Gingerbread Espresso Blondies / by Chelsea Zwieg

You know what I love? When something doesn't work out how I think it will, but what happens instead is so much better. The recipe I had planned to share today was gingerbread waffles. And let me just say, they were some top-notch waffles. There was cranberry maple syrup and brown sugar whipped cream and a waffle that kind of tastes like a cookie. But it turns out that my waffle maker is good for one thing, and that is cranking out the ugliest waffles known to man. Add to that a good chunk of time sitting out at room temperature and I was no longer sure if I was taking pictures of waffles or shriveled old men. 

So the waffles went in the trash. And the pictures followed. But I still had gingerbread stuck in my brain. Which led me to gingerbread blondies. Which then led me to apologize to my waffle iron for all of the mean things I said to it because if the waffle disaster hadn't happened, there would be no blondies And what a sad day that would be. 

Blondies were one of those desserts that I kind of always scoffed at. Why would I want a blondie when I could add some chocolate and have a brownie? What joker decided to take away the best part of a brownie and call it a treat? They were probably created at the same loser dessert convention as snow cones and Italian ice. Pretty sure those are all direct quotes from me, pre-blondie conversion. 

This was all until the day I found Sarah's recipe for coffee blondies and gave them a shot. There was coffee, brown sugar, chocolate chips and, of course, her gorgeous photos. I was intrigued. So I gave them a shot and instantly had to eat every ill word I had ever ranted about blondies. 

This recipe is a spin off of those original life changing blondies. They have that gingerbread flavor that kind of hits you in the back of the throat, which I love. But that's balanced with the brown sugar, melty chocolate chips and just a little hint of coffee. They are chewy, a little crispy if you go for the corners like I do, and really, so so much better than wrinkly ugo waffles. 

Gingerbread Espresso Blondies 

Adapted from The Vanilla Bean Blog 

Makes 2 8x8 pan

| Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 6 tbsp. butter 
  • 3 cups brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup molasses 
  • 1/8 cup espresso or very strong coffee
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon 
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8x8 pans.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat butter and brown sugar over medium heat until melted. Stir in molasses, espresso and vanilla. Remove from heat and allow mixture to come to room temperature. Whisk in eggs.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Add butter mixture and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  • Bake 22-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. (Careful not to over bake, don't let them go long enough that the toothpick comes out clean or they will be very hard after they cool).