Monday, March 25, 2013

pecan blondies

Every cook or baker has recipes that are begged for, I think. Blondies are one of mine, to the point that I can't remember the last time I visited the in laws and was not asked about these babies.

This version, flavoured with molasses and pecans, isn't necessarily superior to the Bailey's and browned sugar ones I love so much, but they are a great alternative. They were born out of a sad necessity when I noted my kitchen was out of brown sugar, a key ingredient and that (gasp) I didn't have butter on hand, only margarine. (I'd used the last of the butter earlier in crepes, so I couldn't complain.) Without the caramelized flavours of brown sugar and browned butter I needed some other points of interest. Molasses makes these almost gingerbread-like and the pecans add a touch of crunch. The only other major addition is a touch of extra flour, to compensate for the moisture brought by the molasses.

These would be a well placed recipe near the Christmas season with the slight gingerbread-esque edge the molasses gives to the recipe. If you wanted to play that up, the addition of some cinnamon, nutmeg or clove would certainly help though it's not necessary. The other big difference in the finished product is the texture, which can be more like a fudgy brownie (with a lower cooking time) or more cookie like (with a higher cooking time).

Bake with caution, because these will be a repeat request.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp fancy molasses
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups (not packed) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups pecan pieces
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F. Grease a 9x11 baking pan.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
  3. Add the sugar to the butter, stirring until the sugar fully melts into the butter. Once the sugar has melted, add the molasses. After about 2 minutes, remove the butter and sugar mixture from the heat.
  4. Let cool 5 minutes.
  5. Add vanilla and eggs, beating vigourously to combine. The longer you beat at this point, the better crust you'll get.
  6. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing until just combined.
  7. Stir in the pecan pieces.
  8. Transfer your blondie batter to your baking pan. The batter will be fairly thick here, but you should be able to push everything out to the edges and smooth down the top.
  9. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

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