Real Sweet: Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies

Oh, Sugar! You guys are going to love this recipe...and this book!

You might know Shauna Sever from her blog, or maybe from her first two books: Marshmallow Madness and Pure Vanilla.

Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies : Real Sweet by Shauna Sever

Get ready to fall in love all over again with her latest book Real Sweet: More than 80 Crave-Worthy Treats Made with Natural Sugars. It's a keeper.

First, the book is written in Shauna's signature style...she's funny, down-to-earth, and relate-able. I really enjoy just reading every bit of her cookbooks, not just the recipes. Second, Shauna KNOWS HER STUFF. I have no doubt that every recipe in this book is a winner.

Real Sweet demystifies working with natural sugar. Whether it's coconut sugar, turbinado, honey, or muscocado sugar, the book walks you through exactly what you're dealing with and the best recipes for each type of sugar.

Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies : Real Sweet by Shauna Sever
For my first recipe from the book, I chose the Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies. Oh. My. Gosh. These guys are so good. Between the muscovado sugar, the brown butter, the toasted nuts, and the caramel icing...there is SO much flavor packed into these little squares. You hear the term "depth of flavor" on cooking shows a lot. Well, this has it.

muscovado sugar
The recipe actually calls for dark muscovado sugar, but I happened to have light on hand and used that. I can only imagine that the dark would add just another layer of flavor. I can't wait to make them again.

Iced Muscovado Caramel-Nut Blondies
{with permission from Real Sweet, makes 16 squares}

for the bars:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, browned* and slightly cooled
3/4 cup firmly packed dark muscovado sugar (I used light)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

for the icing:
1/2 cup firmly packed dark muscovado sugar (I used light)
3 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 TBSP milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic confectioner's sugar

*To brown butter: Place the butter in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter. Once the butter is completely melted, it will bubble and sizzle. Keep swirling the pan occasionally, and listen and watch carefully–when the foam begins to subside and the sizzling suddenly, the butter will quickly turn brown and smell nutty, about 5 minutes total. Pour into a heatproof bowl and let cool.

Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350. Lightly grease an 8x8" pan and line with a strip of parchment, long enough to leave an overhang on 2 opposite sides of the pan.

Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, energetically whisk together the butter and sugar until the butter has begun to absorb the sugar and dissolve, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract. Switch to a spatula and fold in the flour mixture until well blended. Fold in the pecans. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Don't overbake, or they'll dry out. Let cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

Make the icing: Combine the sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Melt together over medium heat, stirring often with a heatproof spatula. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir in the milk. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Dump in the confectioner's sugar and stir the icing energetically for about 3 minutes, or until the icing is thickened and smooth, is beginning to lose some gloss, and is a touch lighter in color - more of a thin icing than a pourable glaze.

Top the blondies with the icing and spread it evenly with a spatula. Let the icing set in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before cutting and serving the blondies. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Real Sweet by Shauna Sever: a must-have for your cookbook library!

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