balls and they were amazing. Like fabulously, I'm-so-happy-I'm-alive-to-taste-this amazing. I preferred slicing the malt balls rather than crushing them so there was more of a crunch.

 Gooey Malted Brownies

Gooey Malted Brownies

And then. And then my daughter says, "What about malted fudge?" So on I went to add malted milk powder to Leading Lady Delights Famous Fudge. You know what? You can taste the malt even more in fudge than in brownies. We thought it'd look pretty impressive with a whole bunch of malt balls on top too. The smooth fudge worked perfectly with the crunchy malt balls. At least for most of us. My son said he really likes my fudge the way it is and the malt balls were too crunchy. Okay fine.

 Malted Dark Chocolate Famous Fudge

Malted Dark Chocolate Famous Fudge

The only downside is that malted milk balls lose their crunch and get a little chewy after about a week, sealed, in the fridge. Yep, I guess we'll just have to eat the fudge faster.