I have gone holiday crazy.
Not in a good way either – you know, where you feel productive because the house is perfectly decorated inside and out. Nope. I mean I’ve gone holiday crazy in the realllly unproductive sense where I sit on the couch after work and binge watch every single Christmas movie ever made. I mean, sometimes I browse Pinterest for cute Christmas DIY ideas that I’ll probably never make. And sometimes if I’m feeling super guilty, I’ll edit photos for the blog while I watch Melissa Joan Hart kidnap a guy and force him to be her boyfriend over the holidays (see the cringe-worthy movie: Holiday in Handcuffs – or um, please don’t see it?).
Why am I telling you this? To hopefully make you feel better about yourself if you’re doing the same thing I am…?
But really, even though it all sounds
slightly pathetic, I’m happy. This is my favorite time of the year and it’s the only time of the year where I feel like I can get away with hiding out at home in the evenings, sipping on a mug of hot cocoa or eating a freshly baked treat while mindlessly watching television under a blanket. Real life.
What freshly baked treats have I been munching on lately while mindlessly watching one Christmas movie after another, you ask?
Cashew Butter Blondies. 5 ingredients. BAM. Real life.
(how many times can I say “real life.” in a blog post without coming off like an annoying millennial? at least 5 times, right?)
They’re brilliant! They require just 5 ingredients, they’re super simple to make (granted you have an electronic hand mixer – otherwise you’re in for a work out) and they’re incredibly adaptable. I made these with mini chocolate chips, dried cranberries and salted macadamia nuts but you can use whatever additions you want. I have to make a push for the macadamia nuts though – they’re just so perfect in these blondies.
These dessert bars are gluten-free, paleo-friendly and hopefully much healthier than your average blondie/brownie. The 5 main ingredients: cashew butter, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract and baking soda. (FYI: I got the cashew butter for $5.99 at ALDI.).
Do you like your blondies more on the cakey side? Or do you prefer fudgy? I feel like these cashew butter blondies are both. The edge pieces have more of a cake-like crumb and the middle pieces are softer and fudgier. I’m a fudgy girl and my husband is a cakey guy so these were perfect for the two of us. You can always bake them for a shorter period of time if you prefer them gooey or add a few extra minutes to the baking time to make them more cake-like.
By the way, this is what the batter looks like before you put it into the oven – remember to smooth out the top:
When you take the pan out of the oven, let it cool completely, then cut the blondies into pretty little rectangles.
That’s a cakey piece right there in the middle. If you look to the right, you can see one that’s a little more gooey – yummm. I really do prefer the gooey ones but they don’t photograph as well (things only food bloggers think about).
I bought the cashew butter, macadamia nuts and dried cranberries used in this recipe from ALDI. You might remember me telling you that they invited me to their corporate headquarters in Chicago last month. They found me through a blog post I wrote about them: Real Food at ALDI. Their chefs prepared an awesome meal for us and they even made sure I had plenty of gluten-free options:
For dessert, even though they were kind enough to put out some gluten-free cookies and almond milk hot chocolate – my eyes were glued on their cranberry blondies. I couldn’t eat those because they weren’t gluten-free so I was inspired to make them myself – paleo and all.
I think you’ll love these blondies regardless of the add-ins you choose (but if you create a killer combo, make sure to let all of us know in the comments). Bake these this holiday season or year-round
- 1 cup cashew butter
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- ¼ cup macadamia nuts (optional)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Add the cashew butter, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract and baking soda to a large bowl.
- Using an electric hand mixer, combine until smooth.
- Fold in the chocolate chips, macadamia nuts and cranberries if using.
- Pour the batter into a greased 8x8 glass dish lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 350F for 15-18 minutes.
- Allow the pan to cool, then cut and serve.
PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: Thanks ALDI for sponsoring this post! I love that you now carry so many gluten-free options for me & my readers!