Best Blondies Ever (with Brown Butter, Bourbon & Butterscotch)

Brown Butter Bourbon Blondies

I was that weird kid who, when offered the choice of a brownie or a blondie, would always choose the blondie. Something about that cookie bar, packed with chocolate chips and toasty nuts, was just more interesting to me than straight chocolate (though I wouldn’t toss a good, fudgy brownie out of bed either. I’m not a monster).

Unfortunately, more often than not, blondies can be underwhelming — either dry and crumbly or doughy and flavorless — so we set out to develop a foolproof recipe for what we consider to be the perfect blondie: a tender, moist crumb filled with deep caramel flavor from brown butter, vanilla and (optional, but oh-so-delicious) bourbon. Then we packed in our favorite mix-ins: chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips and toasted hazelnuts. 

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The Notorious F.I.G. – a Fig and Rye Valentine’s Day Cocktail

We’ve officially been seriously flipping busy lately. Besides our day jobs — did we mention we have day jobs? sadly this blogging lark doesn’t keep us in dog treats, cat ointment or chicken vests — we’ve been working extremely hard on a super secret Nerds with Knives-related project that we’ll tell you about in detail in a couple of months.

All of this to say that it had been so long since we’d gone out to dinner — food that somebody else plans and cooks and hands to us —that when we finally ventured out to Heritage for Matt’s birthday, we had kinda forgotten how the whole thing works. We poked and flapped the menus in front of our faces as though they were coded missives from another planet.

We sat, glassy-eyed and startled, as a waiter explained specials. When the delicious food arrived on our tables, we started discussing how we were going to photograph it before realizing that, actually, we weren’t obliged to. And then we actually were able to relax and start having a good time, and it was in no small part due to the delicious Fig and Bourbon cocktail we picked out from the drinks menu. This recipe is our loose interpretation of that cocktail, made with Valentine’s Day love. We call it “The Notorious F.I.G.”

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The Monarch: A Brown-Sugar Bourbon Cocktail with Thyme and Lemon

Pouring a cocktail through a strainer into a coupe glass

Inspired by the sweet nectar of summer flowers, we created a cocktail in partnership with Heritage Distilling’s Brown Sugar Bourbon, which has notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, to which we added fresh thyme, lemon and elderflower liqueur. It’s tart, herbal, and beautifully smooth and luscious and very drinkable. After all, don’t we all deserve a little sweetness in our lives?

Loaded Summer Nachos with Grilled Corn and Bourbon BBQ Chicken

Loaded Summer Nachos with Grilled Corn and Bourbon BBQ Chicken

We take what we love about most about nachos (crunchy chips and an unapologetic amount of cheese) and loaded them up with the best flavors of summer. Grilled corn, fresh tomatoes, avocado, pickled radishes and shredded chicken with bourbon-brown sugar BBQ sauce. 

I don’t know about you, but spring was something of a damp squib. It seemed to rain pretty solidly throughout April and May (you know the old rhyme: “April showers, May even more showers, let’s just forget about June entirely”) and while the garden is now as lush as it’s been in years (“July – finally! – flowers”), we hadn’t had much of a chance before the outset of summer to get out there and enjoy it. Now, at last, the heat is on, the tees and shorts are in rotation, and we’re fully into the swing of the season.

So we wanted to celebrate with something that represented all the things we love about summer eating. The flavors of outdoor grilling and BBQ. The fresh seasonal produce like corn and tomatoes. The potential for spending an evening on the deck with friends and easily-shareable finger food. Wasps. (Just kidding, we hate wasps.) And so our mind, as it often does, turns to nachos. Now, there may be many of you for whom nachos are irrevocably twinned with cool weather sports events or movies. And that’s fair enough – you’re in front of the TV, and you want something you can make a meal of without tearing your eyes away from the action. But for us, celebrating summer means taking it outside. (Also, we’re terrible game-night dunces, and only annoy our more sporty friends with idiot questions such as “How do they choose which team has the brightest socks?”)

Note: This recipe is part of our ongoing collaboration with Serious Eats

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