These Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies are simply heavenly. Adapted from the recipe called “Mom’s Walnut Chews” in Brian Noyes’ Red Truck Bakery Cookbook, they are simple and quick to make. Their backstory is a reminder that sometimes you should treat yourself. You never know when a purchase or two (in this case – a book and a bag of nuts) will come in handy.
I first met Brian when we sat next to each other a few years ago at the 41st National Press Club Book Fair. He brought his Red Truck Bakery Cookbook and I had The Hamilton Cookbook. After purchasing the Red Truck Bakery Cookbook, I made several of the recipes, always with mouthwatering success. (Hint – Try the granola and the Buttermilk Chocolate Chewies.) PS – A little bird told me that he’s got another cookbook in the works. I can’t wait!
Fast forward to the winter of 2021, when two factors led me to this recipe.
First, the walnuts. Brian says the walnut tree in his boyhood backyard may have inspired his mom to create the recipe. I don’t have a walnut tree. But I do have an overbuying habit. And when I bought a Costco-sized bag of walnuts, I had to find a recipe to use up handfuls. This one perfectly fit that bill.
Second, I was looking for a sweet for friends whose dad/father-in-law had just died and for my daughter, Eleanor. My chosen sweet needed to be easily packaged. Again, these morsels fit the bill. They are tender but not fragile. And they would last well. According to the recipe in the book, you can store these tightly wrapped for up to two weeks. They would pack well for my friends and would do fine mailed to Eleanor.
The Walnut Chews became Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies because, well, chocolate makes my world go round. And there you have it. The story of how Mom’s Walnut Chews turned into Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies.
While the blondies only have a few ingredients, they combine to form a crisp top with an ever-so-soft center. The walnuts add flavor and substance, while the chocolate elevates each mouthful to true bliss.
Tips for Making Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies
- Grease the pan well – Use whatever you like, cooking spray, oil, or butter. But whichever you pick, make sure you spray, oil, or butter the pan well. There is no oil or butter in the recipe itself, and if you want the bars to release easily from the pan, you must adequately lubricate the bottom and sides. (Does the term :”lubricate” sound too much like car mechanics? I couldn’t think of how better to describe it.)
- Measuring ingredients – Brian gives measurements by volume. I prefer to weigh ingredients for baking. I’ve given both volume and weight measures, but keep in mind that for items like walnuts and chocolate chips, if you use volume measurements, how the ingredient fits into a cup measure can greatly affect the amount of the ingredient. For example, I had two types of chocolate chips from the same company that were greatly different in size. (The semi-sweet were much smaller than the bittersweet.) I used a mixture to come up with my volume measurement. If I had used only the smaller semi-sweet chips, many more would have fit into the measuring cup. If you don’t have chips and instead chop chocolate into chunks, fewer large chunks would fit into the measuring cup. But if you weigh the chocolate, it doesn’t matter how small or large the chips or chunks are – the weight will be the same.
- Smoothing the batter – The cookbook describes the batter as being pourable. I found it much thicker than that. When I put it in the pan, I had to even out the top, smoothing it with an offset knife (a regular butter knife will work too) and moving it to cover the entire pan. Don’t be alarmed if you have to do that.
- Cooling the bars in the pan – Like brownies, these blondies must cool in the pan, uncut. Be patient. If you cut and remove them too soon, they won’t keep their shape. Gobs of blondies are good, but blondie bars are better.
- Be comfortable with the scrumptious, shattered tops – The tops of these bars crack when cut. Brian’s description is perfect – “the beautifully brittle top flakes into sweet chards….” Whether your tops crack a little or a lot, the shattering only adds to the deliciousness.
When I asked him, Brian generously agreed that I could blog about the recipe. The original recipe calls for 2 ½ cups of walnut halves. I used only 2 cups and then added chocolate chips as indicated. Also, I’ve provided directions for mixing by hand or with a mixer. Brian specifies a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. The instructions below are in my own words and the photos throughout the post are mine.
Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies
Scrumptious bars filled with nuts and chocolate chips. These blondies are simple to whip up and quick to bake.
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed 15 oz/426 g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all purpose flour sifted 4 & 1/4 oz/120 g
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups walnut halves 8 oz/230 g
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips (heaping cup) or chunks 5 & 1/2 oz/ 160 g. See note about types of chocolate to use.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously coat a 9 by 13-inch pan with cooking spray, oil, or butter.
Lightly beat the eggs in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the brown sugar and vanilla. Beat those ingredients together, beginning at low speed then working up to medium speed, until they are well combined.
Whisk the flour and baking soda together, then add them to the egg/brown sugar/vanilla mixture and beat again until well combined. If needed, scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice.
Add the nuts and beat at low speed or mix by hand just until combined, then add the chocolate chips or chunks and mix again.
The final mixture is thick. Spoon it into the pan and even out the top with a knife, making sure that the batter is in the corners and relatively smooth on the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the blondies are turning golden and beginning to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool them in the pan. Cut once completely cooled. They are quite sweet, so pieces should be no larger than 3 x 4-inches (12 to a pan) and smaller if you prefer.
- The original recipe calls for a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. I have a stand mixer and used it. But if you don't have one, a bit of elbow grease and a strong fork or wooden spoon should work fine.
- The chocolate chips or small chunks cut from a bar or bars should be good quality semi-sweet or bittersweet, or a combination. I like to mix the two types of chocolate, without worrying about proportions.