Falling somewhere between brownie and cookie, these dessert bars contain pockets of gooey dark chocolate and wonderfully textured bits of crunchy pecans for even more zing! The best part? They’re clean eating, gluten free and can be whipped up in the time it takes your oven to preheat!
Cookie Bar or Blonde Brownie?
There’s this weird debate regarding this but honestly the answer is that they’re both. Brownies themselves are a dessert bar containing cocoa powder or chocolate mixed into the batter. Blondies on the other hand, utilize flavorings like vanilla and butterscotch instead of chocolate/cocoa.
With a nod to the original 1900s recipe that utilizes molasses, we’ll be adding a touch of that to our blondies today, that plus some coconut sugar will give our bars a heavenly deep caramel-like flavor and a denser-than-a-cookie texture that makes them iconically brownie like! And as a bonus, we’ll be tossing in some chopped pecans and dark chocolate chips as well to make our bars the ultimate cross over of all worlds. I can’t wait to get started on this one today so let’s get right to it…
Here’s What You Need To Make These Blondies:
- Almond Flour: We’ll be using blanched almond flour as our main flour. Ensure your flour is a finely ground one to ensure the best texture.
- Coconut Sugar: The caramel notes from coconut sugar adds amazing flavor to our blondies, the fact that it’s also a low GI sugar is a bonus!
- Molasses: I recommend using unsulphured molasses for this recipe.
- Egg: One large US standard egg will be needed.
- Raw Cane Sugar: I’m using a minimally processed raw cane sugar. Since raw cane sugar is minimally processed it contains larger crystals that don’t melt down or incorporate as easily so to avoid any gritty texture I recommend blending it down into a fine powder (I use a personal blender for this) to make incorporation easier.
- Salt: Pink Himalayan or sea salt are good options.
- Baking Powder: A small touch of baking powder will be our rising agent. You can use baking soda if you prefer however the rise won’t be as much and the crinkle top won’t be as prominent as when baking powder is used.
- Vanilla Extract: Opt to use a strong, good quality vanilla extract.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter can be used for this recipe, the choice is yours. Want to add even MORE flavor? Consider browning your butter for this recipe!
- Chocolate Chips: I’m using dark chocolate chips with a mix of 72% and 85%. Feel free to use your favorite chocolate chips.
- Pecans: I’m using pecan halves that I’ve chopping into irregular bits.
Can I Omit the Pecans or Chocolate Chips?
Honestly, you can since the original version of blondies don’t contain either. That being said, if you do choose to omit both the chocolate chips and the pecans, I recommend doubling the batter to ensure your blondies aren’t too thin when they bake up.
Can I Add in Other Things?
Sure! This recipe is quite adaptable to add ins – just don’t go too crazy! Two other great add ins include old fashioned oats or of unsweetened shredded coconut. Both these ingredients add great chew and texture to your bars. I recommend adding in about 2tbsp each.
Do I Have to Use Two Kinds of Sugar?
This recipe uses both coconut sugar and (finely blended) raw cane sugar. In our test batches I’ve found that using both gives the best results when it came to both taste and texture. However, if you only have one on hand, you can opt to use only that sugar and the recipe will still turn out great! Just be sure you replace it with the same amount the recipe calls for (so if you’re replacing 1/4 cup coconut sugar, replace it with 1/4 cup finely blended raw cane sugar).
Make Your Blondies in 6 Easy Steps!
To a bowl we’re going to add our melted butter, sugars, egg, molasses and vanilla (1). Stirring and mixing it all together we want it to be fully combined into an almost caramel like mixture (2).
Next, we’ll add in our almond flour, baking powder and salt (3) and stir until it’s fully combined (4). Finally, we’ll add in our chopped pecans and dark chocolate chips (5) and fold them in to evenly distribute them (6).
With our batter done, we’ll scrape it into a butter-greased and parchment lined 8×8 tin and spread your batter into an even layer, ensuring that you push it into all 4 corners. You don’t need to use the parchment but I highly recommend it since it ensures the bottom doesn’t stick and makes unmolding a dream.
Then pop it into your preheated oven to bake up. Your blondies are done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip.
You’ll notice that it rises and puffs up, it’s not going to stay that way, it will drop a bit once it’s baked and you take it out.
But that drop isn’t a bad thing at all because it gives you this pretty crinkle top!
Here’s a tip, if you want your blondies to be dense and compact, lightly tap the tin against you countertop as soon as you take it out of the oven to encourage air bubbles to pop and your blondies to drop.
Once out the oven, let your blondies cool completely before cutting into them. If you like, you can let them cool in the tin which will take a bit longer, or you can let them cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before lifting them out using the parchment and moving them to a cooling rack.
Cut your blondies into whatever size you like. For this recipe I cut them into 12 pieces.
Every bar has bites of chocolate, pecans, dispersed within a wonderfully butter-caramel-vanilla desert bar that is slightly chewy, slightly dense texture. Brownie or cookie? It doesn’t matter, these are the best of both worlds and one sweet treat you should definitely try today, and if you do, let us know what you thought about them by leaving a rating and comment below!
Gluten Free Blondies (With Chocolate Chips and Pecans)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease with an 8x8 pan with butter and line it with parchment to make unmolding easier.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together your melted butter, finely blended raw cane sugar, coconut sugar, egg, molasses, and vanilla until fully combined.
- Add the almond flour, salt, and baking powder into the wet ingredients and mix. Then, fold in the pecans and chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top lightly browns and a skewer comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip. (Note: the batter will puff up when baking but will deflate once done, this is normal and gives you a great crinkle top)
- Allow your blondies to cool completely before cutting into pieces. If preferred you can let them sit in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then lift them out using the parchment and move it to a cooling rack to cool down faster.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the fridge for up to 5-7 days. To freeze,
- Want to amp up the flavor of these bars even more? Consider browning your butter for this recipe! It's so easy to do, I've made a quick tutorial >HERE<
- If you want to omit the chocolate chip and pecans, I recommend doubling the ingredients for the batter to ensure your blondies don't bake up too thin.
- You can opt to use one kind of sugar, if replacing your sugar, use equal amounts of your swap (so if you're replacing 1/4 cup coconut sugar, replace it with 1/4 cup finely blended cane sugar).
- You can add in other things like oats or unsweetened shredded coconut (recommended up to 2tbsp each) for even more chew and texture.