The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 01.16.06


Blondies, anyone?

Dieters shall shield their eyes from this column or say goodbye to any New Years resolution.

I've decided to offer a recipe for "Blondies" this week as I am craving them in a serious way since I received a gift of them via mail from Toronto before Christmas. I ate them all at once. Blondies are better than brownies methinks but I'll let you decide.

This version also makes use of a pecan brittle as part of the topping. should you wish to really indulge. I just happen to have some on hand as I made a large batch last week and there are only ideal sized crumbs left.

Waste not, want not is my motto.

The pecans I used came here all the way from the Carolinas and again, were a gift. It's the lucky life of a food writer, I tell you. Downside? No potential diets at our house.

You could make low-fat Blondies and pecan pies but that's just so -- I don't know, er -- not right.

What was right last week was the fact that my wife and I ate a whole pound and a half of Kale in one sitting. Or I should say, she ate it.

I cooked it with the appropriate trilogy of garlic, onion. and salt but gave in to a natural male tendency of distaste for all things green at times. It could be an ancient throwback to a hunter-gatherer thing that dictates this on occasion. You know… he hunts, she gathers.

At any rate, Kale is a "super food" containing far more vitamins and minerals than most other vegetables. Readily available and just now dirt cheap, Kale is a good choice for getting the greens while eschewing out of season and imported lettuces of no flavor and astronomical price.

Blondies, on the other hand, deliver winter guilty pleasure in a kitchen warming way.

You won't be disappointed to know that sugar and fat keeps you warm better than any old leafy meal any day. Please don't tell your physician I had anything to do with your snacking habits. I'm getting a bad reputation around here it seems.

Caramel-Crunch Blondies

1/2-cup butter, melted
1-cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2-teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder*
1 cup caramel chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1-cup mini-marshmallows


3 tablespoons milk or cream
1/2 cup glazing sugar or confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup caramel chips, melted
1/3-cup pecan brittle crunch or chopped, toasted pecans

For dense, candy-like bars, omit the baking powder


In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar and salt. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, beating till smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, vanilla and baking powder. Stir this mixture into the wet ingredients, and then fold in the chips, nuts, and mini-marshmallows. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan, and bake the bars in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, just until the edges begin to brown.

Glaze: In a small bowl, stir together the milk and sugar until smooth. Stir in the melted chips; heat the glaze briefly if it becomes lumpy. Spread it over the warm bars, and sprinkle with the pecan crunch. Cool completely before cutting.

Yield: about 30 bars.