Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bars

How to make an impression at your first neighborhood party: bring a pan of bars loaded with booze, browned butter, brown sugar, and Grade A Wisconsin maple syrup. Nice to meet you. May I offer you a Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bar?

Maple Bourbon Blondies with Brown Butter and Maple GlazeAs much as I love to cook and bake, bringing food to parties—especially parties where I’m meeting people for the first time—completely stresses me. When people hear that I’m a food blogger, I assume their expectation is that a beam of heavenly light will shine from above upon first bite. It’s the sort of pressure that causes me to speak unnaturally loudly when stating the name of the recipe (“BOURBON BARS!”), forget the name of my own blog, or even overbake my most perfect and foolproof batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Fortunately, these Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bars were a hit and placed me in good neighbor standing. They did require a few rounds of recipe tweaking (which resulted in both tears over wasted bourbon and a freezer full of maple syrup-loaded blondies), but the final results were completely worth it.

Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bars. If you like blondies, you will go crazy for these buttery, melt-in-your mouth bars.

http://cdn1.wellplated.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Maple-Brown-Sugar-Bourbon-Bars-with-Brown-Butter-and-Bourbon-Glaze.jpgMaple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bars have the soft and chewy texture of a blondie, the distinctly fall flavors of maple and brown sugar, and the richness of browned butter. Walnuts add subtle warmth and crunch, and oh yes—the bourbon. Its flavor pairs splendidly with the maple syrup, so I took the liberty of spiking the bars and drizzling a maple bourbon glaze over the top. Light is definitely shining from above now.

Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon BarsOr, given the bourbon, would the light more appropriately shine from below? This recipe does use whole wheat flour, rely on the maple syrup for sweetness, and have a reduced quantity of butter (the browning process which maximizes its flavor, so we can get away with less). I’ll leave the final judgment up to you.

Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bars with Maple Bourbon GlazeWith my boozy dessert introduction, I may have staked my reputation in the neighborhood as, “The Bourbon Bar Girl.” I’m honored.

Maple Brown Sugar Bourbon Bars

Soft and chewy blondie bars made with maple syrup, walnuts, brown sugar, browned butter and a hit of bourbon. Top them off with maple bourbon glaze, and you have a fall-flavored dessert that is impossible to resist.

Yield: 1 8x8-inch pan (16 bars)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Bars

  • 3/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (if you prefer to omit, decrease white whole wheat flour by 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

For the Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon (or milk or cream)

Directions:

  1. Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8x8 in pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs on the sides, grease once more and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter in a large saucepan and over medium-low heat. Once the butter melts, it will foam, turn clear golden, then begin to turn brown and smell nutty. Whisk often, scraping up any bits from the bottom. Watch the pan very carefully, as the butter will brown very soon after it begins to color and can burn quickly. Once the butter is deep golden and very fragrant, remove it from heat.
  4. Whisk the brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon into the saucepan with the browned butter until smooth. Let cool to lukewarm, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Pour the maple butter mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk by hand until combined. Fold in the chopped toasted walnuts.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the bars pull away from the sides of the pan slightly. For clean cutting, let cool completely. Use the parchment paper overhand as “handles” to transfer the a cutting board.
  6. Prepare the glaze: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over bars, then slice bars into desired sizes and serve.

Store leftover bars well-wrapped in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to three days or wrap individually and freeze for up to three months.

Let there be bourbon:

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

35 comments

  1. It makes me nervous cooking for people, too! Especially when I can hear someone talking me up before they try what I brought. Save any praise until AFTER you’ve tried my potential failure, k thanks. These bars look KILLER. Josh has a thing for bourbon and who doesn’t have a think for maple? Perfect dessert!

  2. I love all the ways you find to use bourbon, Erin! These look worth the hours and tears. I’m sure your neighbors loved them!

  3. Boozy bars! I would be one happy neighbor if I received these.

  4. These are just naughty. Pass the bourbon and a few more bars, please? :)

  5. These look delicious! Such a great recipe for fall, with the bourbon and the maple. Yum!

  6. The fact that you used bulleit makes me like you that much more. You go girl.

  7. Gah! I know exactly what you mean! Sometimes I purposely don’t tell people I’m a food blogger because I don’t want them to have some crazy high expectation that my food will taste like gold sprinkled unicorns.

