Chocolate chunk almond butter blondies
This post was created in partnership with Califia Farms.
Whenever anyone (read: usually an interviewer) asks me to describe myself in three words or less, my initial response is almost always chronic over-thinker. Which isn’t usually what they’re expecting - or looking for - so I’m asked to describe myself in three more words. Rather, three words that sum up OLC. And because I get annoyed when people try to manipulate answers by way of rewording the question, I always request to skip it because I JUST GAVE YOU THREE WORDS, DAMNIT (ok, two if you’re the kind of person who writes over-thinker as overthinker).
It isn't any exaggeration to say I overthink a good 30% of the decisions I have to make in a given day. Which is pretty high considering a majority of those decisions have absoltuely no impact on my overall health or well being (or, you know, amount to anything that really matters). Let's take the kitchen, for example. It took me a year and a half (!) to finalize the finishes.. yet I still find myself second guessing those despite the fact that our new kitchen will be far superior to the one we have now. Or how about the prelude for our wedding. We spent all of 30 minutes picking the songs.. and then I spent most of the eight hour plane ride rearranging the playlist because, for some crazy reason, that was more important than finishing the seating arrangements or trying to figure out who was going to make the overpriced bunch of flowers I was going to carry down the aisle. I mean, the fact that I'm a chronic over-thinker is why our mattress is still on cinder blocks even though those things shouldn't have made the move from our industrial downtown loft to the place we currently call home. It's why I'm terrible at meal planning because WHAT IF I DON'T WANT TACOS ON THURSDAY? And if you're one of the people who's been waiting and waiting and waiting for me to post this recipe, I'm pretty sure you know why it took me (almost) seven months to share.
Truth be told, the almondmilk to coconut oil ratio is what got me. After my first round of testing, there were three variations that I loved; three variations that felt like picking one was like I was asking myself to pick a favorite brother. In the end, I did what I always do: I made the world's longest (and most useless) list of pros + cons and wound up settling on the version below. Because the beauty in this particular recipe is that you can achieve similar results to the other two, just by baking them a few minutes less (or by baking them at a lower temperature for the same amount of time). But the icing on the cake? The fact that the blondies from this recipe will stay fresh for up to seven days - meaning you can enjoy a blondie every day for one week. And, if you're like me, you'll spend way too much time trying to figure out when you should devour the eighth, so I'll save you the trouble: keep it 'til the end and go out in a gluttonous bang.
Notes: If you want a full pan, double the recipe and bake in an 8-9" square baking pan. Or, if you're down with thin blondies, you can bake the recipe below in an 8- 9" square pan, too (but keep an eye on them because they'll likely only have to bake for right around 20 minutes). If you're not a fan of almond butter, feel free to use your favorite nut butter. We use Justin's around here, but something tells me most of the natural varieties (that don't have much oil separation) will work just as well. Brown sugar yields the best texture, but if you'd rather use sucanat or coconut/maple sugar, have at it. Just make sure, once you add the almondmilk, you give the liquid a good 10 minutes to break down the sugar. If you want to use gluten free flour, you can substitute your favorite blend in place of the unbleached flour - you'll want to use 140g, which will be considerably less than 1 cup.
This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, maker of my favorite non-GMO + carrageenan-free almondmilk (amongst other delicious beverages). All opinions are my own (and I think Califia rules).
CHOCOLATE CHUNK ALMOND BUTTER BLONDIES
3/4 cup (156g) brown sugar
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch
2 tablespoons (22g) refined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (84g) Califia Farms original almondmilk, warm
1/2 cup (128g) almond butter
1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
1 cup (140g) unbleached flour
Dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Raw almonds, roughly chopped
Pinch of sea salt flakes
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 5x8" baking pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and potato starch, followed by the coconut oil and vanilla extract; mix for about 30 seconds to ensure the starch absorbs any excess oil. Whisk in the almondmilk, until completely combined, then whisk in the almond butter and mix until smooth (it should thicken to about the consistency of cake batter, but will depend on the almond butter you use). Add the baking powder, sea salt, and flour, and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula, just until combined.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan then level with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with chocolate chunks, chopped almonds, and sea salt flakes (if desired). Bake at 350˚F for 34-38 minutes (I baked mine for 36). For suuuupa chewy blondies, bake for 28-30 minutes. For blondies that are completely baked through, bake for the full 38 minutes. Once baked, transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. After 10 minutes, lift bars out of the pan (this is why lining with parchment is important) and cool completely. Cut into 8 squares and store in an air tight container. Will keep for up to one week (yes, ONE WEEK) though I prefer them on the third day.
Yield: 8 blondies