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that is nuts!

Recipe: macadamia nut and chocolate chip blondies

Before I began blogging, the only Crazy emails I received were from people I knew. And because I knew them, I could usually understand the Crazy in their emails (I don’t mean understanding why they were headcases, but just that it made sense to see Crazy in their correspondences). Now, with a public blog, I get lots of Crazy from people I don’t know. That makes it harder to determine if the sender is Crazy, Stupid, or just a Jackass. Thankfully, the majority of the emails that pop up in my in-box from strangers are really very nice. So thank you (you, as in the emotionally stable and well-mannered yous) for being so sweet and polite and funny and for not being a nutjob.

not so nutty: after the big dump, it was a bluebird day

april skiing – get it while it’s good

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a local’s mentality. We skied up the powder on Saturday and then woke up Sunday morning debating whether or not to ski. There was only 1.5 inches of fresh (snow) overnight. Should we go? Is it worth our time? Won’t be as good as yesterday. Yesterday was soooo good. I’m sure it won’t be that bad… Well, it was freaking awesome. Not as awesome as 10 inches of pow, but pretty spanking. Add to that the calm winds (a rarity for our area) and you really cannot ask for much more. At home, we had a late lunch which I’ll have to blog about next week (the words New Magic Awesome Sauce should stir some curiosity). Spring skiing, I thought staring into the lovely flowers Nichole had brought me on Friday. Good stuff. Here we are straddling two seasons again and I love it.

daffodils inside, snow outside

Did you know that macadamia nuts are poisonous for dogs? I learned that a while back at the Cornell Vet School when Kaweah was a chunky little puppy. There’s a long list of things that dogs shouldn’t eat including grapes and chocolate. I usually don’t have to worry about people feeding Kaweah when I ask them not to, but my dad is another story. He *loves* animals. That doesn’t mean he should be entrusted with their safety though… My dad’s favorite things to do when he visits me are: 1) cook and 2) feed Kaweah. He’s almost like a little kid around her, delighting in the shake, the high-five, the sit, the lie down, the circle, the square – her whole repertoire of tricks. And of course, she follows him around from the moment he enters the house. I can always tell when he’s feeding her because I’ll hear her jaws catch something in the air and then Dad will chuckle and then Mom will scold Dad.

toasted macadamia nuts

Well, my dad loves to snack on nuts. I don’t snack on nuts, but I bake with them all the time. Still, when my parents visit they will somehow purchase a large jar or canister of nuts and munch on those throughout the visit. Dad is always willing to let Kaweah partake in the fun, but I’ve had to warn him about feeding her certain things – like macadamia nuts. Whenever I pull out a bag or open a jar of nuts, she comes running into the kitchen with a hopeful look and I immediately think of my dad, giggling while pretending to “drop” a peanut in the attentive dog’s direction. It was no different this time when I made some mac nut blondies for the stitch-n-bitch last Friday.

brown sugar and unmelted butter

I’ve made a similar blondie recipe in the past with pistachios and rice crispies cereal which was adapted from a recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I swear so many goto recipes come from Deb. [She seriously rocks the food, you know.] When I set out to make blondies a few months ago, I didn’t have pistachios on hand (well, I did, but I was saving them for pistachio macarons) so I grabbed some mac nuts instead. The recipe is incredibly versatile. As is the usual case, I was making three recipes at once, so I overlooked the “melted butter” part of the instructions and chucked softened butter into the mixing bowl instead.

mixing the dough

Turned out to be better than the previous batches! Perhaps it is my elevation? Sort of like how people always blame strange phenomena on sunspots, except the strange phenomena would be my baking and the sunspots – my elevation. The blondies were so munchably good. I don’t normally want to eat the things I bake, but I kept walking past and grabbing another bar, realizing after the second that it was time to pack them up and ship them out. It’s a simple trick, really – lose weight by giving away your baked goods and as a bonus benefit, your friends get fatter and so you look relatively thinner to boot. Ha ha ha. Since this discovery borne of laziness, I have made a dozen batches of these mac nut blondies and people are apeshit about them.

