One of the most thrilling parts of life is also the scariest. Each day, we wake up not knowing what’s going to happen next. While most people have a fairly good idea if their immediate future includes working nine to five or backpacking through Europe, it seems frequent that the best laid plans have a tendency to fall through.
No matter how much you do or don’t plan your life, chances are things won’t turn out the way you expected. Recipes are like that. I have never been a fan of peanut butter but I do like the creamy texture it adds to sandwiches, oatmeal and even baked goods. I love discovering alternatives like cashew butter, sunflower butter and almond butter. Though they run pricier, they’re flavorful, versatile and tend to be high in protein.
When choosing a nut butter, the spread with the fewest ingredients possible, like nuts and salt, will have more health benefits and fewer hydrogenated oils and saturated fat.
These things are important when you’re eating baked goods. What is it they say about moderation?
This is one of those recipes that will seem fancy to whoever you’re serving it to, but in reality, if you can make Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies (and most ten year olds can), then you can make this dessert.
Or breakfast. Let’s keep it real and admit that these can and will be eaten for breakfast if they last the night in your kitchen. What I like most about them is the variety of textures — creamy almond butter, chewy dried fruit and crunchy sliced almonds.
If you aren’t feeling the almond butter, you can go back to basics and use peanut butter, just substitute the almond extract for vanilla extract and the sliced almonds for chopped peanuts.
Almond Butter Blondies
What You Need:
½ cup butter (I used unsalted)
¼ cup almond butter
1 cup light or dark brown sugar (I prefer light; dark will give you a stronger flavor)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup quick cooking oats
½ cup sliced almonds, roasted, plus ¼ cup
½ cup finely diced dried California apricots
¼ cup golden raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. If you use foil, coat with non-tick cooking spray.
2. Cream butter and almond butter until fluffy, using a mixer. Add brown sugar, egg and almond extract and beat until light. If you don’t have almond extract, vanilla extract substitutes nicely.
3. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture until just blended. Stir in oatmeal, ½ cup almonds, apricots and raisins.
4. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth with table knife or small metal spatula. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup almonds. Bake 30-35 minutes or until firm and a toothpick comes out nearly clean. Let cool to room temperature before lifting foil out of the pan. Peel foil off blondies and cut into 16 squares.