Walnut Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chunks (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

If nuts were people, the walnut would be the dark, quiet, serious one. The one who stands at the edges of a party, looking slightly disdainful at the rest of the revelers, not quite willing to join in the hilarity. While the pecan is the sweet southern belle, and the almond is everybody’s friend, the walnut is the mature nut who is a bit stand-offish and requires some getting to know. At first, you might not like them all that much, but after a while you realize that there is more to this nut than you first thought. There is a complexity, a depth of personality, that the other nuts lack. There is a slight edge of bitterness that can be tamed with the right treatment, and you come to wonder why you dismissed this nut so readily before.

Consider this my ode to walnuts. I love them deeply, but this wasn’t always the case. As a child I found them somewhat bitter and preferred the sweeter pecan. I can’t quite say when the tide began to turn, but I have a great appreciation for them now. And discovering that walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids certainly didn’t hurt their cause. I love them in sweet or savoury dishes, and I can eat them plain by the handful. And a little toasted walnut oil takes salad or steamed veggies to a whole new level.

The current recipe was inspired by the purchase of some walnut oil at TJ Maxx/Homegoods. I was delighted to discover a bottle of it for several dollars less than the grocery store and I snapped it up. Although it’s most often used in savoury dishes, I had it in my head to bake with it. The image of a gooey, dense blondie with dark chocolate chunks came to mind, and I couldn’t shake it. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off a low carb version, but I knew I had to give it a go.

The results: Excuse my use of a fake expletive here, but these are freaking good! They are the epitome of a gooey blondie exploding with flavour. They are not the least bit cakey, and they have that slightly underbaked quality that I, for one, love. But tread lightly, as these ain’t no sissy blondies. They are intensely walnutty and as such, might not be for everyone. I doubt my kids will like them and that is just fine by me, I can keep them all for myself. I made a half-batch as a test and I wish I’d made more because I love them. LOVE THEM!

And with walnut meal, walnut oil and chopped walnuts, just think of all the heart-healthy fats in these! You simply have no excuse not to make these. No excuse whatsoever.

Walnut Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chunks

1 1/2 cup walnuts, divided
1 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup toasted walnut oil (you could use melted butter if absolutely necessary!)
1/2 cup granulated erythritol
2 tsp vanilla
10 drops stevia extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup low carb chocolate chips (I make my own, see recipe here, but you can buy them or chop up an 85% cacao Lindt chocolate bar)

Preheat oven to 325F and grease an 8×8 pan. Line with parchment paper and grease paper.

Chop and toast 1/2 cup of walnuts. Set aside.

Grind remaining walnuts until they resemble a coarse meal. Combine ground walnuts, almond meal and xanthan gum in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, combine walnut oil, erythritol, vanilla and stevia. Stir in walnut/almond mixture. Add beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. Stir in toasted, chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. The edges will be slightly browned and the center will be slightly firm to the touch.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Serves 20. Each serving has 8.8g total carbs (this varies slightly depending on what chocolate you use), but only 4.5g if you subtract erythritol.

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Comments

  1. These look so delicious! What a great recipe!

  2. Fabulous job. These look wonderful. I love it when I can hold up a brownie and say…no no this is good for me….really….mine!

  3. Imwaytoobusy says:

    I would take some "freaking good" walnut blondies any day! They look delicious! By the way, that photo triggered an intense craving for cookies and milk. Great work!

  4. Those are making my mouth water. What agreat recipe and picture!

  5. Kimberly Peterson says:

    These look soo yummy I just want to dip it in that milk and NOM!

  6. Pretend Chef says:

    I would love to be a child growing up under your roof being told that it's okay to eat brownies because they are loaded with heart healthy good for you ingredients! They look so good, um excuse me, freaking good! Haha! Those would most likely be the words that come out of my mouth as well.

  7. Torviewtoronto says:

    Thank you Carolyn
    blondies look delicious chocolates in it yummy

  8. Yum, I like things that are freaking good (smile). And these do look like they are, Carolyn! It's funny, b/c I always crave blondies at this time of year. I guess I associate them with Christmas or something…
    p.s. I love walnuts too, but they do put a funny coating on my tongue. Maybe I'm slightly allergic…?

  9. I love the nutty personalities you describe… so true! These blondies look delicious!

  10. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says:

    Those look absolutely delicious! Walnut & dark chocolate is definitely a yummy combo ;).

  11. moowiesqrd says:

    Yum… and expletives are always ok with me. :) I've been looking for great gluten-free snack recipes to send to a friend, so I just might try these!

  12. love it!!

  13. Lauren at KeepItSweet says:

    these look great! i'll have to share this recipe with my gfree sister

  14. i LOVE walnuts. They the black sheep of the nuts, but so am I haha! So happy these turned out well for you. Yes, please may I have the sugar equivalants, bitte, danke meine freund :)

  15. Spicie Foodie says:

    Carolyn, I can see why you love-love these Blondies. They sounds so good! I love your ode to the walnut, so cute :) Thanks for signing up to this month's roundup.

  16. krissy @ thefoodaddicts.com says:

    a stack of goodies! you can see all of the different colors and textures in that blondie. yum.

  17. Mags @ the Other Side of 50 says:

    You love me, you really love me! (I'm a walnut)

    These blondies looks fabulous!

