Bonus nuts, better chocolate improve Bourbon Chocolate Blonde Brownies

Bourbon Chocolate Blonde Brownies

Gourmandistan is usually happy to studiously follow an Alice Medrich recipe, but we are not above adding our own enhancements to some of the Queen of Chocolate’s sweets—sometimes because of a mistake.

Bourbon Chocolate Blonde Brownies

The first time Michelle made these blonde brownies, she wondered why on earth Medrich’s instructions didn’t say to toast the nuts. After doing so, Michelle realized that there was a reason: the nuts were to be added only as a topping and would toast themselves while the brownies were baking. Since the nuts were already toasted, Michelle just threw them into the batter and added some raw nuts to the top. The resulting nut-rich bars turned out so well the blondies became a regular part of our Gourmandistan’s deep, wide and heavy dessert rotation. (We must say the blog does slightly distort our love for dessert, as sweets are generally compliant, polite photography subjects content to wait until after a meal for their photo sitting.) Other adjustments along the way have included using dark brown sugar rather than light (because dark is what we had on hand), substituting pecans for walnuts (because we think they go better with bourbon) and topping with richer, more luscious bittersweet chocolate chunks instead of Medrich’s called-for semisweet chips.

Bourbon Chocolate Blonde Brownies

These slightly bourbon-y, darkly chocolate and definitely nutty bars may not be what Medrich had in mind. But we think Gourmandistan’s blondes have more fun—and definitely more nuts.


  • Servings: one 8-inch pan
  • Print

(adapted from Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies)

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 TB (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 c. + 2 TB dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 TB bourbon
  • 1 c. pecans, broken or coarsely chopped
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Line the bottom and all four sides of an 8″ square pan with aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Toast 2/3 cup of the pecans in the oven. Set aside to cool.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Toss together with a fork.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Remove pan from heat and stir in the brown sugar. Beat in egg, vanilla and bourbon, using a wooden spoon. Stir in flour mixture. Then stir in the toasted pecans. Spread the batter evenly in the foil-lined pan.

Sprinkle the chocolate evenly over the batter. Then sprinkle with remaining (untoasted) nuts.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack. Lift from pan using the foil.


  1. I definitely agree with regard to pecans and bourbon, though I love walnuts in the regular version. Those brownies sound great, I could eat one with with a little JD, though they’d probably go well with the Spanish sherry brandy I’m drinking now 😉

  2. There’s something so delicious about the combination of bourbon, sugar and pecans. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong country, looks truly delicious. I’ve only just discovered the joys of Alice Medrich’s pastries and desserts online too.

  3. Looks delicious to me. I love how one nut can go better with bourbon than another. Your photos are gorgeous so you’re right in terms of baking being a great subject. My aunt actually told me she skips my posts that are desserts because she only makes savory. It got in my head and I started to go more savory, but then I changed my mind. Who cares? I’ll make what I want. Next week will be a dessert-fest! Lovely recipe. I kind of want it right now.

  4. I so agree re the compliance and general agreeability of sweets as blog post subjects. That said, although I generally am lukewarm on blondies, the bourbon, chocolate, and extra nuts make this sound like something I would love.

  5. Those buttery crackly edges are driving me crazy through the screen, I can just imagine biting into them. When it comes to brownies or blondies, it’s always the corner pieces that I covet. Also digging that you tweaked the recipe so much — looks like you made it a total winner. I am a total sucker for bittersweet chocolate so I’d definitely be on board for your version.

  6. Ms. Medrich is the queen of chocolate. These look pretty fabulous. I won’t be making them. Just flying back from NYC and I’m surprised they didn’t kick me off the plane for weight limits.

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