Browned Butter Walnut Blondies

Today’s the day. Today’s the day! Today is THE day! TODAY IS THE DAY!!!

browned butter walnut blondies stack

For those of you who don’t know, today I leave for Savannah. Today is the day my dad and I head south for four days of food, food, and more food.

I already plan on going to Back In the Day Bakery at least once a day. Maybe twice. After pouring over the cookbook like it’s the latest great American novel (to me, it is), I’ve found so many things I want to try – both at the bakery and in the kitchen.

blondies overhead

I’ve already become smitten with the idea of their Drunk Blondies. I can’t wait to order one (ok, three) and just go to town. Until I’m actually in Savannah though, I’ve occupied myself by making my own blondies. Lots and lots o’ blondies, chock full of walnuts and brown sugar and the omnipresent browned butter. These Browned Butter Walnut Blondies don’t have bourbon – but that’s kind of okay. I’m not even going to attempt to outdo Griff and Cheryl when it comes to that, no way. The obvious substitution then is browned butter (isn’t it always?).

blondies stacked

I would write more about them, but I’m too excited and anxious about leaving. Trust me, I plan to talk (write?) your ear off when I get back from vacation. If you want to stay up to date with my Savannah shenanigans follow along on Twitter and Instagram. And bake a batch of these blondies to get a little taste of the south, right in your own kitchen.

Browned Butter Walnut Blondies (makes 24 squares)

2 ¼ cup flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

½ cup (1 stick) butter, browned

½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2 TBSP brewed coffee, at room temperature

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or butter a 9×13 baking dish, line with foil or parchment and butter again, set aside.

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour the browned butter over the second stick of butter and stir to combine. Add the sugars and mix on medium-high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla, mixing until light and fluffy, about another 2 minutes. Stir in coffee.

In three batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Stir in walnuts when only a few streaks of flour remain and mix until everything comes together.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the center is still slightly jiggly (it will firm up as it cools).

Remove from oven and place on wire rack until completely cool before cutting into squares.

Bars will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 4 days.

Recipe adapted from the Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook

browned butter walnut blondies

I should probably finish packing…

Stout Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Twice in one week, guys. Twice in one week. That is, twice in one week that I’m posting a recipe in a timely manner. It’s March 14. 3.14. Pi Day. PIE DAY. And I made you pie. Snaps for punctuality, y’all.

stout apple pie1

I’m terrible at math. Horrendous really. But, in high school, I lu-huved my calculus class. Loved it. Mainly because we got fed a good majority of classes.  Coffee breaks, breakfast field trips, Waffle Wednesdays (yes, a real and wonderful thing), cupcakes on birthdays, it goes on. Pi(e) Day was no exception. We did it up right too. We had a Pie-Off.

SONY DSC

Everyone in the class made a pie and then other teachers and administrators from around school would come in and judge them based on look, creativity, and, of course, taste. Sadly, my cool chai cream pie did not place in any category. It was one of my first attempts at pie making. I was young, naïve.

SONY DSC

Now, I know better. Now, I bake better. Now, I bake Stout Salted Caramel Apple pies. Now, I drizzle them with more caramel. Now, I eat a second piece of pie while lying on my living room floor.

[Read more…]

Apple Tart with Oat Crumble and Apple Infused Caramel

I accidentally made a tart. Yeap, you read that correctly. I accidentally made a tart.

Initially, I was trying to make hand pies. But my first attempt at those failed abysmally. And they didn’t even involve apples. I was trying a new recipe for dinner with my neighbors and it was the dough and the oven versus me and the timer. Sadly, I was on the losing team. Something, somewhere just didn’t quite go right. My neighbors still ate them, bless their hearts. And, they inspired me in the process!  

With a mouth full of less-than-impressive hand pie one said, “How quickly do apples go bad? You’ve got, like, eight sitting here.” He motioned to my overflowing fruit bowl. Apparently, no proper single gal has eight apples sitting on her counter. I decided not to tell him I had more apples in the fridge…

I knew that despite eating one or two apples a day as a snack, they were going to go south before I got around to finishing them. I figured baking with them would be the best use of my time, but I couldn’t stomach the idea of more cake. Then I remembered the extra pie dough sitting in my fridge and knew exactly what I would do. An apple tart!
When the going gets tough, the tough make tarts.

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Peanut Butter S’mores Cups

This is it.

These s’mores cups are my last attempt to grasp hold of summer. To enjoy the fleeting heat and streaks of sun. To ignore the fact that it’s already September (woa) and already Labor Day (double woa).

