Imagine a giant, thick, chewy chocolate chip cookie, studded with macadamia nuts and scented with smoky-sweet maple syrup. Then cut that cookie into squares, some with a crispy edge, others all goo, and whatever you’re imagining? That is what you get with these Maple Macadamia Blondies.
There are days that call for a chocolate chip cookie. I don’t think I need to explain that to anyone. Yes, it’s comfort eating. No I don’t think that’s necessarily terrible. Some days just absolutely kick your ass. And cookies are a very affordable luxury. If you don’t have a bathtub in your house, or someone around to give you a back rub, then I can’t think of a cheaper route to relaxation and peace.
The weather has been absolutely crazy over the past few days – like someone turned the tap on above our house. And when it wasn’t pouring, the wind was ripping through the air, causing the doors and windows in our creaky old house to slam and rattle. Weather that other people complain about is usually my favourite, but this wind has thrown me a little. It’s been vicious and unrelenting.
But even with the window shuddering in its frame, my favourite cold weather pass time is still sitting inside and watching the street with a hot cup of something and a gooey sweet thang to nibble. I love how uncontrollable the weather is – no matter what we do, the rain is going to come down. There’s something extremely relaxing about leaning into that, and just letting the rainy day happen. It’s a pain in the ass if I’m trying to take photos, but sometimes a day off aligns with a rainstorm and that’s when I’m in my element, and that’s when I bake these blondies.
Blondies are actually the shit. They’re what every chocolate chip cookie out to be. Rich and gooey and chocolatey and buttery, and these have three levels of added delicious. All the levels are optional, but each extra step you take will pay off in the end. Layer one is easy – replace a little of the sugar with maple syrup. This becomes even more delicious with each day that these sit; the maple becoming more and more aromatic.
Level two browning the butter. I know you might see this as a needless pain in the ass, I see it as an indispensable added layer of toasty-butteriness – a flavour that I try to bring into my life as much as possible. And the final level is the toasting of the macadamia nuts. Are they delicious untoasted? Yes. But they are even more delicious, more flavoursome with an extra layer of toasty flavour. With all of these things working in harmony, these blondies are better than a blondie. They’re not just sweet bricks of sugary fudge (sorry other blondies). They’re complex, toasty, buttery, nutty and oozing chocolate – everything I want in a bar. Everything that I want while I sit and watch the rain bucket down the street with a hot coffee in my hands. Happy happy times.
So tell me – wet weather? Love it or hate it? And do you have a rain ritual like me? Also, you should know that I welcome company in my rain watching – and I’ll share my blondies.
- ½ cup macadamia nuts
- 2 sticks (230g) butter (plus extra for greasing)
- ½ cup (125ml) maple syrup
- ¾ cup (175g) brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 large eggs (organic and free range for preference)
- 2 cups (300g) plain flour
- 4oz (100g) dark chocolate, chopped (70% cocoa solids)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease and line an 8 inch/20cm square baking dish.
- If you want to, you can toast the macadamia nuts - chop them and pop them onto a baking tray in the oven for about 5-10 minutes or until they tan slightly (be careful not to let them burn!). Remove and let cool.
- Place the butter into a large saucepan and melt over a medium heat, then continue to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the butter fizzes up and turns a nutty brown colour.
- Pour the browned butter into a large mixing bowl, and then add the maple syrup and stir together. Set aside to cool slightly, then add the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla and stir until well combined.
- Add in the flour and macadamias and stir until combined, then fold through the chocolate and scrape into the baking pan.
- Bake for 22-27 minutes, or until risen, and golden-tan in colour. At this point the centre will still be gooey, like a firm cookie dough. If you want it a little cakier, cook for up to 35 minutes.
- Leave to cool completely in the tin, slice into 16 squares and serve.