Blondies are a great everyday treat to bake. They’re just as easy to make as a batch of chocolate chip cookies, but take much less time because they’re baked in a pan and sliced later, rather than being baked off one by one in multiple batches. The bar cookies also invite experimentation, because there are many flavors that go well in the chewy cookie base. I’ve used everything from chocolate to nuts in my blondies before, and put a spicier spin on these Chewy Walnut, Ginger and Toffee Blondies with some candied ginger.
Candied ginger is a great ingredient to work with in baking because it has a sharp, spicy sweetness and a hint of crunchiness from the sugar on the exterior of the ginger. The flavor is bright and bold, and if you buy larger pieces of ginger and chop them up yourself, you have a lot of control over how big of an impact the spicy ginger will have in your baking. Here, I’ve paired the ginger with buttery walnuts and bits of toffee and it is a blend of flavors that works out very well.
The blondies are chewy and have a slightly fudgy, brownie-like quality to them – although, of course, there is no chocolate in this recipe. The fudgy texture comes, in part, from the fact that there is no baking powder or baking soda in this recipe (something common to brownie recipes), so as the sugar caramelizes in the bars it leaves them with a rich, dense texture. The walnuts are crunchy and give the blondies a lot of texture, while the ginger adds a spicy punch and the toffee balances it out.
As with many recipes, I prefer to use toasted and lightly salted walnuts in this recipe. It makes the nuts a little bit more flavorful and gives them a little bit of an extra crunch. It also makes them stand out even more from the sweet toffee and spicy-sweet candied ginger because they introduce a salty element to the bars. That said, unsalted and even untoasted walnuts will still work very well in this recipe, lending a more subtle crunch to the finished blondies but a lot of buttery walnut flavor.
Chewy Walnut, Ginger and Toffee Blondies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup diced candied ginger
1/4 cup toffee bits, or coarsely chopped toffee
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla until well blended.
Stir in flour and salt, then mix in chopped walnuts, candied ginger and toffee bits.
Spread dough evenly in prepared pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and blondies are set in the center.
Cool in the pan, and use the foil to remove the blondies for easy slicing.
Makes 16 blondies.