This is a deliciously moist and chewy, fudgey blondie with cinnamon-infused caramel-like flavours. Perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea, with a cup of black tea or your favourite espresso.
When my hubby said we were going for a 14-kilometre (8-mile) Nordic walk cum trek with our regular group of Nordic walkers through the trails at MacRitchie Reservoir Park last weekend, I thought right away,”We’re going to need some serious energy food!”.
While most avid and serious fitness enthusiasts would probably reach for an energy bar or a high-fibre, low GI food source, I have to confess that those kinds of food do not figure prominently on my list. I’m the kind of person who, when I need my sugar fix, needs to have it as quick as I can get it! So, the day before the walk, I made these moist, chewy and fudge-like cinnamon pecan blondies – they’re just like brownies, texture-wise, minus the cocoa. Whereas brownies can be a really rich and indulgent dessert, like heavyweights in the desserts category, blondies are more like welterweights – they’re lighter on your palette and perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea.
Dark muscovado sugar really takes centre stage here, and when paired with ground cinnamon, creates a complex, layered flavour that is truly quite wonderful. If you like gingerbread or gingersnap cookies, I think these are right up your alley. I have learnt that not all sugars are created equal, and muscovado sugar is definitely in a class of its own.
Available in light or dark, muscovado sugars are extremely soft, moist, sticky and clump-like due to their higher moisture content. They also have richer, deeper flavours as these sugars, unlike white or brown sugars, still retain most of their molasses as well as natural mineral content, being only slightly or partially refined.
Muscovado sugars are primarily used for baking and making rum. In recipes calling for brown sugar, muscovado can be used in its place, by slightly reducing the liquid content of the recipe (source: wikipedia.org). However, just take note that due to its higher molasses content, it has a slightly treacly flavour, which I personally consider more as a positive, if nothing else, as it adds that much more depth to your bakes.
Now, if you are looking for finger food or sweet treat ideas for a tea party, these blondies are superb! Often, my guests go “mmm …”, once they get past the initial caramel-like sweetness, and into the richer, nested flavours of molasses and cinnamon. I think these are best eaten plain, especially in between sips of a strong black tea or espresso!
Cinnamon Pecan Blondies
- 100 g butter, unsalted
- 250 g dark (or light) brown muscovado sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 150 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100 g pecan halves lightly toasted
- Grease and line the base of the brownie pan. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F).
- Place butter in a medium sized pan. Set it over a low fire and melt the butter gently. Add the sugar and ground cinnamon and stir until smooth and melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Using a wooden spoon, add the lightly beaten eggs into the butter-sugar mixture and beat well until thoroughly combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then stir until just combined.
- Add the lightly toasted pecan halves, and mix in gently, but do not over-stir the batter. Scoop out the batter into the prepared pan, and level the surface of the batter evenly.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown, or until a metal or bamboo skewer inserted halfway between the sides and the centre emerges free of sticky batter. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then loosen and remove from the pan, and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- When completely cooled, cut into 15 squares, or into larger or smaller squares as desired. Serve warm. If storing, keep in an air-tight container and consume within 4 days.