spread the thick dough into the pan

In the process of making these blondies over and over, I determined that my oven is 50 degrees off. Damn it. I bought a second oven thermometer to give me three data points and yes, fiddy degrees. Sheesh. Add to that the sunspots elevation and I’m wondering if some of my recent disasters (which I don’t blog about to save you from the horror and excessive cussing) are now explained? Or maybe it’s just me… I tend to like my blondies baked and not too raw. That’s because I don’t eat cookie dough. Plenty of people DO like cookie dough, so underbaking isn’t usually a problem for eating, just for inverting. I found that if the blondies are underbaked for that cookie dough enjoyment, then it helps me at least, to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper (buttered below and on top). Otherwise I tend to get Australia-shaped underbaked blondie guts stuck to the middle of the pan. And Kaweah? She hangs around the kitchen while I make these, but she gets a carrot – and she’s plenty happy with that.

rico rico!

Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Blondies
[print recipe]
modified from Blondies on Smitten Kitchen by Deb

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar (edit: or for more butterscotchy taste, do 1/2 cup light brown and 1/2 cup dark brown)
1 large egg (1.5 @ 8500 ft.)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour (1 1/4 cups @ 8500 ft.)
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted
1 cup chocolate chips
(edit: flaked sea salt for sprinkling)

Butter an 8×8-inch pan (or 9×13-inch for a double batch), line with parchment and butter the parchment. Mix the softened butter with brown sugar(s) and beat until smooth. Beat in the egg and then the vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Mix in the macadamia nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into baking pan. Sprinkle a little (not too much!) flaked sea salt over the dough. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes (40 minutes for a double batch and I baked mine for 28 minutes in the single batch), or until set in the middle. Cool on rack before cutting.

43 nibbles at “that is nuts!”

  1. Rosa says:

    Your shots are so inspiring! I particularly love the first ones…

    Aaahhh, Blondies… That’s such a scrumptious speciality! With macadamia nuts, mughty good!



  2. Phoo-D says:

    Blondies with macadamia nuts would be awesome. Can’t wait to try that one. Good to know about macadamia nuts and dogs- thanks for the tip!

  3. minh says:

    i’m known as “betty crocker” at work since i bring my baked goods for all the women i work with. they don’t know that if i didn’t do that then i would be eating everything i made!

    i actually tried your cranberry oatmeal cookies and everyone loved them here! the substitution was such a good touch! thanks!!

  4. Fiona says:

    I didn’t know about macadamia nuts. We rarely have them in the house, but I might have given one to Boris or Juno. Now I know. We made a mistake last year and gave them onions from a roast chicken. They loved it, of course, and then felt awful. The helpful internets informed me that I’d just poisoned them. Nice. Happily, they’re ok, but since then I am a little paranoid.

    As for email – grr. Ignore the Crazy.

  5. rose says:

    oh those look delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I agree wholeheartedly with loving to bake, but hating the weight! I try to give away as many things as I can :)

  6. Peggasus says:

    Apparently you must ski with a nice camera on you, as you have so many beautiful pics taken on the mountain. How does that work? (Assuming, unlike me, that you never fall. Because that would surely kill any camera I had.)

  7. Jenni says:

    Just had the macadamia nuts will kill dogs conversation a couple of days ago. Didn’t expect to see it here, but it’s a good reminder. Although we used to have a dog that loved grapes. She died of old age, not grapes.

    Blondies look great–chocolate and macadamia nuts are never a bad combination. How about throwing a handful of toasted coconut into the mix, too? :)

  8. deb says:

    Aw, thanks for the kind words, and right back atcha as using your instructions led me to the first and only time I’ve ever successfully tempered chocolate. I would LOVE these with macademia nuts, especially salted ones.

