I’ve had a few conversations with people recently that I know “in real life” but who also read this blog. They’ve mentioned how healthy we are, citing things like my use of Kale, my kids eating our homegrown vegetables, “weird” whole grains in baking recipes, or just how often we cook our meals from scratch. This strikes me as funny.
It’s not that I think we are unhealthy, but I guess there are a lot of ways to define “healthy.” In some of the conversations, the word “healthy” was cited almost as a negative thing. A friend actually told me that she thought about bringing us cookies but then didn’t because she knows we are so “healthy.”
I was thinking about this as I mixed up these Cinnamon Apple Blondies and again as we drizzled them with Caramel Sauce and enjoyed every sticky bite. They aren’t what I would necessarily call healthy, but as I define the word, they fall in that range. My food philosophy, if you can even call it that, boils down to this:
If you’re cooking at home and cooking from scratch, you’re doing okay. If you throw in some kale and some whole grain spelt, you’re doing even better.
In my definition of healthy, there’s room for a delicious homemade treat. I bring you these absolutely wonderful Cinnamon Apple Blondies with Caramel Sauce from my “healthy” family kitchen. They are crazy good and a perfect Autumn treat.
In my experience, the more you cook at home, the easier it is to start branching out and using more ingredients like that weird spelt flour and kale. Cooking invites creativity and inspires me to look for ingredients that I can experiment with, which is how I end up cooking with Tamari and Tamarind Puree and Beet Greens.
That being said, this healthy kitchen of mine will always be open for a good, chewy blondie bar, especially if it’s served with caramel sauce too.
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 2 honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8 inch square baking pan. Use a strip of parchment paper to cover the bottom of the pan, leaving a few inches overhang on each side to easily lift out the bars after cooking.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the nuts and apples.
- Spread the batter into the pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool for 5 minutes in pan. Gently lift out the bars, using the parchment overhang, and cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with caramel sauce or eat plain.
- Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
- Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
- Once sugar is completely melted, add the butter quickly. The caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added. Continue to carefully stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted.
- Very slowly, drizzle in ½ cup of heavy cream while continuously stirring. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Cool before using. Store any remaining sauce in the fridge for other uses.