08 Dec Bourbon Blondies with Pecans and Chocolate
We ate on the living room floor, legs stretched out in front of us, leaning against the wall for back support. We’d finished unpacking the kitchen but the furniture wouldn’t arrive for days. Without so much as a folding chair, the room felt hollow. All my friend’s worldly possessions were unloaded in neat piles around the room, ready for the bureaus and cabinets. We all agreed it reminded us of our university days, when none of us owned anything more luxurious than a second-hand futon and a toaster oven that wouldn’t toast. Flopped on the carpet, we ate takeout pizza on napkins, and washed it down with red wine. Since the corkscrew was lost in the chaos, one ingenious friend had uncorked the bottle with a power drill. On the plus side, we found the good wine glasses. And they were sparkling clean.
For dessert I brought blondies, laced with bourbon and studded with pecans and chocolate chunks. Jan Scott advices her readers not to try a new recipe the day of your party, which is sound advice. But I threw caution out the kitchen door and sneaked these in under a couple of technicalities. 1.) I made them the night before, even if it was pushing midnight. 2.) Moving is in no way a party.
Moving, however, is a gathering, which is why I wanted to make something from Gatherings: Bringing People Together with Food by my friends and colleagues Jan Scott and Julie Van Rosendaal (Whitecap ©2014). The practical part of me picked the blondies for their ease. One bowl, one pan. My sweet tooth saw bourbon, pecans and chocolate and said, “Look no further.” What does it say about me that I listen to my sugar cravings and ignore professional advice?
Regardless, I had nothing to worry about. Jan and Julie know what they’re doing. Even though I was tired and rushing — normally a fatal combination for baking — this recipe came together beautifully. It was ready for the pan in about 10 minutes, which was only slightly longer than it took me to get the uncooperative parchment to stay in place. You know you probably should step away from the kitchen when you lose a fight with a sheet of coated paper.
But I won in the end. Briefly. After they had cooled, I cut them into small squares, and transferred them to a box —once again having my ego handed to me by unruly parchment. I closed the lid and called it a night. I’m proud to say I didn’t steal any blondies after the mandatory test square. Jan doesn’t come out and say it in the book, but I’m pretty sure, “Stop nibbling and save some for others!” is an unwritten rule for gatherings.
Next time, I help someone move, I’m bringing these blondies. And a corkscrew. Just in case.
#GatheringsBook – The Blog Tour
Before I share the recipe, below is a list of the other bloggers who are taking part in the #GatheringsBook virtual blog tour. Participating bloggers will be writing about the book through the week. You might see some familiar names. You might discover new voices around the web. (I’ll be updating this during the week with live links to the specific posts):
Mardi from eat.live.travel.write. made Spiced Mulled Wine
Isabelle from Crumb Blog made Cecelia’s Neshi Pie (a samosa)
Jenny from The Brunette Baker made Pear and Cardamom Cream Cheese Tart
Stephanie from Clockwork Lemon made Sweet & Spicy Mixed Nuts
Valerie from A Canadian Foodie made Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Parmesan
Brittany from My Daily Randomness made Pulled Pork (with real baked beans!)
Robyn from Planet Byn made Peanut Butter Honey Granola
Libby from Libby Roach Photography made Braised Beef Short Ribs and Yorkshire Pudding
Meg from Sweet Twist of Blogging made Peanut Butter Balls
Christina from Strawberries for Supper made Cracker-Coated Chicken Strips
Louisa from Living Lou made Proscuitto-Wrapped Prawns
Liliana from My Cookbook Addiction made French Onion Soup
Rhonda from Olive and Ruby made Sticky Cocktail Meatballs
Jenn from Chocolate Shavings made Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grainy Mustard Sauce
- ½ cup (125 mL) butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) bourbon or whiskey
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla
- 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) salt
- ½ cup (125 mL) chop chocolate chunks of chips
- ½ cup (125 mL) chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and butter an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20 cm) pan. Line it with parchment, leaving the excess to hang over the sides. This makes for easy removal and slicing.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and sugar, the add the egg, bourbon and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until almost combined. Using a rubber spatula stir in the chocolate chunks and pecans and mix until just blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with the spatula.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides, and the middle is just set. Cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
This recipe is excerpted with permission from Gatherings: Bringing People Together with Food by Jan Scott and Julie Van Rosendaal (Whitecap © 2014)