I ended up experimenting again for the second Hikes for the Soul day out. The back catalogue of recipes didn’t inspire me and I wanted something rich, dense and non-chocolate flavoured, but still fluffy, as well as gluten-free and substantial – a lot to ask of a humble snack. I’d never known what a blondie was until recently coming across a recipe during my online travels. After some careful reading within the halls of Google for all of two minutes, I discover that according to Martha Stewart, blondies are a dense, fudgy slice akin to brownies, sans chocolate but with the addition of brown sugar and brown butter, for a butterscotch-type flavour that also gives the slice a chewy texture.
This blondie concept sounded rather yum and able to be adapted, so I came up with a version to suit all my hiking snack needs. My creation includes a few non-traditional items: banana, chia seeds and macadamias, for substance but also for the all-important protein while walking.
Hike #2 was another beautiful day out and the autumn weather was kind to us. There is one more autumnal hike taking place on 13 May, a Saturday afternoon given that it’s Mother’s Day the following day. After this one, I may choose a more local setting for a shorter walk with meditations, given the unpredictability of Victorian winter weather. I am flip-flopping between ideas at the moment, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, I recommend these blondie slices of buttery beauty. Quite good.
1 ⅓ cups gluten-free flour
½ cup oats (quick or rolled)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon salt
125 g unsalted butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup roughly chopped macadamias
1/4 cup honey + 2 tablespoons butter, melted together (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20–23 cm cake pan. I used a rectangular slice/brownie pan for this cake.
Place the flour, oats, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, seeds and salt in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously for about 1 minute until well combined.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Allow to bubble and then turn a deep golden and slightly brown colour, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Add the brown sugar to a separate bowl and then tip in the cooled butter, whisking until the mixture is creamy. Add the eggs, mixing well, then the vanilla and mashed bananas.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon to combine, then add the macadamias. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and shake a little to even out.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or when it is cooked through and the top is golden. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack soon after. You may wish to add the melted honey and butter at this point, which I did to moisten the blondies and give them a little extra decadence. This is best added while the blondies are still warm. Otherwise, they are also delicious as is.