  9. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Oh, I have made several recipes from Deb, too, and all of them worked perfectly – not to mention she’s so kind and all.
    These blondies are all I needed right now, Jen – I’ve been having such a bad day at work (boss in boring mode on, for a change)… :D

    As for feeding the dogs, I had no idea about macadamias being bad for them. We had a dog growing up and my brother would feed her all sorts of things, including chocolate. And strawberry petit suisse! :D

  10. Kathy says:

    I love blondies. They are a good alternative to brownies, although if you’re a chocolate hound you may disagree.

  11. jennywenny says:

    Those look so good, I need to think of a reason why I need to make them.

    That reminds me of our cat, who is way too fat, who is always begging. Any plastic zip top bag will get her running, as well as opening any can, which is kind of funny as we’ve never even fed her tinned food, but it must be from her past owners!!

  12. Laura says:

    I love blondies–those look great. I knew about grapes and chocolate, but did not know about macademia nuts. Interesting. My parents also way overfeed both their dogs and mine when I am not looking. My mom once brought Loki (the German Shepherd that passed away) to pick me up from law school when she was visiting–I found her feeding him a Big Mac. Insert appropriate look of horror.

  13. Jake says:

    Amazing photography. I cannot wait to move to Colorado. I can see it just over the horizon too!

  14. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary says:

    Your Dad sounds like my Gram….who is suffering from alzheimer’s, calls my dog a cat, and constatnly feeds “the cat” under the table. We tell her no, but 5 minutes later she forget and we have to tell her again, and again, and again. Poor Gram. Happy “cat”.

    The blondies look awesome. You can never go wrong with a recipe from Deb.

  15. magra says:

    Deb didn’t invent most of the recipes she features on her site, so why do so many people act like she did? Anyway, those blondies you made, which actually originate from the “How to Cook Everything” cookbook recipe, look awesome! I love how moist they are. I made brownies today, but I will be making these very soon. I love how your blondies look much more than those on the other site!

  16. charlane says:

    sooooooooooooooooooooooo yummy

  17. Julie says:

    The blondies look most excellent! Thanks for posting about grapes, macadamia nuts, and dogs. I work for an emergency animal clinic and it’s always heartbreaking when we see dogs in liver and kidney failure from well-intentioned treats.

  18. dawn says:

    I’m being good and not eating sweets lately, more of a clean eat type of mode, and of course I have to click on your link. :::sigh::: I need to be tossed a carrot like Kaweah

  19. sammyw says:

    reminds me of a bar starbucks sells, looks ultra tasty :)

  20. Andy says:

    It is a good day when there is a new use real butter post!! Sweet

  21. Andy says:

    Also, OMG the butter is not melted?! Blows my mind!!! I will have to try this out. My last batch of blondies had a great chew, but were incredibly greasy. Yours look like they have a great texture without the grease.

  22. Melissa says:

    Wait, you have disasters? *Gasp* No way. ;)

    Deb is the amazingest, yes. You’re still my favorite baker though. I swear I’ll bust through the fear and bake something of yours one of these days.

  23. Caitlin says:

    Oh, the crazies, how I laugh at them. I must admit, I’m a cookie dough lover, but Australia shaped cookie guts don’t sound quite as appealing… But friends are perfect disposal units for cookies and other baked goods – coworkers too!

  24. margie says:

    I haven’t made a blondie in just about FOREVER…and here I go again, another bookmark, and another promise to bake. (I may never leave my kitchen…lol.)
    The second photo gave me goosebumps. The memories, the memories…mountains so high and trees so tall……..

    P.S. I hope I’m not one of your crazy followers, Jenzie, seriously, I mean well and I LOVE your blog.


  25. Lisa says:

    I feel like I could have written your blog entry here – tho with of course less humor and panache.
    -Had one GOR-JUS day skiing (my first in YEARS) that blew my mind at how amazing snow can be, even in April
    -Mom feeds Lucca all the time – just this weekend “a bit of bagel with PB on it”… um RIGHT, Mom
    -Daffodils in my flower vase on my book-shelf (first time I’ve had daffodils in the house)
    -I too saved my pistachios for macarons, then got nervous to hand them out due to the salmonella recall *sigh*
    -Lose weight by handing out goodies – does it count that Mike’s put on maybe 10 pounds?

