I don't like coffee.
There. I said it. For a lot of years I didn't like hot drinks at all, and it's only recently I've come to enjoy ciders and tea. I like the fresh smell of coffee, but the taste? Bitter. Even cold coffees with added milk or chocolate don't cut it for me.
However, I made these blondies and for the first time, I loved the taste of coffee. (That figures--add coffee to bread and sugar, problem solved!)
These bars are not only super easy to make, but they're gorgeous, too. I couldn't help but take a ton of photos of them. And the taste...! The coffee grants them a flavor I can only describe as "clean," if that makes sense, along with a gentle sugary taste. Plus, you have a wonderful combination of textures going on: the softness of the bar, the crunch of the almonds, the delicates ribbons of the glaze.
If your mouth isn't watering at that, you are a stronger person than I.
Another note here: the original recipe from Martha Stewart used whiskey in the glaze. Since I planned to send these along with my husband to work, the whiskey was a no-go (yeah, no one would get drunk off of glaze, but still, I'm not going to get anyone in trouble if they do drug testing that day). Instead, I did a mix of extract and water. Personally, I loved the extra punch of almond extract along with the almonds, but you could always use vanilla instead, or use all water to get the right consistency.
Irish Coffee Blondies
Originally found in Martha Stewart Living magazine and also online.
For the Blondies:
2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 tablespoons freshly ground coffee
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, skin on
For the Glaze
1 tablespoon melted butter, warm
1 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla)
1 teaspoon + water
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and line with parchment so that it overhangs on all sides. Butter parchment. In a big bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
Melt butter, and pour into a mixing bowl with brown sugar, ground coffee, and salt. Stir to combine.
(See those dark specks? That's the coffee.)
Add eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Pour batter into pan and even it out. Sprinkle with almonds.
Bake 27 to 30 minutes, depending on how chewy you like your blondies; they'll be harder and less chewy the longer they bake. Let cool completely.
Whisk together butter and extract. Gradually whisk in confectioners' sugar. Add teaspoons of water, as needed, until the glaze is thick but pourable. Using a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip or a sandwich bag with a corner snipped off, drizzle glaze over blondies in a rough crosshatch pattern. Let glaze dry 1 hour. Cut blondies into 2-inch squares.
If you're stacking these for storage, I suggest using wax paper between the layers, especially if you live someplace warm.
OM NOM NOM.