Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8- x 8-inch baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides.
Make the maple glazed walnuts: In a small sauté pan, heat the walnuts, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the nuts are glazed, lightly toasted, and the bottom of the pan looks dry, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. When the nuts have cooled, coarsely chop them.
Make the batter: In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, egg, bourbon (if using), and vanilla. Whisk until the batter is smooth. Stir in the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg until everything is just combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle the glazed walnuts evenly over the top of the batter.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the bars are just starting to brown at the edges. They should seem slightly underbaked and will firm up as they cool.
Sprinkle the blondies lightly with sea salt flakes (if using), then allow to cool to room temperature in the pan. When the blondies are completely cool, remove from the pan using the parchment paper and cut into squares.
Chill the blondies for optimal chewiness and flavor. Serve and enjoy!
You can substitute another nut for the walnuts. Pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts all would be especially good.Maple syrup is a great flavor on its own, but when baking it's best to use a robust (dark) grade of syrup in order for the flavor to shine over the other ingredients. I look for the Grade A Dark Amber myself, but use what you like.I like the spicy flavor the bourbon brings to the batter, but you can leave it out if you prefer. The alcohol does bake out, so this recipe is kid-friendly.Make sure to under-bake these blondies slightly by taking them out just before they’re fully baked. The blondies will firm up a bit as they cool and will have a soft and chewy texture.You may notice in the video the binder clips attached to the sides of the pan. Those help to keep the parchment paper from falling into the batter as it's being baked. Cool tip, huh!