Super Special For Sure: Bakehouse Pecan Blondies

When I needed some baked goods for our law school intern's final day of work, I decided to try the recipe for "Bakehouse Pecan Blondies" from Zingerman's Bakehouse. I had all of the ingredients on hand and the recipe is written to be baked in a 9-inch square pan, which would produce the small quantity I needed just for our office.

The "super special" part of the blondie recipe (according to the cookbook) is the homemade pecan praline. While it does require a few extra steps to make your own praline, after having made these blondies multiple times, I can attest that the modest additional effort for the praline is completely, totally worth it.

To make the praline, you first combine chopped pecans with browned butter, salt, and vanilla, and then toast the nuts. The next step is to make caramel by cooking sugar and water until dark brown. Finally, you add the toasted nuts to the caramel and spread the praline out on a baking sheet, let it cool, and give it a rough chop. Once you've prepared the praline -- that delicious, delicious sweet and salty praline -- the rest of the recipe is a snap.

For the blondie batter, you just mix together melted butter, muscovado sugar (I used the suggested substitution of dark brown sugar), eggs, and vanilla; add all of the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder); stir in the chopped praline; and bake.
The blondies in the photo above were baked in an 8-inch square pan instead of the specified 9-inch square pan, so they were a bit on the tall side. I was very impressed at the generous amount of pecan praline visible in each bar as well as the fact that the praline was evenly distributed in the bars and didn't just sink to the bottom. These bars are insanely good. The bar itself has a deep butterscotch-y/caramel flavor and the pecan praline puts it over the top. The blondies also have the perfect chewy texture, especially along the edges and corners -- which are always my favorite part of any bar, but especially so with these blondies.

These are some of my favorite bars of all time and I could not stop eating them. After they were such a big hit with my co-workers I put them on our holiday party menu -- and I would be happy to celebrate any occasion with a batch of these super satisfying and very memorable blondies.

Recipe: "Bakehouse Pecan Blondies" from Zingerman's Bakehouse by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo.

Previous Post: "Worth the Price of Admission: Hummingbird Cake," November 24, 2017.


Sally said…
good to know! What else have you made? I made the rugelach, hamantaschen, and walnut coffee cake and loved all 3, with minor edits.
So far, I've only been able to try the hummingbird cake, these blondies, and the sour cream coffee cake with walnuts (will post about that cake soon) -- I think all three have been winners. I'm super excited to keep baking through this cookbook!
Sally said…
yes! That's the coffee cake that I made - I LOVED it but probably overbaked it. Do you remember how long you baked it for? It didn't seem done at 60 min when they recommended it.
I thought the coffee cake was exceptional! I didn't write any notes in my cookbook, so I think I baked it for 60 minutes (I probably would have made a note if it had required more time). But I honestly don't remember!
Louise said…
This blonde looks amazing. I really don't need another cookbook, but I think I'll have to get this book.
Sally said…
So I bought muscovado sugar to make these, but it was so $$$ - and I bought light muscovado sugar!- do you think I need it or can I also just sub dark brown sugar? Thanks!
I'm willing to spend a lot of money on baking ingredients, but muscovado sugar and caster sugar are so expensive in the U.S. that I never use them. I've only tried these with dark brown sugar and I think they're fabulous, so I say go ahead and make the substitution! Maybe they taste even better with muscovado, but I'm pretty sure you'll love the dark brown sugar version!
Sally said…
Thanks! I'll update. (also, I couldn't find their note about a substitution - where was it? thanks!)
The substitution is suggested on page 29 in the discussion of brown sugar (it's a miracle I happened to see it; I normally don't read anything in cookbooks besides the actual recipes). :)
Sally said…
thanks! These are good, but mine looked nothing like yours - way more gooey. Also, did you notice the typo in the butter weight? They said 2 T but the weight was 57 g which is 4 T. I went with the 4 T but not sure that was the right choice...
Oh, I didn't notice that typo! That would explain why the first time I made this recipe (when I made a single batch) I thought there was too much butter in the praline mixture. On the other hand, in my experience if you try to brown very small amounts of butter, it's pretty easy to burn. So maybe a compromise is to brown 57 g of butter but not use all of it?