  8. So much caramel-y flavor going on with the bourbon, maple and brown sugar! Whenever I have to take dessert to a group of people I always stick to a tried and true recipe that is on the simpler side. The crazy recipes somehow always turn out great when you’re home alone and fall apart when you have to bring it somewhere!

  9. I so understand – I love to bake/cook too, but doing it for people I don’t know stresses me out too! I see what you are doing with these bars though – you are hoping people get drunk off one so you have leftovers for yourself eh?! :)
    These look decadent – simply decadent – so moist, so rich, I just wanna cuddle up with a plateful in a corner!

  10. Yesss. I’m glad I’m not the only one who stresses about that. I always send treats to work with my husband, and I text him throughout the day to make sure people are enjoying them ;) But really. You can’t go wrong when there’s bourbon in it, can you?

  11. I agree, it’s stressful baking for parties when people know you have a food blog!! These look amazing- can’t wait to bake a batch!

  12. Can I be your neighbor please? You are in Grade A standing with me for sure :)

  13. You had me at brown sugar… and BOURBON!

  14. I get so nervous baking for people too. I can see why these were a hit though! They look awesome and I can’t wait to try them myself!

  15. on that note, why cant we be neighbors????

  16. I so need to bake with bourbon!!! you’ve inspired me. . these bars look fabulous!!!

  17. Ooooh, I am sure you’ll be receiving lots of dinner invites from your neighbors because these bars look and I am sure taste absolutely amazing. You simply can’t go wrong with bourbon :)!

  18. I NEVER used to a bourbon girl, but something changed in me last year, and now 80% of the time it’s what I order. Bourbon spiked food however, has always been something I’m in to, and if you were MY neighbor and brought these over, I’d be indebted to pick up your mail and paper every time you went out of town for eternity. :)

  19. You are going to win friends everywhere you go with these! I get totally nervous when people have too much expectation attached to my food – it’s crazy how often, when I’m baking for a specific occasion, something silly goes wrong!

  20. I get nervous too! Especially since I do mostly healthy food and no one wants to eat healthy at a party! So I always end up doing something totally unhealthy just because I know it will get the most compliments and I’m a sucker for compliments. :) But these bars look so amazing you have nothing to worry about. And neither do I because I am totally making these for my next party!

  21. Oh the anticipation of going to a party and attempting to sweep everyone off their feet with some delicious bites. My hubby is a bourbon lover, where as I, enjoy it in my food! I would deem you as neighborhood fav if you brought these to a party with me!

  22. Hahahaha Bourbon Bar Girl. Guess there are worst things to be known as! These look terrific!

  23. If this is what you’re making for neighbors, then I think you need to move in next to me! YUM!

  24. I think the light is shining from all over with these! Bourbon, maple syrup and brown butter? I’m in!

  25. The texture on these looks perfect! And I agree–I’d love to be your neighbor if you brought these!!

  26. oh these look great! you are so right- it’s hard to bring food to a party sometimes, especially if you don’t know the people well :)

  27. Loving the additional of brown butter and booze! I need to put more booze in my recipes…thanks for reminding me! ;)

  28. OMG, I totally understand. I get nervous cooking for just about anyone…even the significant other! I think he gets freaked out because every time I make something new, I stare at him awkwardly as he takes the first bite! I’m sure these bars were a huge hit! How could you go wrong with maple, brown sugar and bourbon!? Love it.

  29. Oh I so know what you mean! People always seem to apologise when they bring over a dessert but I’m like ‘hey I’m a food blogger because I like food – and I LOVE it when people cook for me.’ These bars are perfection!!!

  30. Erin…. You make all the amazing treats at your place. AND….. Heck yeah you are an awesome neighbor. :)

  31. I just made these for a Fall party tonight with very few tweaks- really just to accommodate what I already had in my pantry and liquor cabinet. DIVINE!!! I’m doing a blog post about them and will give you mad props!! :)

    Sarah (Sadie Seasongoods)

  32. If I use all AP flour and no whole wheat flour, would I need to change the total quantity?

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