Pie is often the first apple dessert that comes to mind this season, especially for Thanksgiving, but apples are also excellent in cakes, loaves, cookies and so much more. Of all the apple recipes I tested recently for a story, this one for Apple Blondies is probably my favorite. I’d never had an apple dessert quite like them and they are so full of fruit that they really live up to their name. It’s a pound of apple barely held together by flour, brown sugar, and warm spices. The cakey squares are taken up a notch with cardamom and bits of toasted walnut. This is a perfect afternoon treat for this season.
We spent a recent weekend cleaning, sanding, and painting the porch. The porch is looking real good and ready for porch parties. On these cooler mornings (summer has finally left Florida) we’ve been having breakfast on the porch and if that wasn’t good enough right there (it is) imagine adding an apple blondie into the mix. It’s a sure way to make a Tuesday feel like a Friday.
My first round of the blondies were too crumbly. I swapped out melted butter for softened butter, which made a big difference in texture. Faith Durand of The Kitchn, who told me to reach for cardamom when you want to go just one step beyond cinnamon, inspired me to do that here for added flavor. I love the resulting blondie. I bet chopped candied ginger would be great here, too, if you’re feeling adventurous.
These cakey blondies are excellent with an afternoon mug of coffee. Juicy apples add so much moisture to the blondies that they’ll hold over well at room temperature for several days. You can toast the nuts in the same 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes while you’re mixing up the blondie batter. Recipe adapted from The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso.
8 tablespoons (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, plus more for dish
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
2 large firm-sweet apples (about 1 pound total), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 3/4 cups)
Heat oven to 350°F with rack in center of oven. Generously butter an 8-by-8-inch square baking dish.
Whisk together flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar with mixer until pale, about 2 minutes. Add egg and mix until just combined. Stir in walnuts and apples. Add flour mixture, and stir until combined, about 30 seconds more.
Spread batter in pan, and bake until golden brown and slightly firm, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes and then cut into 9 bars.
Makes 9 blondies.