Real Maple Oatmeal Blondies

Lizzy got home from college and immediately began her baking magic.

Using the gallon of maple syrup (Amber Grade) we brought from Vermont, she created this dense, flavorful bar. Moist in the middle, but with a crunchy crust plus dried cranberries to balance the sweetness, one bite will remind you why real maple syrup is so much better than the cheap corn-based variety. Even if you’re not lucky enough to have jugs of medium or dark maple syrup on hand, splurge on a small bottle from the store and supplement with maple flavoring.

Real Maple Oatmeal Blondies

(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Chewy Oatmeal Blondies)

Ingredients:
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 3/4 cup real maple syrup
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– ½ teaspoon salt
– ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 large egg
– 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
– 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Instructions:
– In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter.
– Using an electric mixer, beat butter and maple syrup until light and fluffy. Add egg, and beat until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients; mix just until combined. Mix in ¾ cup oats and all of the walnuts and cranberries. Pour batter into prepared pan.
– Using an offset metal spatula or table knife, smooth batter evenly. Sprinkle with remaining oats, pressing gently to adhere. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan 30 minutes before cutting. Makes 16 squares.

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