This recipe for classic thick and chewy gluten free blondies has that rich butterscotch flavor you expect in a blonde brownie. Imagine what it’s like if you add maple butter sauce on top of a scoop of vanilla…
These extra thick and chewy gluten free blondies with white chocolate and butterscotch chips are perfect as they are. Add some maple butter sauce if you dare.
What’s the difference between a brownie and a blondie?
The main difference between a brownie and a blondie is the dominant flavor. In brownies, the main flavor is chocolate. In blondies, the flavor of brown sugar, which tastes faintly like butterscotch, is dominant.
Blondies are also often called “blonde brownies.” I assume that’s because brownies, which are of course brown, are the original, and blondies are the blonde variety.
Chewy brownies, which are similar in texture to these blondies, have very little gluten free flour in them. Instead, they rely heavily on cocoa powder as a dry ingredient.
Blondies aren’t made just by eliminating the cocoa powder from our chewy brownies recipe. They’re completely rebalanced with more butter, and plenty of brown sugar.
If you add pecans, like I sometimes do, and top the blondie with ice cream and the maple butter sauce, it tastes like a deconstructed butter pecan ice cream. It just happens to be in the form of a thick, chewy blondie studded with pecans and white chocolate chips.
Much later than brownies and blondies, of course, came thick, chewy bars of other flavors. My favorite is our gluten free lemon brownies, or “lemonies.”
How to make Applebee’s maple butter sauce
When I first published this recipe way back in 2014, I was focused mainly on the maple butter sauce. I was dying to replicate the maple butter blondies from Applebee’s, as requested by a reader at the time.
These days, I don’t always make the sauce to accompany the blondies. But when I do, I serve it with these blondies, but also over ice cream, or even just our chewy gluten free brownies, with no regrets.
To make the maple butter sauce, we take a basic butterscotch sauce, which is made with brown sugar, butter, salt, and cream, and add maple syrup. All you do is cook the sugar, butter, and maple syrup low and slow, then add cream and reduce it slightly.
Make the sauce ahead
The sauce can be made ahead of time, and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will solidify, so you’ll just have to reheat it gently until it’s smooth.
When you’re ready to serve the sauce, just uncover it and warm it in the microwave on reduced power, stirring frequently. You can also place a heat-safe container in a water bath in a small saucepan on the stovetop and stir stir stir.
Is there gluten in white chocolate chips?
There does not have to be gluten in white chocolate chips. But since white chocolate chips are frequently made with a bunch of different ingredients, and often not made with any cacao butter, they do sometimes have gluten.
The same is often true of butterscotch chips. They can contain gluten.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have white chocolate chips or butterscotch chips if you’re gluten free. It just means that you have to be mindful of your sourcing.
Hershey’s brand, at least in the U.S., is usually gluten free. Just be sure to read labels and check websites to make sure.
In fact, if you want white chocolate with real cacao butter, you often have to make your own. If you’re feeling adventuresome, you can try our recipe for homemade vegan white chocolate.
Ingredients and substitutions
There’s a lot of dairy in this recipe, both in the blondies and in the maple butter sauce. I think you can replace it in the blondies, but the sauce is much harder.
For the butter, in all cases, I recommend vegan butter. Miyoko’s Kitchen and Melt are my favorite brands.
Instead of white chocolate chips, I recommend replacing them with dairy free chips of another kind.
I’m afraid there are just too many eggs in this recipe for me to suggest trying to replace them. They provide nearly all the rise in them, since there’s only a bit of baking soda.
For the chips
You can use any sort of stable mix-ins that you like. If you’re using white chocolate and butterscotch chips, like I do mostly, read labels carefully to ensure that everything you’re using is safly gluten free.
If you like nuts in your blondies, I recommend replacing half of the chips with chopped raw pecans. You can also use walnuts, or any other nut that is tender when raw.
For the maple butter sauce
The maple butter can be made a few days ahead of time. Store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will solidify.
When you’re ready to serve the sauce, uncover it and warm it in the microwave or in a water bath in a small saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth.
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease and line an 8-inch x 8-inch (for thicker bars) or 9-inch x 9-inch (for thinner bars) baking pan, and set it aside.
Make the blondies. In a large bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda, and whisk to combine well. Set the mixture aside.
In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the butter and granulated sugar. Melt over low heat, whisking frequently, until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the brown sugar. Whisk to combine and to melt the brown sugar until smooth. Set the saucepan aside to cool briefly.
In a large mixing bowl, place the eggs and vanilla and beat with a handheld mixer or whisk with a large balloon whisk until foamy. While whisking or beating constantly, add the butter and sugars mixture. Continue whisking or beating until very smooth.
Add the dry ingredients, and mix by hand until well-combined. The batter will be very sticky, and very soft and pourable. Add most of the chips, and mix until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and shake it into an even layer. Bang the pan flat on the countertop to break any large air bubbles in the batter.
Sprinkle the remaining chips evenly on top of the batter. Bang the pan again a few times to help the chips adhere.
Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean, with just a few moist crumbs attached (about 40 minutes for the 9-inch x 9-inch pan, and about 50 minutes for the 8-inch x 8-inch pan).
Remove the pan from the oven, place the pan on a wire rack and allow the bars to cool in the pan until stable enough to move without cracking (at least 20 minutes). Remove the bars from the pan, place on the wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing into 9 equal pieces.
Make the optional maple butter. In a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the chopped butter. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the brown sugar, and stir until the mixture is wet and grainy. Add the maple syrup and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to look smooth (about 3 minutes).
Add the heavy whipping cream and switch to a whisk. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth (about 1 minute).
Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook, whisking occasionally, for about another 5 minutes, or until it is slightly reduced and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat, and taste the maple butter with a clean spoon. Add pure vanilla extract and coarse salt to taste.
To serve, place each blondie on a separate plate, drizzle with some of the warm maple butter sauce, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and drizzle with more sauce. Moderation is not really the point here.
Originally published on the blog in 2014. Recipe tweaked slightly, video, text, and some photos new.