I love fall. It is my favorite season. But I’m not quite ready for it. I want the boots and the sweaters and  the caramel spice and the falling leaves just as must as anyone else, but not right.this.minute.

I am done with work for the summer. I am putting offpacking for school. I am looking at reading lists and scavenging for used books. I am dragging my feet.

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Dark Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Marshmallow Coffee Buttercream

I get a lot of things from my dad. My brown eyes, olive skin, and “solid” build all come from him. My annoyingly obsessive attention to detail, dry sense of humor, and predisposition to mornings go to his credit too. While some of the traits I have gotten from him are genetic, I’ve also picked up a lot of learned behaviors from him over the years. Since I was a little girl I’ve been watching him and studying him and mimicking him – it’s only natural that some of his habits and traits would eventually become mine. For better or worse.
There’s one thing he does though that I will just not do. Never, ever will I be okay with doing this. Never, EVER. It is a habit so disgusting, so repulsive I can barely bring myself to write it (I’m really making you want one of those cupcakes up there, aren’t I?).
My father reuses day-old coffee.
There. I said it. And may have gotten a little queasy.

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Chai Spiced Cookies with Toasted Pecans

I wore a dress as a skirt yesterday. And sandals. Cheap, flimsy aviator sunglasses were involved too. I had to put my hair up to fend off unsightly neck sweat.
What I'm trying to say is that we're finally, FINALLY into the throws of spring and nearly hitting summer. I've got less than a month left of school. I caught the scent of a charcoal grill in the afternoon air. People are lounging about and reading outside in the sun. All good things, all summery things.
So why did I make cookies that taste just.like.fall? That bring to mind changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and thick sweaters? That are neither a sweet and light lemony dessert or a crisp, refreshing beverage perfect for the sweltering heat to come?
Because I like to be difficult.

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Peanut Butter Cupcakes with White Chocolate and Pretzel Mousse

Ok, I know I’m a journalism major and all but, can I just say that writing is hard. Like, really hard. Coming up with something great and witty and inspiring? One of the most painstaking experiences ever. Not to mention the editing and rewriting and editing and rewriting. And making it coherent? Word putting together be hard stuff.
And, because I’m neurotic and can never make things easy on myself, I am also very particular about whereI write. I can’t write just anywhere, oh no, that is SO not going to fly. Like my room? Nope, not going to happen. Too cramped, too stuffy. The place where I set up my laptop has got to be perfect if I am going to attempt to write.

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Toffee Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

I like to think I’m somewhat up on trends. I love riding boots, long sweaters, and scarves. I get that. But sometimes I think I missed the boat on certain trends. Like furry vests (really?), platform heels (ouch!), or hipster anything (uhh, no thanks.). But, a trend I do get is browned butter. Oh man, do I get browned butter. 
Yes, there are food trends too. Think fad diets, the cupcake craze, and new-fangled kitchen gadgets. All trends. And so is sweet, nutty, and oh-so-addicting browned butter. I have seen it all over food blogs and Pinterest, from cookies to pasta.
Somewhere I didn’t expect to see it was my great grandma’s recipe notebook, but there it was! Some 70 plus years ahead of the times, my great grandma was putting browned butter in her desserts. So, it’s not surprising why I’m so drawn to browned butter. It’s in my blood!

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Puppy Chow Cupcakes and a Blogiversary!

366 days. That’s how long I’ve had this blog. One year and one day. That’s a long time.
I had initially wanted to do this post yesterday, on my actual blogiversary. But I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and right. I tried, as I’ve done so many times before, but the words just wouldn’t come. I wasn’t going to force them to, I know that doesn’t work.
We can just consider these cupcakes fashionably late – and completely delicious! I thought of them ages ago while I was sitting in class (my tuition money hard at work right there). I have always had a soft spot in my stomach heart for puppy chow. When my mom made it when my sisters and I were little it was like a holiday, a day that should have been nationally recognized! We would eat cup after cup of it, watching the layer of powdered sugar get thicker and thicker on our fingers, refusing to lick them clean until our mom cut us off from the goods.

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Today is the day. February 14. The day when we have to shower our loved ones with gifts and adorations and goodies, the bigger the better. If there isn’t a horse-drawn carriage, diamonds the size of tennis balls, and an acoustic band quietly playing Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” in the background while doves fly overhead then I’m not interested.
Unless there’s dessert.

Read more »

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