Kick start your day with a good breakfast

The Breakfast Bar–Polenta Blondies

on September 6, 2013

How the hell does she do it?! Luane Kohnke has a substantial full-time corporate job.  In her free time, she creates cookie recipes, writes cookbooks, and bakes professionally for delivery to corporate clients. Yikes!

I met Luane when she published Gluten-Free Cookies a couple of years ago. When she needed recipe testers for her new cookie book, Sassy Cookies, I signed up. If I could make ’em come out right, anybody could! I enjoyed the testing so much and, to my delight, my colleagues at work begged for more Goat-Cheese and Caramel-Swirl Brownies, Lemon-Yogurt Squares, Pecan Shortbread and Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies, and Grapefruit and Poppy-Seed Tuiles.

My favorite of all the recipes I tested? Polenta Blondies. They are really satisfying, chewy–the perfect square for someone who doesn’t have a sweet tooth.


Chai Tea and Chocolate Butter Cookies, as well as Blueberry-Almond Squares, work as well for breakfast as at any other time of the day. Bake someone happy!

Polenta Blondies

Makes 16 bars

Copyright © 2013 by Luane Kohnke

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ finely ground yellow cornmeal

1/16 tsp salt

8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ tsp pure almond extract

⅓ cup diced dried pears (or dried apples or dried apricots)

⅔ cup chopped, lightly toasted whole almonds (see Baker’s Note)

Baker’s Note: Lightly toast whole almonds at 350 degrees 8 to 10 minutes, to bring out their flavor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the sides and bottom of an 8×8-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang of about 2 inches on each of 2 opposite sides. Cut parchment paper to fit bottom of pan, and place on foil. Lightly butter parchment. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, and salt. Set aside.

Melt butter in small saucepan, over low heat, and cool 2 minutes.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, with speed set to high, beat melted butter and sugars about 2 minutes, until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat about 2 minutes, until fluffy.

Reduce speed to low. Mix in flour mixture until combined. Mix in dried pears and almonds.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth top. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until top is golden brown and firm to the touch. Sides will pull away from pan, and top will be slightly cracked. Cool completely in pan, placed on wire rack. Using foil overhang as an aid, lift uncut blondies out of pan, and cut into 16 bars.

Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 5 days.


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