Brown Butter Blondies

December 2, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Inspired by Mark Bittman’s recipe for Butterscotch Brownies from “How to Cook Everything.” This recipe makes enough to get you through a long hard weekend. If you cut the blondies into 1-inch squares, you have enough treats to bring to a holiday party. If you cut them into larger squares and top them with vanilla bean ice cream, you have enough to feed 9 people a very rich dessert.

It might take a few experimental rounds, but you can use this template to create your very own perfect blondies. I cook mine for at least 25 minutes. I like them dense and gooey, almost like a square of raw chocolate chip cookie dough with a crunchy top. But you can cook them a bit longer for a cakier version.

I don’t mess with the amount of butter, flour, or eggs. But all the other ingredients are changeable.

Add anywhere from 1 to 2 cups brown sugar. The more sugar you add, the crunchier the top becomes (a good thing!). But to some, a full 2 cups can be sickly sweet.

If you stir the chocolate chips in while the dough is still warm, you will get a marbled effect. Quite cool. But you can prevent this by completely cooling the melted brown butter before making the dough.

I recommend 1 cup of chocolate chips. But my daughter loves it with 2 cups because the top is like a blondie while the inside looks and tastes almost like a brownie. Super crazy town rich. Watch out.

I’m liking a heaping teaspoon of kosher salt. But you can cut it down to a 1/2 teaspoon and sprinkle an additional 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt on top of the dough before baking.

You can add 1 cup of any kind of chopped and toasted nuts, chopped dried apricots, white chocolate and/or butterscotch chips, rosemary, thyme. Play.
Phyllis Grant

Serves: 9
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 34 min


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons good-quality vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar (light brown is a good second choice)
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
In This Recipe


  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Swirl it around a few times. It will foam and spatter. After 3 to 4 minutes, it will start to smell nutty. Don’t walk away. It’s ready when the sizzling quiets down and you see little brown bits drop to the bottom of the pan. Pour into a large bowl. Cool completely (about 30 minutes). Alternatively, if you want a blondie marbled with chocolate, cool butter for only 5 minutes and proceed with the recipe. The warm dough will melt the chocolate chips a bit.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F. Prepare your 8 by 8-inch baking pan with butter and flour, parchment paper, or aluminum foil (I find foil to be the easiest: just press it into the pan with a little overhang, no need to grease). Set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. Add brown sugar to the cooled butter. Mix with a wooden spoon for about a minute.
  5. Add egg/vanilla mixture to butter/sugar mixture. Mix until combined and shiny, about 20 seconds.
  6. Add flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Mix until there are still a few pockets of flour visible. Add chocolate chips. Mix until evenly distributed and all flour pockets are gone, but be careful not to over-mix! Spoon dough into your prepared baking pan. Spread evenly with the back of your wooden spoon (it will keep its shape). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. You can’t do the toothpick test with this because it always comes out clean. Instead, look for a crispy top that's just starting to crack. Firm slightly-browned edges. And when you press on the center, you don’t want it to feel really soft. Don't stress. You can always throw it back in later. Just know that once it's cool, it will firm up quite a bit. And once frozen, it is dreamy in all forms.
  7. Remove from the oven. Cool completely before removing from the pan. The blondie block should pop right out (either pull out by parchment/alumninum foil or if in a greased pan, just invert onto a cutting board and carefully flip it back over). Cut into desired portion sizes. These keep for a few days at room temperature in an airtight container. Or you can freeze them for a few months.

