Indian desserts often combine sweet buttery flavors with spices and nuts, as in kesar pista kulfi (Indian-style ice cream with saffron and pistachios) or kaju katli (cashew fudge). I love fudgy blondies, so I was inspired to combine their sweet, rich goodness with Indian flavors. The result is a blondie, adapted from my go-to (Smitten Kitchen’s recipe), spiced with cardamom, chopped nuts, and white chocolate. I sprinkle the tops with a bit of flaky salt to offset the sweetness. They are delight eaten at room temperature, or slightly chilled.
How do we make this dish?
First, you’ll brown butter, then mix it into brown sugar, whisking until the mixture is just slightly warm, and thick and ribbony. Next, whisk in an egg, vanilla extract, and the dry ingredients (which includes a little malted milk powder for additional toastiness). Finally, fold in the nuts and white chocolate, then bake, cool, and enjoy!
What substitutions can I make?
Nuts: Pistachios, peanuts, and cashews are all commonly used in Indian desserts so you can pick any two of these as you wish.
Malted Milk Powder: You can substitute malted milk powder for milk powder, just keep in mind you’ll lose some of those toasty notes.
One trick I use to get super fudgy blondies is to let the blondies cool until they’re just about at room temperature on the outsides, then let them chill in the fridge for a few hours. Once they’ve chilled, I’ll take them out and cut them. This seems to really help the insides “set.”
Recipe: Nutty Cardamom Blondies
- 1 cup (190 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 7/8 cup (110 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons malted milk powder
- 1 cup nuts, cashews, peanuts, or pistachios are all great here, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup white chocolate, roughly chopped
- Flaky salt for topping
- Prepare the pan: Line an 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch pan with parchment (see here for how to line a pan with parchment). Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Prepare the mixing bowl: In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar and cardamom together.
- Brown the butter: In a small saucepan, melt butter at medium heat. Stirring frequently, continue cooking butter as it begins to foam up considerably. Once the foam subsides, the butter should smell nutty and toasty (and appear light brown in color). Immediately remove the butter from the heat, then mix into the brown sugar-cardamom mixture. Whisk for about 1 minute until mixture lightens in color and becomes thick and ribbony.
- Add the rest of the wet ingredients: Check to make sure the batter is lukewarm (if hotter, the egg may curdle, so let it cool if needed), then whisk in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients: Gently fold in sea salt, flour, and malted milk powder until just combined. Fold in nuts and white chocolate.
- Bake: Pour the batter into your parchment-lined baking pan and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on the size of your baking pan) until the blondies feel set, the top is crackly and doesn’t wiggle and the sides are golden brown. The blondies will still feel slightly soft (if they feel firm, they are overdone). Once done, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently lift up the blondies in the parchment paper and set on a wire rack to cool, about 15-20 minutes.
- Cut into squares and serve, or, if desired, you can place the blondies (uncut and uncovered) in the fridge for a few hours before slicing and serving for a fudgier texture.
- Keep blondies in an airtight container at room temp for 3 days and up to a week in the fridge.