And without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to "one of the very best" recipes that has ever rolled out of this little Café kitchen.
Well, at least that's what one of my most discerning (also charming, funny, fun, handsome, as well as most honest) recipe critic says...
So I thought I'd let him share the scoop about these Gingerbread Blondies. Meet our son, Nick!
"Just walk away Nick". This is what I have to tell myself every time I finish eating one of these blondies. It's all I can do to not wolf down half the pan in a crazed sweet tooth-induced frenzy. They are really that good. My wife, Lindsay and I have the luxury of being taste testers for many of the amazing things that are produced for this blog, but this recipe is one of the very best.
The spice of the gingerbread, the crispness of the blondie, coupled with the creamy frosting make these the ultimate holiday desert! Make them today!
So there you have it. The only thing Nick didn't tell you was how easy these Gingerbread Blondies are to put together.
You probably have all the ingredients right in your pantry and fridge. One pot and about 10 minutes later, you'll be all set to pop this wonderful sweet treat into the oven.
20 minutes after that, your kitchen will be filled with the most amazing aroma as you pull out these golden beauties.
Serve them unadorned or with the decadent buttercream icing, either way, they'll be a huge hit.
And if you have a crumb or two leftover, I know Nick would be quite thrilled if you sent them his way!
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- For the blondies:
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- For the icing:
- 4 ounces butter
- 1 ounce cream cheese
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons half & half
- nutmeg for garnish if desired
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 8-inch cake pan (or quarter sheet pan) with baking spray. Cut a length of parchment paper long enough to line the bottom of the pan with extra hanging over two of the sides. Press a crease in the parchment at the edges, so it fits snugly into the bottom. Set pan aside.
Melt the butter in a medium size pot over medium heat. Continue cooking for about 4-6 minutes till butter is foaming and turns a medium golden brown. Swirl the pan frequently and watch carefully as butter can quickly go from golden to burned. Don't let it go past medium brown as it will continue to darken a bit more when you take it off of the burner.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then add brown sugar and stir well. Add eggs, one at a time and stir till each is incorporated. Add vanilla and stir well.
Add flour, baking powder and spices and salt. Stir until all flour has disappeared. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly .
Bake 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Cool completely before icing.
For the icing, whip the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft and fluffy, about 1 minute. I like to use the whisk attachment for my mixer.
Reduce speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Once the powdered sugar is incorporated, add vanilla and 2 tablespoons half and half. Beat for 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. You may need to add more half and half if icing is too thick. Add a teaspoonful at a time until desired consistency is reach. You want a creamy and spreadable consistency.
Spread icing over cooled blondies. Sprinkle with nutmeg for garnish, if desired. Allow icing to set for at least one hour. I like to place the whole pan in the refrigerator for about an hour before cutting.
Cut blondies into 2-inch squares. Yields 16 bars if made in an 8x8-inch pan.
Although I'm an avid baker, I'll be the first to admit, I'm a HORRIBLE cutter. When I try to cut bread or bars like this, they usually end up being uneven, all different sizes and generally, a mess. I've learned a few tricks though over the years and thought I'd share them since there might be a few of you out there who need remedial 101 cutting lesson like I do. These tips refer to any type of dessert bars.
1) Even if you will serve the bars at room temperature, refrigerate them before cutting. The cuts will be much cleaner and easier, especially if there's icing involved. Then just let the bars return to room temperature before serving.
2) Use your longest, sharpest knife to make the cuts.
3) Use hot tap water to clean your knife in between cuts. Just run it under the tap water and then dry it each time with a paper towel.
4) I use a metal ruler to make even size bars. If you have a good eye, you won't need this but I always use one. I decide how big I want the bars and make tiny little cuts along each side at the appropriate place, then just connect the cuts to slice into bars. I keep the metal ruler in a handy place in my kitchen.