Have you tried brown butter in recipes? It adds a great nutty, toasty flavour to any recipe you add to – cake, blondies, cookies, or even savoury dishes like pasta. In French cooking, they call it ‘beurre noisette‘ deriving from the toasty hazelnut-like smell it has.
In this brown butter blondies recipe, the combination of brown butter and brown sugar adds a soft caramelly centre which adds to the butterscotch-like flavours of these regular blondies. The addition of almonds (or pecans or walnuts) gives a nice crunch.
So is it difficult to make brown butter? No! All you need is some butter, a pan and a heatproof spatula with about 10 minutes in hand.
What happens when butter is heated? Simply put, butter is milk proteins, fat & water. When you heat the butter, the water starts to evaporate (thus intensifying the flavour) and the milk proteins start to brown and caramelize.
The recipe contains two batters – the blondie batter and brown butter batter (tongue twister anyone? 😀 )
The process of putting the two batters into the pan might seem complex and the blondie batter is a little dry so not easy to spread, but it doesn’t have to be perfect – all get baked together nicely. It may also seem the layer is thin when spreading it on the pan, but it bakes up to a good height (about 1″ filling up the pan height). Don’t overbake it, as they firm up as they cool down (slightly underbaked by couple minutes is actually a good idea here).
Depending on how small or large you cut the pieces, this recipe gives 24-36 blondies. I am using a 13″x9″ pan, you can also halve the recipe to make it into an 8″ square pan.
Serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some homemade caramel sauce. Yum!
Brown Butter Batter
113g unsalted butter
150g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
300g all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
227g unsalted butter softened at room temperature
300g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1½ cup almonds, lightly toasted and chopped coarsely
Brown Butter Batter
1.First, make the brown butter. Keep a small bowl/mug with a strainer ready on the side. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over low-medium heat while stirring occasionally. For the initial few minutes, it’ll bubble and foam a lot as the water in butter evaporates. Only after it reaches the temperature where most water is gone, the milk solids will start to brown and you’ll start seeing small brown flecks at the bottom. Once you’re happy with the browning (neither light nor burnt), remove the pan from the heat and strain the liquid into your bowl to catch the brown bits. Let the liquid cool down slightly for about 5-10 minutes.
2. Add the egg, vanilla and brown sugar and beat them with a whisk till well combined and you see a ribbon form. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Fold in the flour until just combined. Keep it aside.
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 13″x9″ sheet with parchment paper and butter the sides and corners.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Keep it aside.
In your stand mixer with paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer), beat the butter and brown sugar for 5 minutes till it gets light and fluffy. Add the eggs one a time and beat just until combined. Add the vanilla and mix.
3. Mix the flour in at the lowest speed until no dry flour remains. Add half of the chopped almonds and mix.
Assembly & Baking
1. Spread about 3/4 of the blondie batter into the baking pan. It might be a little dry batter and using an offset spatula (something like this) helps to spread it evenly. It might be a thin layer but that’s okay.
2. Dollop the brown butter mixture on top of the layer and spread the remaining blondie batter in between the dollops. Spread as much as possible (doesn’t matter if the batters mix in, it all bakes out fine).
3. Bake the blondies for about 27-30 minutes – it’ll be golden brown and firm (though the toothpick test might not come clean due to the caramel ribbon). Remove from oven and let the blondie cool inside the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely over a wire rack.
4. Ensure the blondie is completely cooled down before cutting into slices – as big or small as you like them to be.
5. These stay good for about a week at room temperature stored in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
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