This week, I’m continuing with my idea of doing easy recipes like bar cookies in the middle of the week by trying out King Arthur Flour’s “Butter-Nut Blondies” (from Whole Grain Baking, p. 348). This was one of the recipes on the list I passed around the office, but nobody actually picked it — I chose it primarily because it was easy and I already had all the ingredients. It turned out, when I brought them in to the office, that many people were confused about what exactly a blondie is, which might be why nobody asked for them. This week being pretty light on staffing, I still had to call in the vultures to finish off the batch (and oh, I had I think three of the bars myself, which was far more than I should have).
I overlapped the baking of these with my dinner preparation, so I don’t actually have any photos of the mise en place or any of the intermediate baking steps. The parts list is quite simple, albeit with a few surprises: a quarter-pound of butter; 15 ounces of dark brown sugar (convenient since the India Tree brand dark muscovado that I prefer comes in a one-pound bag); three large eggs; a teaspoon each of vanilla, baking powder, and salt; six ounces of traditional whole-wheat flour; just over 5½ oz of chopped toasted pecans; and a tablespoon of cider vinegar. I have no idea what function the vinegar is supposed to play here, since there’s no baking soda in the recipe to neutralize it — does it help to invert some of the sugar? The recipe also calls for an optional quarter-teaspoon of butter-rum or butter-pecan flavor; I just used a teaspoon of dark rum instead.
Rather than the creaming method that one might expect, in this recipe the butter is melted, and then all of the other ingredients are added in the usual order. The batter is baked in a lubricated 9×13 baking pan (I of course added a parchment sling) at 350°F for about 27 minutes, and then allowed to rest overnight in the pan before portioning. (This long rest gives the wheat bran some time to soften — the recipe recommends a 24-hour rest, which didn’t fit with my schedule.)
So when I got up in the morning, my pan full of blondies looked like this. (I actually had covered it with plastic wrap after it had fully cooled.) I portioned it in 24 individual bars; rather than making the usual 2×2 almost-squares, I instead (entirely by mistake, as it happened) made 1½x3″ rectangles — same quantity, just a different shape.
For transportation to work, I stacked the blondies on a dinner plate, separating the layers with some eight-inch parchment rounds, and then wrapped the whole stack in plastic wrap. They were pretty well received: nobody claimed not to like them, although a few people said they were too sweet (which I’d probably agree with myself).
Despite all the sugar, these are surprisingly low in calories — if you cut them to the recommended portion size, anyway.
|Serving size: 1/24 recipe (4.875 in2)|
|Servings per recipe: 24|
|Amount per serving|
|Calories 180||Calories from fat 81|
|% Daily Value|
|Total Fat 9g||14%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||15%|
|Trans Fat 0g|||
|Total Carbohydrate 22g||7%|
|Dietary fiber 1g||5%|