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Reviews (98) Questions (0)

98 Reviews

Persephone L. October 14, 2018
This was yum but just ended up as a giant cookie, next time I would halve the flour! I think it depends on how long you brown your butter for, I let mine get very dark brown on the bottom and the flavour was incredible in the finished product (it took about 5 minutes, I don't understand why people say it takes a long time? Crank that heat up!) But that also means all of the water etc evaporated I guess. Would be good for the recipe to provide a volume for how much browned butter you should end up with.
zoumonkie December 14, 2018
Dark brown is burnt butter not brown butter. Throw it out, turn down the heat, and start over
Persephone L. December 14, 2018
It was really delicious, and was not burnt, why the hell would I throw it out?? Less caramelization equals less flavor. Also the temperature doesn't make a difference, it's stages of caramelization so a lower heat will just take longer to reach the same point.
zoumonkie December 14, 2018
Butter doesn’t caramelize; it burns. Burnt butter blondies taste like burnt butter.
Persephone L. December 14, 2018
I don't know what you think is slowly turning brown then, but it's the milk solids in the butter that caramelize. And dude, I ate them, did you?? They weren't burnt. Your arrogance astounds me.
zoumonkie December 14, 2018
It’s hard to help a girl who thinks she can fry powdered eggs. Sorry, have a wonderful life.
Persephone L. December 14, 2018
Aww it's hard arguing with logic sometimes isn't it sweetie.
zoumonkie December 15, 2018
We are at an impasse. As I said I'm trying to help; as you said you're trying to argue.
estelle September 26, 2018
This is one of my very favorite dessert recipes ever. It is FABULOUS! I make it often for my adult children and their friends and everyone loves it. And its super easy. I never let the butter cool all the way and it doesn't matter. I have never really gotten the butter to brown after quite a while on the stove and then I give up and just use the butter as is. I guess I am afraid to burn it. The salt in the recipe is fabulous and just makes it! Finding wonderful recipes like this is why I love trying new just never know when you can find something truly amazing. Thank you!
Gayatri September 20, 2018
I have two questions about this recipe, which I first saw on Smitten Kitchen but the proportions are basically the same. I reduced the sugar by about 1/4 cup because I find blondies too sweet most of the time. I also added 1/4 cup peanut butter. I didn't get a flaky crust on top, are these changes the reason? There's a certain amount of flakiness, but it doesn't look nice and even. Second, is it normal to have the batter look really shiny and greasy and have butter leaking out? I'm not sure what happened here. Any advice appreciated!
zoumonkie September 20, 2018
Make peanut butter cookies instead or eplace the 1/4 of sugar with more chocolate chips. Keep everything the same except replace semi-sweet with dark chocolate chips.
Persephone L. October 14, 2018
I don't know if it's true or not, but I've heard that you get more flakiness by beating the mixture well right after the eggs added. <br />With the butter leaking out I think it's related to how long you brown it for, mine ended up being very stiff and dry!
Luciana December 14, 2018
Your mods added additional fat (PB) and reduced one of the elements (sugar) that would have absorbed/blended with the existing fat in original recipe and more fat from PB. That's where your grease problem came in. The adjustments in these elements likely impacted the chemistry that created a flaky crust in the original, as well.
Rupa February 16, 2018
This is my go-to dessert and I've made it more times than I can count. The ratio of effort (low) to deliciousness (high) makes it the perfect kind of recipe. I never wait for the butter to cool before preceding with the rest of the recipe - the marbled results from adding the chocolate chips to warm batter are just too lovely.
Author Comment
Phyllis G. February 20, 2018
This makes me very happy! I feel exactly the same way. And I LOVE the raw batter.
JESSICA S. October 19, 2017
I am so thankful for this recipe and my kids love it. It does take a while for butter to brown, but it’s worth it. I don’t wait for the butter to cool and I mix all in one bowl - butter & sugar, then salt, eggs, vanilla, flour, and finally chips. By the time I add the chips the batter is lukewarm, if that, so no melting. Yum!!!
Patti B. May 23, 2017
