I hadn’t baked in a while. Yesterday, after I was convinced that the technical problems that had been plaguing the blog were finally over, I decided a reward was in order. I was going to satisfy my craving for something sweet. And I did. With cookie squares. Think fruit cake but in cookie form. A bit chewy at the center and lightly crisp on top.
Made with roasted walnuts and candied fruit peel soaked in cherry brandy, you get a subtle burst of juices from the candied peel and the contrasting crunch from the walnuts with each bite. Speedy couldn’t get enough of them. In fact, he was already eating the blondies while I was still cutting the cookie slab into squares.
If you’re planning on serving these blondies to kids, omit the soaking part and increase the amount of grated orange zest. Or, you can combine orange zest with lemon or lime zest.
- 3/4 c. mixed candied fruit peel (the kind used for baking fruit cakes; available in some supermarkets)
- 4 tbsps. of cherry brandy (rum or regular brandy will also do)
- 1 and 1/2 c. of all-purpose flour
- 2 tsps. of baking powder
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 1/2 c. of butter, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 c. of dark brown sugar
- 2 whole large eggs
- 3/4 c. of roasted chopped walnut
- 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
- grated zest of two oranges
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line a 7″ x 11″ baking pan with baking paper.
- Place the fruit peel in a shallow bowl. Add the brandy or rum. Stir. Leave to soak for an hour.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, orange zest and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
- Add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing after each addition.
- Drain the fruit peel.
- Fold in the fruit peel and nuts to the batter.
- Pour into the prepared pan, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl. Smoothen the top for even thickness.
- Bake at 350F for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool some more.
- Cut into two-inch squares.
Preparation time: 1 hour(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12