Brown-butter Blondies


Whenever I crave sweets and want to bake something quickly, but don’t want to OD on chocolate, I make blondies. And when I think about making blondies, my train of thought goes to Blondie, which then goes to Heart of Glass, which is an audio parasite that immediately embeds itself into my brain for several days.

And now that will happen to you. You can thank me later.

But at least while Heart of Glass is circling its way through your head, you can be eating classic blondies. They satisfy the sweet tooth: sweet, chewy with a hit of chocolate and salt.

I’ve realized that the step that takes these to the next level is browning the butter. It gives the bars a richer, nuttier flavor. I add chopped pecans to complement the flavor, but you can leave them out if you choose. I use half white chocolate and half dark chocolate because it looks great, but you can substitute with all dark chocolate if you prefer, and which I sometimes do.

Classic Blondies
makes 16 bars

1 stick butter (110g, or ½ cup) (I use salted butter)
1 cup packed light brown sugar (220g)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour (140g)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (50g) white chocolate chunks
1/3 cup (50g) dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped pecans (60g) (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (170 C). Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil or parchment paper. This will make the bars easier to remove when you are ready to cut into them.
  2. Melt the butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue heating until it smells really nutty and fragrant and you start seeing browned bits of milk solids in the butter (be careful not to burn it).
  3. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar and allow to cool until just warm. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and whisk until combined. Stir in the chocolate and nuts.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes – be careful not to overbake, so they don’t dry out. The top should be shiny.
  6. Remove to a cooling rack. When it’s cooled to room temperature, remove from the pan and cut into squares.