    Yes – my comment WAS just about myself and not you… how incredibly narcissistic of me.. my gosh!

    These look delish! I’ll have to try that pistachio version since my pistach’s, so far aren’t making ME sick! :P

  26. Tartelette says:

    I can’t show that to Bill or I am never going to stop hearing “Can we have a Jen tonight?”…Hmmm it could be “can we have a Jen-Deb tonight”…dear this blogging thing could clearly degenerate into a wonderful blondiesque orgy of sort…Yeah :)
    Hope you can easily work around the temp issue in the oven…you can always get on your jet and come here to bake…I keep having these crazy thoughts tonight…Blogging makes the world a little bit sweeter…
    The blondies look wonderful!

  27. Asianmommy says:

    I love that daffodil shot.
    Your blondies look amazing! Mmmm….macadamia nuts.

  28. Aran says:

    i didn’t know that macadamia nuts were poisonous for dogs! good to know. love all that fresh snow!

  29. Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer says:

    What great photos and well those bars OMG look incredible!!

  30. cookiecrumb says:

    Oh, the perfect maiden’s breast in that nut photo!
    (Wait. Is that Crazy? That’s not Crazy. No.)

  31. Kristi says:

    The blondies look wonderful, but it was the pictures of those snow-covered slopes that made my mouth water! Gotta love CO!

  32. Ninette says:

    This is great. I have a load of macadamia nuts which I wasn’t sure what to do with!

  33. cindy says:

    NMAS (new magic awesome sauce!) does pique my interest :) and as always, that snow, such a dream.

    and the blondies…well they look killer of course!

  34. gine says:

    Lovely shots :-)! And macadamia nuts … mmmm, sounds delicious :-)!

  35. Erica says:

    Wow… Those wintry pictures are stunning! I’m longing to go skiing when looking at them.

  36. Mrs Ergül says:

    Glad it worked this time! It looks lovely!

  37. Manggy says:

    Omigosh, I think I do bring the crazy sometimes… But it is a good crazy, I hope ;)
    The last time I made blondies (… WAY before blogging), they were super-dry. I tend to like things on the underdone side I guess. Maybe I do have a bit of American blood or something. I actually thought that I might have liked the blondies with the Australia-shaped hole in them, heh heh :) But of course, they’re probably even better when they’re perfect like these! :)

  38. jenyu says:

    Rosa – thank you. It’s hard not to feel inspired when everything is covered in a beautiful blanket of white like that ;)

    Phoo-D – absolutely :)

    Minh – ha ha! glad they liked the cookies (who doesn’t like cookies!?)

    Fiona – yup, I used to feed Kaweah grapes all the time and she never had a problem. Of course, after learning that grapes cause renal failure I just don’t know if she has kidneys of steel or what. Scares the heck out of me though. I understand the paranoia. Thanks ;)

    Rose – me too.

    Peggasus – well, I like to think (and actually, I know) that you can take good pictures with any camera. It’s the photographer and not the camera. Repeat after me… it’s the photographer, not the camera… ;) Jeremy or I ski with the camera in a pack or if it’s a point-and-shoot, in a pocket. I don’t ski with my primary camera ever (it costs too much to replace and it would likely take out several ribs if I fell on it).

    Jenni – yeah, I’m hoping Kaweah will die of old age and not from all of the grapes I used to feed her in the early years :(

    Deb – you make me blush, babe. If anyone could own tempering chocolate, it’d be you.

    Patricia – yes, she is awesome. Sorry about the bad day, sweetie – I hope it got better right quick. The thing about dogs is that they will eat ANYTHING (at least mine will!)

    Kathy – I actually love blondies more than brownies! Is that blasphemy? ;)

    Jennywenny – hmmm, you could make them because you were doing intensive blondie research! Oh funny kitty!!

