Being a food writer has taught me something new about myself: I'm tremendously particular about apple desserts.
When September rolls around, I'm always eager to develop at least one new apple recipe, so I try several options. I made what should have been, by all accounts, a marvelous buttermilk apple cake with cinnamon-sugar topping. It was lovely to behold. But, to me, it was just okay. Then I decided I'd make a glorious apple crisp with brown butter crumble topping and vanilla ice cream. That one didn't quite pass muster, either.
After two mediocre attempts that should have been clear winners, I realized that it's not the desserts, it's me. Perhaps there are only a few apple desserts I truly like? Perhaps I'm the problem here? It's a tragedy, truly. Apples are fall, apples are Americana, apples are downright delicious. I was determined not to give up. I was going to develop a winning apple dessert recipe if it killed me.
Eureka! I've found it. These apple butterscotch blondies are exactly what I was hoping for: rich, buttery and gooey, with bites of tart apple to offset the sweetness of the butterscotch. I knew that the apples would give off some of their juices in the baking process, so I added a small amount of oats to the blondies to absorb the moisture and add a nice little chewy texture. Next time I make these, I think I'll bake them all in a cast-iron skillet and serve them family-style with vanilla ice cream and salted pecans on top.
Apple butterscotch blondies
Yields 9-12 bars
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8- by 8-inch square pan.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the melted butter and the brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Stir in the flour, salt, oats, apples and butterscotch chips. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until set on top and golden on the edges, but still somewhat gooey in the center. Allow them to cool at least 15 minutes before cutting into bars. Great served warm or room temperature. Best enjoyed the same day.
Maya Evoy lives in Nikiski and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your inquiry may appear in a future column.