These are, hands down, among my family's favorite dessert. The hardest part about making them is waiting for the butter to brown (because that browned nutty-goodness is what makes them so good!). I never wait for the butter to cool all the way as I'm not patient, and I've been known to stick the pan in the freezer so I can cut into them sooner (otherwise, they're really gooey and delicious, but messy).
Rebecca M. April 27, 2017
These turned out perfectly! I followed the recipe as is and love the result. I will definitely be making these gooey blondies again.
_Tamarind_ February 10, 2017
This recipe doesn't work at all. I had to pour probably a 1/4 cup of excess butter out of the pan after 40 minutes in the oven to try to get them to bake.
marianna October 6, 2016
I made these - absolutely delicious - but I had excess butter around the pan. Did I not let the butter brown enough? Was the butter supposed to reduce in the browning process? Thanks for the recipe!
Megan M. August 15, 2016
When I tasted these fresh (mostly cooled from the oven), I thought they were really just ok. BUT THE NEXT DAY they transformed into toffee chocolatey deliciousness that my family and I couldn't stop eating. I did everything according to the recipe with the exception of using semisweet chocolate chips instead of bittersweet (what I had on hand/family preference). I highly recommend baking these and letting them sit in an airtight container overnight before enjoying yourself or gifting to others.
Megan M. August 15, 2016
Whoops- I also halved the vanilla
Jade G. August 4, 2016
I made these this week -- what a disaster! After using expensive chips and following the recipe, the result was gray, hard and unappetizing. I should have guessed when the dough didn't taste as good as regular cookie/ blondie dough.<br />Perhaps I baked too long, though 30 minutes is suggested. The butter was still bubbling around the outside of the pan, so who would guess?<br />After such disappointment I'll stick with the regular blondies, where butter is creamed with sugar.
zoumonkie August 4, 2016
You must have used rotten eggs. Put your eggs in water. If they float, throw them out. Use fresh eggs next time.
Lisa May 9, 2016
These were delicious! You mention freezing them. Do you thaw and eat or eat them frozen?
Susan W. May 9, 2016
Hopefully Phyllis will chime in, but I freeze them all the time. They are good right out of the freezer or thawed. It depends how patient I am at the time. :)
Lisa May 9, 2016
Thank you!
Yvette May 4, 2016
I also keep going back to make this recipe again and again. So good.
gabby March 20, 2016
Made these Thursday night, shared them at work on Friday. I'd cut them into 1-inch cubes which seemed like a good idea. Until friends said they were the perfect size for mindlessly popping in their mouths. All gone! :)<br /><br />Used 1C AP and 1C WW (out of AP); 1C chips, 1/2 Walnuts (on one side only). All the vanilla.
Jacob M. January 22, 2016
Unless you have really good vanilla, I'd probably half the amount in this recipe. Super vanilla-y as is
CandiceHope November 15, 2015
This is so good! My pet peeve with chocolate chip cookies is that I always prefer raw dough to the finished cookies. This tastes like perfect cookie dough with crisp edges. Fantabulous!
Monica J. November 12, 2015
Very rich and decadent. I might add bourbon next time, and maybe more salt (as I love salty sweet desserts)
Alina K. November 7, 2015
My batter for some reason was more like a cookie batter.....must be the flour. In any case it turned out great by tasted like a giant cookie. Will try again with less flour next time.
saramin September 1, 2015
I used 3 teaspoons of bourbon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. WHOA. Incredible!
Kimmy N. August 19, 2015
can I use the normal salt if i don't have the kosher salt?
Susan W. August 19, 2015
Yes. Maybe use 1/2-3/4 tsp if you are using regular table salt. Because it's finely ground, it takes less and is saltier.
Kimmy N. August 20, 2015
okay, thank you so much :)
KBec February 9, 2018
Hi Susan, you are correct in reducing the table salt measure due to finer grains, but just to clarify, all salt has the same sodium content. Table salt and most sea salts contain about 40 percent sodium by weight. Kosher salt and some sea salts may have larger crystal sizes than table salt, so they may have less sodium by volume (e.g., by teaspoon or tablespoon). Also, the main benefit of choosing more "natural" types of salt is that you avoid additives and anti-caking agents that are often added to regular table salt.