(Note: this post was originally published on December 1, 2019. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
The Blondie I've Always Wanted
Okay, get ready for my absolute new favorite treat: decadent Coffee Macadamia Blondies that just happen to be flourless and vegan. Do you see that amazing fudgy texture??
Yes, it's true, miracles do happen. These are some of the most luxurious, chewy, sticky, sweet bars around. They're loaded with rich chocolate, crunchy macadamia nuts, and punchy coffee flavor. They're unbelievably satisfying and feel so naughty. But believe it or not, these beauties are entirely fruit-sweetened and get all of their fat and moisture from nuts. Nutritionally-speaking, they're essentially a Lara bar.
So what's the secret??
The Magic of Dates
Drumroll please... the secret ingredient is dates! No joke, these bars get all their structure and sweetness from fruit. When I began working on this recipe, I wanted to make a blondie that was completely plant-based and naturally sweetened. But I also wanted a blondie that required only "normal" ingredients that most people either have in their pantry or can easily acquire.
After many attempts, I finally decided to try dates. And guess what? They make the perfect blondie batter! These are dense, fudgy, chewy, and don't at all seem like a "healthy" recipe. The dates provide so much sweetness that you'll never miss regular sugar. When combined with nut butter, they yield a bar that is surprisingly decadent and flavorful.
Dates are actually a wonderful baking ingredient, and you'll find numerous date-based treats on this blog. This single ingredient can do so many things! They add wonderful (but good-for-the-body) sweetness. Their slightly gooey texture also adds some structure to the batter. And they add moisture too, meaning you can get away with less added fats.
A Very Special Hawaiian Nut
In terms of flavors, these beautiful blondies pair three of my favorite Hawaiian foods: macadamia nuts, coffee, and chocolate. Really, can there be anything better? The slightly bitter coffee tames the sweetness of the dates and the richness of the chocolate, and macadamia nuts add the perfect buttery crunch.
I'm very happy to be bringing this recipe to you in partnership with the wonderful folks at Mauna Loa, who grow the absolute best macadamia nuts on the big island of Hawai'i. If you're not already a MacNut lover, please give this recipe a try! They're my most favorite nut because they have such a rich taste and the perfect indulgent texture.
It's official, I'm MacNut obsessed.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Dates. Always double check that they're pitted! Sneaky pits often hide inside and they can break teeth.
Peanut butter. Any kind of nut butter will work here; I prefer using peanut butter since it's least expensive, and you won't really taste it anyways.
Milk of choice. I like baking with soy milk most because of its richness, but anything will work. I prefer unsweetened and unflavored.
Flax seed meal. This helps provide some additional cohesiveness to the batter. I've tested it without and they work okay, so don't stress if you don't have this on-hand. But if you do, a couple spoonfulls helps.
Espresso powder. King Arthur Flour makes this and it's absolutely divine; I highly suggest getting some and putting it in lots of different baked goods! Instant coffee is the best substitution, but I'd double the amount since it's a lot less strong.
Chocolate chips. I like to use dark chocoate here, since the dates are quite sweet already. Or you can use your favorite baking bar, cut into chunks.
In addition to being absurdly delicious, these blondies have some true nutritional power. Because they're loaded with protein, healthy fats, and fiber from the dates, they actually nourish the body. They're decadent enough for dessert, yet the ingredients make them totally fair game for breakfast, snacks, or lunch. Maybe we should call them "breakfast blondies" instead?? Yes, I'm liking this idea!
But if you really want to take them over the top for dessert, melt some chocolate in a splash of Kahlua and drizzle it all over the top. You can thank me later.
One final point. Are these really a "blondie"? I'll leave that up to you. In my mind, "brownie" implies chocolate in the batter and "blondie" implies no chocolate (at least not in the batter itself, not counting chocolate add-ins). So using that definition, these are blondies. My husband Dave, however, argues that "blondie" isn't appropriate since the batter is dark-colored (due to both the dates and the coffee) rather than blond. So if that's the case, what are they? Date bars? That sounds too healthy though. Anyways, call them what you like.
I hope you'll give these a try. I love to have dessert in the evening, and I love even more when that dessert is as good for the body as it is for the soul. These blondies really fit the bill.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: Mauna Loa is a long-term partner and I receive free product. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
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0.5 c chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
0.25 c chopped macadamia nuts, plus more for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 350 and thoroughly oil an 8x8 baking pan. Note that this is a sticky dough, so oiling is critical! Conversely, you can line the bottom of the baking dish with parchment paper, which is fail-proof.
Measure all ingredients except the chocolate chips and MacNuts into a food processor. Process until you have a thick, sticky dough that's homogeneous throughout.
Remove the blade from the food processor and add the chocolate and nuts. Mix everything together with a spoon or spatula until the add-ins are evenly incorporated.
Spread the dough into the prepared baking dish with a spatula; it may need some persuasion. Try to create a layer of even thickness that goes all the way into the corners.
Sprinkle the top of the dough with an additional generous handful of chocolate chips and MacNuts.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Keep a close eye on it toward the end, since the edges will brown quickly due to the sugar content of the dates.
Cool completely if you want to be able to cut the blondies neatly.
Store the blondies in a sealed container in the fridge; they'll hold their shape better. You can either enjoy them cold, or reheat them for a few seconds in the microwave. They also freeze nicely, as long as you keep them tightly sealed.