Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Blondies

This is a simple recipe that will quickly get something cookie-like, cake-like, and apple-y ready for dessert or afternoon snacks or lunchboxes. It makes up a pan of blondies studded with apples and walnuts and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. They are moist, but not quite as moist as, say, an apple cake, and, like other forms of brownie or blondie goodness, are cut into neat, slim, hand-held squares that can easily fill a cookie niche.

This pan of goodies mostly involves melting and stirring, plus a little peeling and chopping of an apple. The only extra step is leaving the butter on the stove a little while just to let it brown a bit. That browning adds just a little extra caramel-y, butterscotch-y flavor to the bars. It’s also worth the few extra minutes for the delightful caramel aroma that only the cook gets to experience when the brown sugar and vanilla are whisked into the lightly browned butter.

I think it’s best to cut the apple into a very small dice and to use an apple that’s good for baking, rather than one that tends to stay crisp and firm. The walnuts are, of course, optional, but I really like them here. You might also dry a different nut, like pecans, or add a dried fruit, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips (as were in the original recipe) or even peanut butter chips.

I’m also thinking that if you don’t have a 9-inch square baking pan as called for in this recipe, you might be able to put this batter into an 8-inch pan instead. The blondies would be slightly thicker and probably require just a bit more baking time. I really wanted to test this theory myself (as an excuse to make these blondies again!), but I have moved on to other apple baked goods! I hope to have more about that in these pages soon. And I hope you’re enjoying apple season as much as I am!

Apple Cinnamon Blondies
Adapted from Food Network Magazine October, 2014

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 medium-size peeled, finely chopped apple
½ cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray or prepare similarly as desired.

2. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

3. In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Continue cooking until the butter is lightly browned. Remove from the heat and whisk in the brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.

4. Whisk the eggs into the cooled butter mixture. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth. Pour into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the batter.

5. Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and no longer gooey in the middle. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares to serve.

Makes 16 servings.

One year ago: Nasturtium Vinaigrette

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