APPLEBEE’S MAPLE BUTTER BLONDIE

This dessert, which used to be called the “White Chocolate & Walnut Blondie,” has been through a few minor ingredient changes along with the name. The fantastic maple cream cheese sauce has been improved and delicious glazed pecans are now sprinkled over the top where there used to be super boring unglazed walnut pieces. I’ve improved every part of this recipe to more closely match the current version of the top-selling dessert at the huge casual chain. The original is served in a piping hot cast-iron skillet, which you can duplicate by preheating small pans on your stovetop. If you don’t have small skillets, you can serve the dessert on a plate after warming up the blondie in your microwave. Done and done.

BLONDIE
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
9 ounces (1¾ cups) all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup water
1 cup chopped walnuts
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped into chunks


GLAZED PECANS

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup chopped pecans


MAPLE CREAM CHEESE SAUCE
8 ounces (1 cup) cream cheese, softened
4 ounces (1 cup) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ teaspoon salt

8 scoops of vanilla ice cream


Cooking method

1-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2-Combine the brown sugar with the butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat well with an electric mixer on high speed until creamy.

3-Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture along with the water and mix well with your mixer on low speed until combined. Add the walnuts and white chocolate and mix by hand. Spread the mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan that has been lined with a sling of aluminum foil or parchment paper (to help remove the blondie once baked). Bake for 22 to 26 minutes or until the top has browned. Remove from the oven and cool. When cool, slice the blondie lengthwise across the middle, then slice down three times, creating 8 even portions.

4-Make the glazed pecans by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and water and heat until bubbling. Add the pecans and continue stirring for 2 to 3 minutes or until the water has cooked away. Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring until the sugar crystallizes on the nuts. Pour the nuts out onto a plate to cool.

5-Make the maple cream cheese sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a microwave-safe medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Heat up the sauce by zapping it in the microwave oven for 30 to 60 seconds on high until warm.

6-Serve the dessert by heating up a small cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes oruntil hot. Place one slice of the blondie into the pan, then spoon a scoop of ice cream on top. Pour the warm maple cream cheese sauce over the ice cream and sprinkle the dessert with about 2 tablespoons of the sugared pecans. You can also serve the dessert on a plate by heating up the blondie in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds until warm, then topping the blondie with a scoop of ice cream, warm maple sauce, and nuts.

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