Growing up, we made chocolate chip cookies a lot and there was always a cookie that wound up with, like, one chocolate chip…and I secretly preferred those. I know, right? BIZARRE. But I still have a soft spot for chocolate-less desserts.
I ALSO have a soft spot for anything with cardamom. We used to visit a chainlet of restaurants in NYC that served cardamom coffee and it felt like such a unique indulgence. The cardamom and the strong coffee paired perfectly with a bit of sugar.
Anyway, these blondies bring me right back to that little cafe with a mini M eating dosas and drinking that brew.
As I mentioned last week, bar cookies are SO MUCH EASIER when cooking for a crowd and these beauties couldn’t be easier. They only require one bowl and the butter gets partially melted at the beginning. These guys are ready in about 40 minutes start to finish (and that’s if you go slooooowly.)
A couple of notes:
I used decaf espresso because the last thing my energetic toddler needs is caffeine. OMG. If you don’t have those concerns, feel free to use regular espresso. If you don’t have an espresso maker, strong coffee will do in a pinch, but I recommend heading to your local coffee place and ordering a double shot of espresso to bring home for this recipe.
If you prefer a more cake-like texture and subtler flavor, add a second egg to the batter. You end up with a lighty spicy and sweet cake with an airier crumb. Using a single egg yields a denser, more brownie-like consistency and much stronger flavor. M loved both.
Cardamom and coffee blondies
12 Tbsp butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed and slightly domed
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp brewed espresso (decaf or regular)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder (½ Tbsp)
¾ tsp salt
1 scant tsp ground cardamom (measure out a teaspoon and then knock some out to avoid any bitterness)
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large mixing bowl, melt the butter halfway so that it has some shape left, but is beginning to pool on the bottom (this usually takes about 45 seconds- 1 minute on high in our microwave).
Add the sugars, vanilla extract, egg, and espresso and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until no streaks or lumps remain.
Pour into a 9x9 baking pan that has either been greased with more butter or lined with parchment allowing an overhang so you can get the blondies out more easily.
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the blondies are set and springy in the middle.
Yield: 16 medium-sized pieces.