  18. Carolyn!! You are definitetly my new low carb gluten free gal.. I love the recipes and will be trying lots of them for sure..B

  19. Wow,che vera golosità questi dolcetti Cara!!!!!
    Buonissimi oltre che belli anche da vedere..:-)
    Bravissima e buon sabato a prest!!! :-***

  20. Those look great, Carolyn!!! Mmmmmmm….

  21. First of all, your use of fake expletives is always excused, especially when they do indeed look freaking good!

  22. I appriciate that these are heart healthy! They look absolutely delicious! All chock full of goodies!

  23. I think I may be a cross between an almond and a walnut! Haha, love these descriptions but digging the look of these fab blondies even more!

  24. Sugar Free Low Carb says:

    I love your comparisons of the nuts to people. I've always been somewhat of a walnut. I'll be trying these soon.

  25. sweetpeaskitchen.com says:

    These look great! My mom is on a low carb diet…I think I will make these for her Thanksgiving dessert! Thanks for sharing! :)

  26. Hi!
    Just to let you know that little award is waiting for you at my blog!

  27. Amy Bakes Everything says:

    I love love love blondies! These sound incredible!

  28. Fabulous blog, Carolyn! I've added you to my favorite blogs. Hope you have a wonderful low-carb Thanksgiving! :)

  29. I love these! They look so chewy and nutty, yum.

  30. I have a confession to make. I've never made blondies before. But, I love walnuts, too. As noted by the gigantic tin of fresh walnuts sitting in my kitchen just waiting for a good crackin'.

    BTW, I loved your perspectives on the various nut varieties. I seriously laughed out loud. Thanks for the giggles. And awesome recipe!!

  31. Susan: My Food Obsession says:

    These Blondies look fantastic! I'll be passing this onto my Gluten Intolerant Mum-In_Law.

  32. Emily @ For Sweets Sake says:

    yum! I love blondies! They look great!

  33. sara @ CaffeIna says:

    I'm always happy to find great gluten free recipes on your blog Carolyn! I feel I am not experimenting in this field enough yet and I'm not blogging about them. I should really get started. Thanks for sharing this one. Everybody loves blondies and everybody deserves them :)

  34. I made these, and the flavor is REALLY good. But I noticed that when I took the pan out of the oven, some the oil was pooling around the edges of the pan, and I had to blot it, so it clearly wasn't absorbed by the walnut and almond meal. I think they would have been much more moist if the oil hadn't separated/not been absorbed. Any ideas how to address this, or why it happened?

  35. Hi Donna – hmmm, I am not sure what happened there. Mine did not pool, although the sides of the pan were definitely oily after I'd removed the blondies. Did you use the same sweeteners as I did, in the same amounts? I've noticed that if I use xylitol in the same amount a regular recipe would use sugar (say 1 cup or so), that any oil or butter leaches out during baking.
    Two possible solutions…cut back on the erythritol/xylitol if that's what you are using and add more stevia instead. Also, you might try lining the pan with parchment paper. I've noticed that my darker non-stick baking pans bake differently than lighter coloured metal, so it might be the baking pan and using parchment would help.

    • I made these today with the same ingredients as well. The oil pooled on my brownies also and the blondes themselves were very oily to the touch :( I’m not sure what could have happened. Definitely gonna try again.

      • To get a gooey consistency, you will get some oil pooling. If you leave them and let them cool in the pan, it should re-absorb.

  36. Thanks, Carolyn. When I bake a recipe for the first time, I always follow the recipe exactly as written. So the sweeteners were the same, and in the same proportions. My pan was not metal or glass, though – I use a silicone baking pan, which I really love both for ease of removing baked goods and for ease of cleanup. Maybe a metal pan would have worked better. I will give that a try.

  37. Donna, I hope you come back and let me know what happens. I am truly curious why your oil leached out and mine did not. One further thought…I removed mine from the pan before they were truly cooled. I don't know if that would make a difference?

  38. These sounds and look soooooo good! All the richness and flavor without the sugar crash. :) Thanks for sharing – I love your style of baking Carolyn!

  39. These look fab. I love the idea of baking with walnut oil. thanks for the recipe.

  40. Carolyn -

    A quick update. I made another recipe, your Cranberry Bliss Bars, and the same thing happened – there was a rim of melted butter around the edge of the pan. This time, though, I let the pan sit out on the stove for a couple of hours, and the oil soaked back into the cake, so I think that would work with this recipe as well. I don't know why it happened, but at least I know how to resolve the issue! :)

  41. Catherine H. says:

    I love these! I made a batch with a few substitutions–some Splenda (because I'm running low on my sugar alcohols) and plain walnut oil rather than toasted–which I really regret because I'm sure the added layer of flavor would have been excellent. Neverthless, these were fantastic. I would say for me there was still a tiny bit of a cakey texture, but not at all unpleasant–very good mouthfeel, in fact. I also used a Ghirardelli 72% dark chocolate bar for the chocolate chunks. I got the same pooling oil issue that Donna did, but I just let the blondies sit for a time and it re-absorbed just fine. These will remain a favorite for sure!

  42. Edith Patchan says:

    So when you said walnut meal in the beginning you meant almond meal like the recipe indicates? I was bummed out for a minute since walnut meal is hard to make! lol

  43. Beverly says:

    I love chewy Blondies and this recipe looks like my kind of Blondie. Carolyn, your recipes are outstanding. Please forgive me if I tinker with this recipe just a bit by using half browned butter and half toasted walnut oil and using English Toffee Stevia. Would it be overkill to put a drizzle of Sugar Free Caramel sauce on the plate when serving? :-)

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  1. [...] almond extract works well) which my husband immediately declared a keeper. And this weekend I made Walnut Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chunks to fortify us on our hike. We ate them all in 24 [...]

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