Almond lovers will delight in these scrumptious marzipan blondies with a crunchy chocolate almond base and a sweet, buttery center.
Steve claims that he is not a big dessert person. And yet come post-dinner time, I find myself frequently answering the question “where is my dessert?” He also claims he is not much of a chocolate lover and yet more often than I would like to, I end up having to grudgingly share the last piece of chocolate cake with him! And so, since he makes it point to say that he is not a dessert person I usually make dessert that I fancy without taking his preferences into consideration.
However, a few weeks back when out of the blue he asked for a simple nutty baked good, I quickly embarked on a quest for a nutty cake, cookie, blondie, brownie whatever. Led by options available in my kitchen, I decided to go with almond something since I love using almond meal and a newly purchased bar of marzipan sitting in the fridge was saying “use me, use me.” I don’t make blondies often. I find them incredibly, tooth-aching sweet. Perhaps, I could use lesser sugar as I usually do.. Obviously I had to read all about what makes a good blondie and go through several inspiring recipes like this one and this one and this one !
The first result was an extra-extra oily, dense bar on account of me creaming the marzipan. Let me tell you if you are planning to undertake said procedure anytime in the near future, beating marzipan with butter and sugar leads to the release of a lot of oil that will eventually end in an extremely oily baked good. So my first marzipan blondie came out looking like a teenager’s oily face. It tasted delicious though which gave me hope that I was on the right track here. The second time I simply added chopped chunks of marzipan and the result was this perfectly chewy, nutty blondie.
A mouthful of this is so satisfying especially when you bite into those sweet little chunks of marzipan… OMG.. marzipan heaven. The only question I was asking myself is why didn’t I think of making this earlier and in my total almond-y bliss where I ate half of it under the pretext of testing, then froze the rest to share with guests and my late-night cravings, I completely forgot to ask Steve if he likes it or not…
- Browning the butter is totally optional but totally worth it if you have the extra few minutes and patience. If you are not a fan, simply skip the browning. Take the butter off the heat once it melts.
- The chocolate almond base again is not necessary but I like the crunchiness it adds and the slight bitterness from the semi-sweet chocolate and toasted almonds nicely offsets the sweet and buttery blondie.
- Like a good cookie, it is better to slightly under-bake a blondie rather than over-bake it. So, at the end of 30-35 mins, if your cake tester comes out sticky and gooey, don’t worry. It is ok. Take the blondie out of the oven
Ingredients – Makes an 8inch block
For the Chocolate Almond base
1 cup almonds
200g (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate
For the Marzipan Blondies
165g (¾ cup) butter, cubed
205g (1 cup) light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g (¾ cup) almond meal
150g (¾ cup + 2tbsp) plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
165g (1 cup) marzipan – chopped into small pieces
Handful of sliced almonds and chocolate chips
- Lightly grease an 8inch square pan and line with parchment paper with overhang on two sides to be able to lift it out easily. Preheat oven to 375F
- To make the base, toast the almonds on a frypan till they smell nutty. Transfer to a chopping board and chop. Heat the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl till melted. Add the almonds, mix well and spread the thick mixture on the greased and lined pan in an even layer. Set aside.
- To make the blondies, heat the butter in a saucepan on medium heat till completely melted. At this point you can proceed to the next step or continue heating the butter till browned and nutty in fragrance. Swirl occasionally.
- Remove butter from heat and pour into a large bowl. Let cool a bit and then add the brown sugar and stir till smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, stir again.
- In a small bowl whisk the almond meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Gently fold these into the wet mixture.
- Finally fold in the chopped marzipan. Pour into the pan on top of the chocolate almond base. Sprinkle the top with sliced almonds and chocolate chips.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Cake tester inserted will not come out clean. It will have thick sticky, gooey mixture stuck to it.
- Let cool completely before you take it out of the pan and cut into squares.
Adapted from the Guardian