Christmas

Brown Butter Blondies

April 24, 2021
4.4
50 Ratings
Photo by Phyllis Grant
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 34 minutes
  • Serves 9
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

Test Kitchen Notes

If you invite me to your birthday party, I am bringing these blondies. Same goes for a potluck, picnic, or holiday cookie swap. And, okay, sometimes I’ll bring them even if we’re just hanging out. They check every single box: They’re dead-simple to make, call for pantry-staple ingredients (such as all-purpose flour, eggs, and brown sugar), and I’ve never seen someone take a bite of one and *not* break into an enormous grin. Baking them will render any kitchen so redolent with nutty brown butter, you’ll wonder if you should start hawking it as a room spray. And they keep for literal months in the freezer. (I like to wrap them in parchment, then foil, so they don’t stick when defrosted.)

But let’s back up for a minute. I wasn’t always a fan of blondies. “You mean, less-fun brownies?” I’d think when I saw them in a bakery case. I’d encountered dry, boring ones—the stuff of stale synagogue sweets platters after a holiday service, or ill-executed bake sale contributions. And then I read Phyllis Grant’s recipe for these brown butter guys. She had me at “almost like a square of raw chocolate chip cookie dough with a crunchy top.” Before I knew what I was doing, I found myself paying for several pounds of butter at the grocery store down the block from my apartment, as if in a fugue state. Her description was totally accurate, of course. And these blondies are the furthest thing from a “less-fun” anything: They’re extra-caramelly, thanks to the browned butter and dark brown sugar. They have crisp, crackly tops. And they’re deeply steeped with vanilla flavor. You can play with the volume of dark chocolate chips, use milk chocolate instead, or chop up a few candy bars and toss those in. Dried fruit and nuts are fair game too. In fact, it’s hard to think of a mix-in that wouldn’t work.

You’ll see—when I bring them to your next birthday. —Ella Quittner

Watch This Recipe
Brown Butter Blondies
Ingredients
  • 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
Directions
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

133 Reviews

Mandy January 28, 2023
I had never made blondies before as i am a chocolate brownie fan through and through. After reading the reviews, I almost looked for a different recipe. I'm so glad I didn't. I followed the recipe as written with the addition of my homemade bourbon vanilla. They were a hit! They were not greasy as some put in the reviews. I didn't cut the sugar or vanilla. I actually doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9.5x 13.5 foil lined dish. I brought them to a birthday party at a restaurant (as requested). People were asking if I sell them! Thank you for the great recipe! They were delicious and i will make them again! 😊
 
Mandy January 28, 2023
I had never made blondies before as i am a chocolate brownie fan through and through. After reading the reviews, I almost looked for a different recipe. I'm so glad I didn't. I followed the recipe as written with the addition of my homemade bourbon vanilla. They were a hit! They were not greasy as some put in the reviews. I didn't cut the sugar or vanilla. I actually doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9.5x 13.5 foil lined dish. I brought them to a birthday party at a restaurant (as requested). People were asking if I sell them! Thank you for the great recipe! They were delicious and i will make them again! 😊
 
Karen October 8, 2022
These are a family faviorite and requested all the time! Make sure you brown the butter per the instrutions. This is what makes the blondies so wonderful. They are on the goey side but we like that. I cut the vanilla to 3 tsp and found that is better for our tastes - also you can try using vanilla bean paste I think that works very will and is more concentrated so you can use less. I also cut the salt down and put some Maldon sea salt flakes on top, this really elevates the blondies. I'm making them tonight!
 
Tracibakes March 5, 2022
Brown butter lends a great flavor but there is way too much butter and sugar in this recipe. The end result was basically an oily mess from all the butter. I would reduce the sugar and butter by at least 25% next time. I will also try adding some baking soda to help the texture.
 
KatyStC January 31, 2022
I saw the 4 teaspoons of vanilla and it gave me pause, but I have fancy pants vanilla (Nielsen Massey) so I went for it. The blondies had a bitter aftertaste that comes from too much vanilla, in my experience. I'm a well-versed butter browner so I don't think that's it. However, with so many rave reviews here I cant discount human error. If I try again I'll cut the vanilla in half though.
 
saramin February 1, 2022
Try 2 tsp of vanilla and 2 tsp whiskey/bourbon. ;-)
 
zoumonkie March 5, 2022
Follow the directions next time. If everyone else likes the recipe, you’re doing something wrong
 
Winnie November 30, 2022
Depending on altitude, humidity, barometric pressure, quality and chemistry of discrete ingredients, the types of pans being used, whether ovens and stove are gas or electric and the little heating quirks of various ovens and stoves, as well as many other factors that appear to be minutia but are not, two people in different geographical places can follow the recipe exactly and still come out with different results. What works for "everyone" might work for most people, but rarely truly works for everyone.
 
rk.lindsay April 24, 2021
Claudia R. L, 23 April 2021
A solid, rich, and delicious cookie in small bites. Be sure to follow Phyllis' directions for browning the butter, took longer for us as we used medium/low heat. These are perfect for sending to students for college care packages. I used 1/2 chocolate chips, 1/2 cup toffee bits, and decreased dark brown sugar to 1-1/2 cups. Freezing them works well also! Thank you Phyllis.
 
