Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What is a Blondie?

Until this point, I have developed a few different takes on a blondie.  At first, I thought it was a brownie, without chocolate.  I thought it would be fudge-like and dense.  Then, I thought a blondie was really just a chocolate chip cookie in bar form.  It seemed like a blondie was a different dessert, with different textures, to different bakers.  So, what would my desired blondie texture be?

I thought blondies should take the crusty/crispy top of a brownie, the slightly softer center of a chocolate chip cookie, the fluffiness of a cake, the chewy edges of a brownie, and be its own dessert—not an ill comparison to other desserts.  Can all this exist in one humble dessert?  SPOILER ALERT—keep reading!

I earmarked a Browned Butter Blondie recipe weeks ago, but it was not on the top of my to-bake list.  I really just love almost anything with brown butter!  Sunday afternoon I wanted to bake a treat to take into the office the following morning.  I initially planned on making cookies, but with a kitchen at 88F before I even cut on the oven, I just did not feel like being stuck in the kitchen in and out of the oven every 13-15minutes!  I still wanted to bake though and thought making a bar would be the perfect solution.

I went through a few cookbooks and internet recipe prints outs before I remembered the earmarked recipe and my curiosity was re-peaked.  Best of all, I kind of had all the ingredients, or at least substitute ingredients that went well together, on hand.  I created Brown Butter Toffee Almond Coconut Blondies.  The toasted coconut really gives these blondies a little something extra flavor and texture wise.  It started as a filler because I did not have enough almonds, but after tasting it all together, it is a requirement (unless you are allergic or do not like it).  I used extra fine shredded unsweetened coconut; using of the normal sweetened shredded stuff might yield a less pleasing texture and the sweetness would be way too much.

These blondies were Oh, My Goodness, Awesome!  The texture was not like anything I have had before.  It was not brownie without chocolate; it was not a cookie in a bar form; it was a Blondie—a remarkable dessert in its own right.  The taste is subtle of brown butter and brown sugar.  You get a nice crunch from the almonds and a sweet little burst from the toffee bits.  Lastly, the coconut is almost undetectable, but it added a lusciousness and secret flavor.

Brown Butter Toffee Almond Coconut Blondies
Adapted from Recipe Girl


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) Butter
2 1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Salt
4 Large Eggs
2 cups Brown Sugar
1 TBS Vanilla Extract
1 cup Toffee Bits
1 cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
1 cup Almonds, sliced


1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Spray a 9x9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with parchment paper so that it covers the bottom and comes up the sides of the pan. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray as well.

2. Browning the butter: In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to heat the butter until it turns a deep golden brown.  You will notice foam on the top, brown golden particle on the bottom of the pan, and a nutty smell.  It will go from melted to browned butter quite quickly.  Keep an eye on it, so it does not burn.  Burnt browned butter is bitter.  Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and browned butter, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients, as needed.  

5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined.  Lastly, fold in the toffee bits, coconut, and almonds. Scrape/pour the batter into the prepared pan.

6. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let the bars cool to room temperature before removing from the pan and cutting.

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