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
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 —The Editors