Friday, February 5, 2016

Bourbon Blondies with Coconut, Chocolate, and Pecans

A momentous thing happened the other day.

After months of thought, contemplation, and deliberation, Emma has finally chosen a name for her baby doll. The process was a bit arduous. When she first received her doll, Emma asked me "What her name is?" To which I replied, "You have to give her a name! You're her Mommy." I was wrong for thinking that she would find this task delightful and fulfilling, for her quick reply was: "No thank you. You do it."

So, for months the poor plastic infant was simply referred to as "baby doll" and although Emma has proven to be a decent pretend mother, the idea of bequeathing a name to her child was still too difficult a task for her to manage. Then, one day we went to the library and checked out a book about another little girl who received a baby doll from her grandmother and spends hours and hours thinking of the perfect name before deciding on "Rose". Emma liked this story very much and demanded that I read it to her over and over. After what seemed like the 200th reading of this story, Emma quietly told me: "I need to name my baby doll. She's very special to me."

"I know you will think of the perfect name," I told her.

She pondered names for quite a while, just like the little girl in the story, until one day she announced the perfect name she had chosen.

"Her name is Roseberry!" she said proudly, holding up her baby doll.
"RoseMary?" I asked, sure that I had misheard her.
"No. RoseBERRY!" she insisted. And so it came to pass, that Emma's baby doll received the very unique name of Roseberry. Of course, she has gotten quite good at naming things and has since decided to name all her stuffed animals, among them a pooch named "Maggie" and a ballerina bunny named "Annabelle" and a cat named "Vanessa". She even tried to give Baby Lucy a new name, but I put a stop to that nonsense.

Speaking of Lucy, the poor dear is still teething and we have yet to see anything poking through her thick gum line. She continues to whine and moan and drool and gnaw on anything and everything, but mostly me. I went to an event at Matthew's school yesterday wearing a black, long-sleeved shirt that I thought was decent looking. While speaking with his Principal and holding Lucy, I suddenly realized that I had a combination of drool, spit-up, and snot smeared all over my shoulders, arms, and chest. The color black only served to enhance this grotesque addition to my ensemble. The poor dear is a slobbery mess and I'm blaming those incognito little teeth that are taking their dear sweet time to charge through to the surface.

Thankfully, Lucy found a perfect teething toy in the form of these blondies. I first made a batch of these back in December for Christmas. Basically, Christmas is my excuse to bake every cookie recipe that I have had bookmarked for months even if it's not necessarily a "holiday" cookie recipe. If anything, these blondies would be a fitting addition at a celebration for the Kentucky Derby since the combination of ingredients reminds me so much of the famed "Thoroughbred Pie" recipe - something that I also think you should try since it is so incredibly delicious. These blondies have all the flavors of that pie without the hassle of actually making pie. They are incredibly chewy with just a hint of that vanilly-bourbon flavor that I adore. Bourbon and chocolate are a match made in heaven.

After baking my first batch of these, I froze about half the blondies in an attempt to get myself to stop eating them. I was unwilling to give them away because I loved them so much, but figured that freezing them to a solid chunk of ice would deter me enough to make them last a bit longer than...say...24 hours. For the record, they taste just as awesome frozen as they do you at room temperature. Lucy agrees with me on this point. A chunk of these, fresh from the freezer, has been the perfect solution to her teething problems. That little girl will sit and gnaw on one of these frozen blondies until it begins to melt and coat her hands, mouth, shirt, legs...pretty much until a wardrobe change is required. She probably adores the feel of the cold on her swollen gumline, but I also think she legitimately loves the flavor as well. That baby has great taste, because I am pretty sure this is my new favorite cookie recipe. I just made another batch to bring with me to a Girl's Night this weekend, but I made sure to leave a couple pieces in the freezer for my baby Lucy.

Oh, and in my opinion, the only bourbon to use here is Buffalo Trace. It's good stuff.

Bourbon Blondies with Coconut, Chocolate, and Pecans
from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
¼ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch pan and line with parchment paper, allowing the ends of the paper to hang over the sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and sea salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until all of the butter is incorporated and there are no lumps of brown sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and bourbon and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until almost completely incorporated, then add the chocolate chips, coconut and pecans, stirring to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.


  1. Do you have my address? These look sooooo good! ;)

  2. Love Emma's naming dilemma! Other than Luke naming his one baby doll after his (at the time) newest baby cousin, everything is pretty much named whatever it is (lemur, puppy, guys). We need to work on some creativity!