So here we are. Or at least, here I am. Already with a blanket on my lap and a cat atop the blanket. (Niles weighs 19 lbs. My legs cannot fathom having a child.)
Has the switch been thrown so soon? Everything; the wind, the sky's cool hue, my icy fingertips, the wistful way the sun casts it's light as it sets too soon...the world's ambiance has changed. It's a subtle shift, the trees still cling to their green leaves and there will still be warm nights peppered onto the following weeks, but I can sense that a page has been turned. Every year I wonder when and how that occurs. I listen for it, I peek into hidden corridors, but it just happens. Fall slides softy and quietly into our lives the way cream swirls gently into an unstirred cup of coffee.
Inevitably, and sometimes against my will, I start to crave apples, and pumpkin lattes, and cinnamon, and maple.
I've never had the maple blondie at Applebee's. Apparently it's good and I am the only person on the planet who didn't know about this (at least according to a "maple blondie recipe." search). But instead of going with something that everyone has already had, I wanted to try something that everyone wished they could say that they've had. That makes sense, right? ;)
So I found another maple blondie recipe and made a few tweaks. I think you'll love the results. I did!
These blondies are chewy, maple-y, sweet, and rich. They're made with brown butter so...well, you know what that does to food. If you prefer something more sophisticated, you can omit the butterscotch glaze and simply sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Or, you can just dig into the pan with a fork whilst watching the Hell's Kitchen finale (I'm pulling for Christina).
However you decide to enjoy these blondies, I think they're a wonderful way to glide into an autumn state of mind.
Maple Walnut Blondies with Butterscotch Glaze
makes about 28-30 bars
for the blondies
3/4 cup (that's 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup tightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 cup Pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
for the butterscotch glaze
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (dark or light)
1 Tablespoon Pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon half & half cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
First, brown the butter: Have a heat-proof mixing bowl on hand to hold the butter once it has browned. Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan, over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, continue cooking until it develops a rich nutty aroma and the bubbles are golden brown. As the butter cooks, give the pan a gentle swirl every now and then, just to make sure everything is browning evenly. [Note: The entire process can take about 6-10 minutes, depending on the amount of heat you're using.] Pour the brown butter into the heat-proof bowl, and set is aside to cool to room temperature (if it's too warm, the eggs will curdle).
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil and spay or butter the foil. (Leave a slight overhang around the edges for easier removal later on.)
In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; Set aside.
To the bowl of the now-cool brown butter, add the brown sugar and maple syrup. Whisk until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again until smooth.
Add the brown butter/syrup mixture to the flour mixture. Use a large rubber spatula to mix everything together until the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Add the chopped nuts and use the spatula to fold them into the batter.
Scrape the batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the bars comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven and onto a cooling rack.
Prepare the glaze: In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the butterscotch chips, brown sugar, maple syrup, cream and salt. Microwave for about 1 minute (on 50% power). Remove and whisk to combine. If the mixture is still lumpy, microwave it for a few more seconds. Whisk until smooth.
Drizzle the hot glaze over the bars. [Note: This glaze hardens fast, so be sure to use it immediately.] Allow the bars and glaze to come to room temperature before removing from the pan and slicing into squares.
Inspired by Baked Bree