It’s approaching midnight on a Monday — a Monday! — and you’ll find me in the kitchen because there’s no sleep til brown butter. BLONDIES have been on my baking to-do list for some time now, making their way from one week’s post-it to the next. This craving/plan was kicked up a notch on a recent trip to Miami when we stopped for coffee and I ordered a butterscotchy and crumbly blondie that everyone kept stealing bites from. Blondies and coffee go together like PB & J.
I love anything with the nutty flavors of vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, bourbon, toffee. These blondies get a deep butterscotch flavor from the combined power of brown butter (a lot of it), toasted pecans, and dark brown sugar. The salty-sweet thing in desserts really does it for me too, so I topped off the blondies with flaky Maldon salt to bring out the flavors some more. Another thing to love about this recipe is that for your effort you get a lot of blondie. The batter fills a 13-by-9-inch baking dish rather than the usual 8-by-8.
Blondies also seemed perfect this week because today is the first day of autumn and it’s just starting to feel like something other than summer around here. Afternoon storms are still sticking around in a big way, but a rainy day in September isn’t so bad if you get a chance to bake something or catch up on a book. Things can get real cozy real fast. Our new place is feeling especially homey with a new (huge!) dining table, but the scent of blondies seals the deal. That’s what makes it feel like home. There will be a round two of blondies soon. Probably this weekend. Brown butter rules from now until January.
brown butter blondies with pecans
The combination of brown butter, deeply toasted nuts, and brown sugar make for an excellent blondie with deep butterscotch flavors. The butter and pecans require a couple more steps and effort but it is totally worth it in the end. I topped off the blondies with flaky Maldon salt to bring out that flavor some more. Another thing to love about this recipe is that for your effort you get a lot of blondie. The batter fills a 13-by-9-inch baking dish rather than an 8-by-8. Be sure not to overbake the blondies. This recipe for Butterscotch-Pecan Blondies is adapted just slightly from Chow. I changed the recipe name because I didn’t want you thinking this recipe called for butterscotch chips as many recipes do. The butterscotch flavor in this recipe is richer and more complex. I recommend serving them with good vanilla ice cream or coffee.
1 – 1 1/2 cups whole raw pecans or walnuts
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, broken into large pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Toast nuts until they are browned and smell nutty, 10-15 minutes. Check on them about halfway, toss, and be careful not to burn them.
Meanwhile, line a 13-by-9-inch glass or metal rectangular baking dish with aluminum foil.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. The butter will start to bubble, foam, and pop. Scrape the sides down occasionally with a rubber spatula and continue to cook butter until the color turns golden brown and you can see browned bits in the pan, about 10 minutes. The melted butter will be nutty and fragrant when it’s done. Immediately transfer the butter to a large heatproof bowl, making sure to scrape in the browned solids from the bottom of the pan. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Add the brown sugar to the browned butter and stir to combine. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Using the rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until just combined. The batter will be very thick. Do not overmix. Fold in the pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, push it to the edges, and smooth it into an even layer. Sprinkle over top lightly with flaky salt.
Bake until the edges are starting to brown and a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 30 torturous minutes.
To remove the blondies from the pan, grip the foil and pull it out of the baking pan. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 24 (2-inch) bars.