Oops…I’ve done it again.
I’ve gone and taken a run-of-the-mill recipe idea and successfully morphed it into a weird dessert that you’re probably not too sure about. All my healthy readers out there are probably like “Why are you trying to be healthy using tahini and dates and then adding sugar and butter and WHISKEY?” and all of my more hedonistic food lovers out there are probably like “Bleh…Why are you ruining such great things like blondies and caramel with these HEALTHY foods?” But isn’t this what I’m here for? If this isn’t a recipe for a balanced life, I don’t know what is 😉
So this is where I ask you to trust me. Trust that I would not steer you wrong with something like Tahini Blondies with Whiskey Date Caramel & Sea Salt. I know, I know, it’s hard, because I was hesitant myself at first…Would this taste too “hippy-ish”? Would the flavors freak people out? Could I handle tahini in such high doses? So many unknowns! But I put my head down and I went for it, and I am sooo glad I did because out of everyone I’ve shared these with, none of them have turned up their nose.
Case in point: I brought these tasty little Tahini Blondies with Whiskey Date Caramel & Sea Salt into work and any time anyone started approaching them I’d find myself blurting out “Those are a bit more savory than sweet” or “Do you know what tahini is? Have you had it before? It’s that ingredient in hummus.” But because my coworkers seem to trust my baking skills at this point in time (I’ve been feeding them well lately), they go in for it anyhow. And every single person responded with “Yea, that is different. But it’s soooo good!” And proceeded to go back for seconds. I’ll call that a success in my book!
While I’m at it, I might as well also share with you a few of my coworker crowd favorites from CaliGirl Cooking thus far:
- Crunchy Pea Salad with Crispy Prosciutto
- Chocolate Brie Dessert Pizza with Almond-Orange Shortbread Crust
- Slow Cooker Superfood Oatmeal
- Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream
Okay, so on to our sweet yet savory little Tahini Blondies with Whiskey Date Caramel & Sea Salt. Here’s the scoop: For the blondies, I riffed off of two recipes I found from some of my fave fellow bloggers, these Tahini Dirty Blondies from I Will Not Eat Oysters and these Blonde Brownies from Joy the Baker. Then, for the Whiskey Date Caramel, I riffed off of this SUPER easy recipe from the Minimalist Baker.
I have to admit, I have been wanting to try my hand at making date caramel for some time now (we still have loads of dates left over from the fiance’s last trip to Palm Springs and the infamous Date “Shakes”) but I’ve been just a teensy bit intimidated. (I might also mention that I bought a pre-bottled version of the caramel at the date farm on our last visit so I have really had no extra motivation to make it?) Excuses, excuses. But guys, I did it! And this recipe is soooo easy and it should not be intimidating to you at all. It will be even less intimidating if you take a sip or two of the whiskey you’re using while you’re making it….just saying.
So, I told you all about the blondie base and I told you all about the whiskey date caramel. Now’s the fun part of mixing the two together! We first layer all of the blondie batter into an 8×8 baking dish, then we drop dollops of the whiskey date caramel on top. Next, we swirl the tip of a knife through the dollops to make a lovely little design and voila! We’re ready to bake it off. Once we take our Tahini Blondies with Whiskey Date Caramel out of the oven, our last step is to sprinkle on the sea salt. For best results, I’d recommend doing this while the blondies are still warm, but to be completely honest, I waited until they had cooled and it still turned out fine, the salt will just fall off a bit easier.
But that’s it! It really is not a difficult recipe, and I promise you’ll impress even your most gourmet foodie friends with these tasty little treats. Oh, I must also mention that the deliciousness factor of Tahini Blondies with Whiskey Date Caramel & Sea Salt is at least doubled (if not tripled) when served with some French vanilla ice cream. You’re welcome for that little tidbit of information.
So what do you say? Are you ready to hop on the tahini and date caramel bandwagon? I’ve certainly enjoyed going along for the ride, I’m sure you will too!
- 4 tablespoons butter I recommend Kerrygold
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup tahini sesame seed paste
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup [unsweetened vanilla almond milk|http://amzn.to/1Sa2KCv}
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/3 cup Whiskey Date Caramel recipe below, at room temperature
- Maldon Sea Salt for garnishing
- Preaheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8x8-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to brown slightly. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Once butter is mostly incorporated into the brown sugar, remove from heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Pour brown butter and sugar mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Add sugar, tahini, eggs, almond milk and vanilla bean paste. Using an electric mixer, mix until all ingredient are well combined.
- Add flour mixture to wet ingredients. Once again using the hand mixer, mix until combined. Pour batter into baking dish.
- Take the Whiskey Date Caramel and drop by large tablespoons-full onto the batter, spreading the spoonfuls out as evenly as possible. Using a sharp knife or toothpick, drag it through the caramel dollops and batter to make a swirl pattern.
- Place dish in oven and bake at 325 degrees for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Our oven runs a little cool, so you may need less time than this. I’d advise starting to check on the blondies every 5 minutes or so once you get to the 45 minute mark.
- Remove baked blondies from oven and sprinkle on sea salt immediately. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, remove blondies from baking dish and slice into desired number of pieces. For best results, serve with French vanilla ice cream.
For Whiskey Date Caramel (adapted from Minimalist Baker): Soak 20 pitted dates in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes. Drain. Add dates to food processor. Pulse until dates begin to break down. Keeping the food processor running, slowly add 2-3 tablespoons of water and 1-2 tablespoons of whiskey (depending on how strong you want the caramel to taste.) Continue running the food processor, stopping to scrape the sides when necessary, until a smooth caramel forms. Transfer to a Tupperware container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
I’ll be needing more than just “A Smidge” please…