Corey B. April 11, 2021
These are good with vanilla ice cream, but by themselves, they are a little too dense and gooey for my tastes. A little baking powder might improve the texture.
 
Natalia J. March 13, 2021
Mhhhh maybe i did some kind of mistake, but didn't really turned out good to me. I would definetly lower the oven time or at temperature if you don't want them to end super crispy after cooling. Also, more sugar or less flour, if it wasn't because of the chocolate (which also didn't have enough) it didn't really taste sweet. This was my experinece with this recipe, although I might be the one who has done some kind of mistake lol since all the reviews are so good.. anyway maybe a lil less flour and more chocolate chips could do the trick
 
noa47 January 30, 2021
So good! I made a double batch in a 9x13 pyrex pan and had to bake it a bit longer – about 35 min in my convection oven. They're quite a bit thicker than the picture when you do it this way too, since 9x13 isn't exactly double 8x8. I'm not usually a blondie person but I had a craving and these were perfect!
 
Risa January 2, 2021
Overall okay, but this needed to be bakes far longer than 30 minutes, unless you like a very uncooked, raw like texture. I had mine in about 50, 60 minutes before it was no longer runny batter.
 
Jennifer M. December 24, 2020
These. Are. Amazing.
 
Mollie C. October 18, 2020
Insanely good and so easy. The brown butter just takes this to a new level! Can't wait to double the recipe next time to bring to a party.
 
Cassie S. July 31, 2020
I don't know how these have anything less than 5 stars. Everyone who tried them was obsessed. For reference, I followed the recipe exactly, except I swapped in roasted chopped pecans for the chocolate chips. I cooked for 30 minutes in aluminum foil and the texture after cooling completely was perfection. Definitely the best blondies I've ever had and maybe even one of the best desserts.
 
estelle July 23, 2020
This is one of my all time favorite recipes! I don't know how anyone can give these any less than 5 stars. I no longer care about brownies after making these. Add a fabulous chocolate fudge sauce and some vanilla Haagen-Dazs for the perfect dessert. I have made these many many times and my family goes crazy for them. They also travel very well in a suitcase. The only thing I have a challenge with is getting the butter to brown, but makes no difference to me because they are fabulous with butter that has not really browned. Maybe I am a coward and afraid to let the butter cook that long?
 
Lisa May 1, 2020
Oh my goodness! These are so amazing! It took me longer to get the butter to the right stage of brown, but gee I love these things! My first try at blondies and after searching for recipes, I finally decided on yours because of the brown butter. I added toasted pecans and I only used 1 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar. I made a great choice picking your recipe!! :)
 
Grace D. April 8, 2020
These are tasty, but soooo rich. My oven runs a little cool, so I cooked them for around 30 minutes, but ended up needing to leave them in for nearly 10 or so extra minutes to get the consistency I wanted, and ultimately they were still a bit more gooey than I'd hoped for. This was my bad-- the recipe doesn't call for any type of leavening agent, so I probably shouldn't have expected a cakey texture (just a little disclaimer for anyone thinking about trying these out!). Regardless, the flavor of these bars is wonderful!
 
zoumonkie July 23, 2020
More time is not a solution for a too cool oven. Buy an oven thermometer. Figure out what you have to set the oven at to get 350 on your new thermometer. You may have to set your oven at 360. You may need a new oven. Spend the extra money for a convection oven
 
Cassie S. July 31, 2020
Yes, good call out, these are definitely chewy, 0% cakey. But if you prefer that like I do, you'll be happy!
 
trysteroo March 29, 2020
Just made these and they were fantastic! Went exactly by the recipe (except I didn't have enough brown sugar, so I made due with 1 1/2 cups, which worked fine), baked for 25 min, and they came out perfect. I'd chose to make these over chocolate chip cookies any day -- the texture and richness is so satisfying.
 
Melanie March 13, 2020
So delicious! I added a handful of lightly toasted walnuts. Love to read the comments of all the the variations. 30 minutes was perfect, even though they appeared underdone. I gave them about 20 minutes to cool, so the first piece was still deliciously warm and gooey. Thanks for this recipe!
 
Katie March 1, 2020
I made these yesterday as a half-birthday treat for my husband. He loves s'mores and a local coffee shop makes a version of a blondie with marshmallows and chocolate, so I tried to replicate that. I cut about a half cup of sugar out of this recipe and added about 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs and pieces, plus about 2/3 cup chopped up marshmallow pieces, along with the chocolate. They were fantastic! Great recipe.
 
Mowse January 26, 2020
I made a batch of these earlier today for dessert tonight. Used a cup and a half of a mix of light and dark brown sugar, and added butterscotch chips. They are amazing. From now on this is my Blondie recipe. I love these so very much.
 
zoumonkie January 27, 2020
Butterscotch chips are like bacon. Everything is better with butterscotch chips even peanut butter cookies