    Laura – OMG, that is the funniest story! I’ll bet your pup was *thrilled*. :)

    Jake – thanks!

    Lisa – definitely a happy kitty. I’ll bet the cat follows your Gram everywhere!

    Magra – I don’t think anyone ever said Deb invented the recipes on her site (just like I don’t invent the recipes here just like the majority of food bloggers don’t invent their own recipes), but I certainly don’t have time go through and test every recipe I want to try so it’s nice that someone as reliable as Deb can recommend and share her experience with a recipe to others. I trust her very much not to mention that she is incredibly sweet and kind.

    Charlane – :)

    Julie – ooooh, I couldn’t even imagine work like that. I think I’d come home in tears every day. Thanks for taking care of the furry ones.

    Dawn – I ate a carrot too :) Don’t feel bad!

    Sammyw – oh, but it’s a fraction of the cost of what Starbucks sells for ;)

    Andy – I honestly don’t know if the melted butter makes a difference or not, but… they’re both delicious! Try the non-melted way and see how you like it.

    Melissa – this one is a pretty simple recipe – give it a go! I’ll bet you will rock it.

    Caitlin – yup, I used to make my co-workers eat tons of baked goods. Harder to do when you work for yourself :)

    Margie – no, I’m talking about crazy people who are jerks and have no idea what they’re talking about ;)

    Lisa – nice! I bought my pistachios long enough ago that I’m pretty sure they aren’t affected (I hoard ingredients). Wow, Mike put on 10? Jeremy hasn’t gained AN OUNCE. The hell?! ;)

    Tartelette – yes, or maybe I should hop on my jet (that would be a car in the best of situations) and come get you and bring you out here to fix my kitchen stupidness :) It could happen!

    Asianmommy – thanks!

    Aran – :)

    Cathy – thank you :)

    Cookiecrumb – hey sweetie! Yup, I didn’t realize until you mentioned it, but it DOES look very boobiesque, no?

    Kristi – oh how I love CO!

    Ninette – mmm, sounds like a plan.

    Cindy – it’s going up tonight, so you can find out about the NMAS :)

    Gine – thanks!

    Erica – I feel the same way when I see that much snow.

    Mrs. E – thank you, dear :)

    Mark – you are the best kind of crazy, love. I’m sure if you tried your hand at blondies now, you’d be the boss of them! hee hee.

  39. Mollie says:

    “Go sell Crazy someplace else – we got plenty here!” :)

    You know our house goes crazy for the pistachio blondies… but I suppose if you say these are better they’re worth a shot! mmmmmmm they do look good. You know, I never understood why people would be into blondies til I tried yours…

  40. jenyu says:

    Mollie – Oh, I think you’ll like these mac nut versions. Very… nutty and yummy :)

  41. Steve says:

    Hey Again!

    I was on a cooking/baking frenzy this weekend! (Also made some bruschetta for a cookout) These blondies were delicious. However, for baking newbs like my fiance and myself we did run into a few snags. We didn’t realize you should just cut the parchment to the size of the bottom of the dish and instead tried to get it to go up the sides, which didn’t work out so well. Then, we toasted the mac nuts ourselves since they only had dry roasted at the store. Toasting in and of itself wasn’t the problem, but pouring hot nuts into the dough with the chips made our blondies into brunettes! Haha. Still tasted good and that’s all that matters since we aren’t gifting this test batch. Thanks for the recipe Jen!

    Steve, Mary, and Lorna

  42. jenyu says:

    Steve – ah yes, the parchment can make it a pain if you leave sides (well, maybe two sides would be okay). I definitely suggest letting the nuts cool before adding them to the dough :) But happy that they were still good to eat!

  43. out of the ashes of failed baked goods … « Food Food Food! says:

    […] last month was up on my list to try after a failed blondie baking session. i started a batch of these chocolate chip blondies (using pecans instead of macadamia nuts) and stupidly left the house to go […]

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