Monday, December 22, 2008

Farewell to Fall - Black Walnut and Caramel Blondies

Black Walnut and Caramel Blondies
Keep autumn's glow going just a little longer with
rich butterscotch squares draped in clinging
caramel and studded with pungent black walnuts.

When I was growing up, the U.S. seasons magically yet predictably changed on the 21st day of every quarter. You could even say you could set your clock to the tilt of the Earth and its proximity to the Sun. Galileo and Newton would approve. Alas, though, something's happened along the way. The 2008 seasonal calendar is all akimbo: spring on March 20; summer on June 20; fall on September 22; and winter on December 21. In fact, our seasons have been shifting ever so slightly for years now. Never mind that March more often than not lingers in its lion phase far longer than welcoming the lamb. Things aren't quite as they seem to be. Perhaps the Earth's spinning on its axis to internal rhythms that the average denizen cannot perceptibly measure without the aid and acumen of the astronomical community. Perhaps the Earth's orbit is a longer loop than back in the day. Perhaps its my rhythms and orbit that are off. All I know is that after waiting months through a lazy and recalcitrant fall, there wasn't enough time to savor the golden, burnished glories of trees tucking in for their dormancy before the landscape was fiercely shrouded in hard gray ice on December 19. December 19? It wasn't even officially winter yet. Ah, well, maybe next year.

Bridge over Third River 1
November 12.

Icicles in my Window
December 19.
Black Walnut and Caramel Blondies - Adapted from the basic Good Housekeeping recipe


1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped black walnuts (or other nut of your choice)
2 heaping cups packaged caramels
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Well grease a 13 X 9-inch baking pan.

In a small bowl, whisk flour and baking powder to combine, then reserve. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, then whisk in brown sugar, allowing it to melt before whisking in vanilla. Remove from heat. Add eggs, beating very well to combine. Add flour mixture, again beating very well until smooth without any flecks of dry ingredients left unincorporated. Stir in chopped nuts just until blended. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 20 minutes on center rack of oven. Do not overbake. Remove from oven, setting pan on rack for cooling.

When pan has cooled for 10 minutes, begin melting caramels and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until very smooth. Remove from heat and pour slowly and evenly over surface of still-warm blondies. If necessary, smooth out the caramel for maximum coverage with an offset spatula or the bottom of a metal spoon. Allow to cool completely to facilitate cutting, but you may want to briefly microwave servings if you like your caramel very warm and oozing. Makes 15 2 X 2-inch squares. --

Pan of Black Walnut and Caramel Blondies

Been There, Done That ~

Fire-Breathing Brownies
Maple Walnut Layer Cake
Lemon Curd Shortbread

Other People's Eats ~

Raspberry Pecan Blondies
Butterscotch Brownies/Blondies


  1. I can't imagine a more decadent-looking treat--those look utterly amazing. And no, it's not you; there is definitely something amiss with the weather, over here as well. Gorgeous photographic chronicling of our bizarre meteorological patterns.

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday season, nonetheless!

  2. I'm always fascinated by the 4 seasons because Singapore is a tropical country and it's summer all year round here. The scenery shots are awesome, I can do with more of these sights here instead of tall buildings and busy streets, heee. I love the look of the blondies... they look so beautiful and comforting. Happy Holidays Susan! =)

  3. Susan, can I come over? Those blondies are tempting me so :-)

    Festive greetings and wishes for the new year to you and yours, dear Susan :-)

  4.'s as though I'm sitting under a snow this year, there is no suspense about the white x'mas part :P

    Happy holidays, Susan


  5. Those look heavenly! And love the icicles photo!

    Wishing you a wonderful holiday season Susan!
    Keep warm!


  6. ooh the caramel blondies are looking so mouth-watering.Thanks for sharing.

  7. How pretty those icicles look - while they speak of the cold, the dripping caramel speaks of warmth! What a beautiful contrast and lovely click!

    Have a wonderful X'Mas and a Great Year ahead!

  8. This looks like a coating of toffee atop a brownie! Wonder how that would be!
    Have been hearing about the snow from relatives - here in India, even the weak winter we experience where I live during Nov-Jan is weaker than ever, accompanied by reports of global warming!
    Nicely done post, Susan.

  9. when I came to US I used to love the spring and fall in NJ, then when years passed there were less cherry blossoms and direct summer less of spring!! I feel all is because of what we do with mother earth "global warming".
    the butter scotch can not look any better!!

  10. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! What kind of camera o you use? These brownies look like the perfect holiday treat! :)

    Happy Holidays!

  11. Like, whoa. These are completely wonderful!

  12. Love your photos. Can't wait for the icicles outside my window to melt :)

  13. Oh, yum! My family and I LOVE blondies and yours looks fabulous! I'm printing out the recipe and definitely giving them a try!

    Happy 2009!

    Btw, I'm in Fl we have one season - HOT!

  14. I'm in awe, complete awe! The pictures are lovely and it smells good from my computer screen! lovely!!!


  16. What delicious blondies and gorgeous photos :)!

  17. Holy moly, look at those!! How did I miss these in the Christmas rush?? Too fabulous.