Cranberry Maple Blondie Bars

 

Cranberry Maple Blondies: Gluten, dairy, and even grain-free.

 

I have a current reigning all-time-favorite brownie recipe, and that’s this piece of brilliance by Elana’s Pantry. I must have made them at least 5 or 6 times now, always with great results. The last time I made them, though, Trader Joe’s happened to be out of their roasted almond butter.* I decided to chance it and use the raw almond butter instead. Totally still successful – but the difference in color was noticable, even with the added cocoa.

So, it struck me that using the raw almond butter would make for great blondies, using the same method as the other brownies but changing up the flavors a bit. And lo, a fun new fall dessert was born.  GF/CF, low sugar and Paleo friendly to boot.

CRANBERRY MAPLE BLONDIE BARS

16 ounce jar raw almond butter
2 eggs
1 cup maple syrup, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice and zest of 1 large orange (juice will be approx 1/4 cup)
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 325. In a large mixing bowl, blend raw almond butter with an immersion blender until smooth. Blend in eggs, then add 2/3 cup of the maple syrup and vanilla extract and blend again. Whisk together the salt and baking soda, add those and and blend one last time. Stir in the orange zest and dried cranberries.

Spread batter into a 9×13 baking dish (I recommend greasing it with a bit of coconut oil).  Bake for 25 to 40 minutes. Remove and let cook before drizzling with the maple syrup reduction. Speaking of:

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/3 cup of maple syrup with approximately 1/4 cup of orange juice, or as much orange juice as your large orange gave you. Whisk together and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook until thick and reduced by about half – this will probably take at least half an hour, and possible a bit more. Set aside to cool a bit.

Once blondies are done and have cooled, drizzle the reduction over them and let cool a touch more before cutting and serving. You may need to reheat slightly to make it more pourable right before drizzling.

*TJ’s is my favorite source for almond butter – great quality, several varieties, and very affordable! Comes in handy when a recipe calls for an ENTIRE JAR. Totally worth it, but yes. Entire. Jar.

– posted by Anne

 

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