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.
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.
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.
(adapted from Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies) 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.
BOURBON CHOCOLATE BLONDE BROWNIES
(adapted from Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies)
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.
I have SO much bourbon. And this only gets rid on one tablespoon!??
I need a bread pudding or something.
You couldn’t possibly have as much as we do. A local fox-hunting club that rides on our land gives us a bottle of Maker’s every Christmas. And neither of us drink it. If it wasn’t illegal to ship, I’d send you more. 🙂
Well that’s a silly illegalness. Maybe you could disguise it in a Derby Pie…
I’m all for nuts and bourbon. I wouldn’t even need the chocolate, but I’ll take it.
It’s a nice complement to your priority flavoring. 😉
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 😉
Indeed! But, then again, probably anything would go well with that. 😉
Bourbon and pecans have been on my mind this week. Thinking of making a chocolate bourbon pecan pie. If there are any extra ingredients, this will be next!
Bourbon pecan pie is never a bad idea. 🙂
I’m crazy about chocolates. Lovely treat!
I love the shade of brown you achieved. These look very… pleasant (and delicious).
Thanks, Nick! Very pleasant indeed.
All the changes you made make perfect sense to me! I don’t know why more recipes don’t just call for real chocolate instead of chocolate chips!
I am sure she meant good chocolate chips. But still, give me bittersweet. Always!
I seem to be stocked up on every type of spirit except bourbon! Nonetheless, you had me at pecans 🙂
Well, it’s only a tablespoon. So most any spirit will do!
YUMMO! Definitely going to try this one out … thank you for being mistaken.
Plenty of mistakes here. Thank goodness they sometimes work for the better!
I am a brownie purist but those look a feast!
Thanks! It’s good to mix it up a little now and then, isn’t it?
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.
What’s not to like, right? And, oh, yes, Alice Medrich’s recipes are wonderful!
Ooh these look divine!
Thanks, Angelica! They were pretty tasty.
I love everything about all these ingredients. Looks great, Michelle.
Thanks, Misti! Although I’d never drink it, a little bourbon in a dessert is a good thing.
A brownie isn’t complete without nuts of some form. Bourbon is a new ingredient but one I can easily get behind. 🙂
So true! A brownie without nuts is just candy, right?
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.
Oh, that’s funny about your aunt. I’m looking forward to your dessert-fest!
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.
I know what you mean about blondies, but I’ve got this madeleine thing I just can’t shake. So I’m always looking.
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.
Me too! Have you ever used one of those pans that makes brownies with additional edges? I’ve been tempted to buy one, but I do fear they might be too good to be true. http://www.bakersedge.com/product_ebp.html
I haven’t ever used one but that is something I always want when looking through random cooking equipment magazines! I haven’t ever bought one because the last thing I need is more kitchen stuff….but I really want someone I know to buy it so I can borrow it!
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.
Looks so delicious, I love a slice with my coffee
I was going to look at your soup recipe, but the sight of these Blondies on your home page distracted me:) I love your substitutes, these look fabulous for a Christmas dessert tray! Wishing you a wonderful and restful Christmas holiday!! xx
How sweet of you! Hope you have a lovely holiday as well.