Friday, May 4, 2012

Mint Julep Blondies (Pecan Blondies with Bourbon Mint Buttercream)





When people tell me they want to visit central Kentucky, I always say – come in April or October. Not only is the weather gorgeous, but the horses are running at Keeneland in Lexington.

The exception to this rule? You want to experience the Kentucky Derby. Then you’ll need to visit the first week in May.

Derby week is one of the best times to be in the state. There is a spirit of excitement in the air, and everyone is focused on everything Kentucky from food, to bourbon, to hats, to horses. 

We’ve never been to the Derby, but we take part in the celebration. Last Saturday my husband and I ran the Kentucky Derby miniMarathon, an event that kicks off the week’s festivities. 

To further celebrate the big day, I’m always on the lookout for ways to recreate Derby favorites. Last year I went with Mint Julep Scones and Bourbon Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies with coconut oil. The Mint Julep is the classic Derby drink that combines Kentucky bourbon with mint-infused simple syrup. Chocolate chips, pecans and bourbon are the traditional ingredients in Derby day pie. 

I find that mint rarely has it’s time to shine, especially right now when it’s at peak season in the herb garden. In order to give it the attention it deserves, I stuck with the Mint Julep theme again this year, but I went a bit sweeter.

These pecan blondies have a touch of mint-infused simple syrup in the batter. They are topped off with a bourbon mint buttercream frosting. 

Whether you prefer drink or dessert, enjoy your Mint Julep and celebrations of the Bluegrass State!

Mint Julep Blondies
Modified from blondies at Smitten Kitchen

Pecan Blondies:
½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup mascavo/muscovado sugar*
1 egg
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp mint-infused simple syrup*
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter an 8x8 inch pan. 

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Add the egg and continue to beat until incorporated into the batter. Add the vanilla and simple syrup. 

Gently blend in the sea salt and flour. Mix just until combined. Finally, stir in the pecans. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the center is firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Bourbon Mint Buttercream Frosting:
¼ cup ( ½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 ½ tbsp Kentucky bourbon
2 leaves fresh mint, very finely chopped
Pinch of salt

Beat the butter and powdered sugar together until butter is distributed throughout the sugar. Add the bourbon and beat until light and fluffy. Add the mint and salt, and beat about 30 seconds more. 

Frost the blondies and serve. Makes 9 blondies.


*Notes on ingredients: 

Brown sugar can be used in place of mascavo sugar, but if you can find mascavo, I encourage you to try it. I still have friends from Brazil bring it to me when they travel to the States because it is so affordable there, but I recently found it at our Asian market here (more often called muscovado). It is much less expensive in an international market, and in a larger quantity than what you will find in a health food store.

You can make mint-infused simple syrup by combining 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, and place several sprigs of fresh mint in the syrup. Allow the mint to infuse the syrup as it cools. Once cooled (preferably leaving it to infuse most of the day) remove the mint and store the syrup in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a month.


7 comments:

madge @ vegetariancasserolequeen said...

I've never had a mint julep, but they sound delish...as do these blondies! I used to visit Lexington every spring for the Rolex three day event when I was a kid. Lexington is absolutely beautiful!!!

Candy said...

Such a creative spin on the mint julep, Lori! Going to the Derby is on my bucket list. Grandstand only though, no infield for me!

Lori said...

Madge - We love Rolex! We didn't go this year, but have been in the past. It's such a fun event.

Candy - Thanks! It's on ours too, exactly the same conditions! :) The infield isn't appealing at all. I'd rather not go than watch it from there which is precisely why we've never gone. Ha, ha!

Michelle said...

Beautiful photos! And the recipe sounds great even to this non-bourbon-lover.

Cathleen said...

This looks delicious! I`m reading about so many recipes with bourbon in it, and they all sound amazing. I have never cooked/baked with bourbon, but I am intrigued now!

Deb in Hawaii said...

This makes me want to go buy a bottle of bourbon and start baking. Such a fun take on a classic drink. ;-)

Nutrition Ebooks said...

Great post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I am impressed! Very useful information specifically the last section :) I care for such information much. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thanks and good luck.