Maple Pecan Blondies
This recipe has been a long time in the making. Four tries, at least, until I was happy enough to share. The other couple tries ended in me smuggling ziploc bags of crumbly blondie squares down to the cabin before anyone could see how much I'd messed them up. I'd wait till 11 pm rolled around and I'd munch away the evidence.
I'm happy that this version worked so nicely: I can't afford to keep hoarding baked goods and waking up in a pile of crumbs.
Even if the crumbs do taste buttery, rich, and oh-so nutty...
Maple and pecan go together so well. I had originally envisioned these to have macadamia nuts mixed in, but I like my recipes to be accessible (not everyone can find macadamia nuts in their local market- or afford them!) and simple. The pecans accent the buttery, decadent maple flavor beautifully. I made these little beauties using fresh, homemade pure maple syrup from the Maple trees tapped on my family's property. It is so, so good.
Being that I am from Maine and have access to a substantial amount of maple-y things, I also topped my blondies with a little pure maple sugar. It adds just a little texture and sweetness to the top, but is certainly not necessary.
If you are interested though, you can get some here.
I've been experimenting a lot with gluten-free flours and making my own gluten-free flour mixture. There have been a lot of mistakes and missteps, but I'm starting to get better at making gluten-free baked goods that don't suck. And when I perfect my homemade gluten-free flour mix, I'll let you know. In the meantime, Bob's Red Mill works fantastically. Or, if you have a favorite all purpose gluten-free baking mix of your own, use it and let me know how it turns out!
You could also probably sub out the gluten-free flour mix and xantham gum for regular ol’ whole wheat and get the same results, only more glutinous. I haven’t tried it, but usually whole wheat will bind anything.
1 cup vegan butter or shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
3/4 pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
2 flax eggs (2 T. ground flax+ 1/3 cup warm water)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (see note above)
1/4 tsp. + a pinch of xantham gum
1 cup chopped pecans
pure maple sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare flax eggs in a small dish and set aside to gelatinize, about 5 minutes.
In a mixer, combine butter, vanilla, sugar, maple syrup, and extract if you’re using it. (I’ve made it both with and without and think its maple-y enough without it but if you LOVE maple, add it.)
Add flax eggs and continue to mix on medium speed until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda & powder, and xantham gum. Add dry ingredients to wet slowly with mixer on low.
Mix until uniform in consistency, then remove the mixer bowl from the stand, throw in the pecans and give it a good stir. Pour batter into a greased or floured 9x13 in. baking dish. If you have it, lightly sprinkle pure maple sugar over the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges of the blondies start pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely before cutting.
Makes 12-16 squares, depending on how big you cut ‘em.