These Brown Butter Apple Blondies Will Upstage Any Brownie At The Bake Sale

If you’re not already on the brown butter train, these blondies will have you on board in two seconds flat. Filled with tender apples and drizzled with a creamy brown butter frosting, these brown butter blondies are the definition of an irresistible packable treat.

The brown butter:
Brown butter is simply butter that’s been melted on the stove and cooked until the water evaporates and the milk solids within the butter caramelize. This isn’t difficult to do—all you need is a small pot and a heatproof rubber spatula—but it can feel a little nerve-wracking if you’ve never done it before. Never fear. Follow these tips and you’ll have nothing to worry about:

—Cube the butter. When making brown butter, it’s important to get all the butter to melt as evenly as possible, so it can all start browning at the same time. Chopping the butter into 1/2" cubes before adding it to the pot means it will melt quicker, resulting in more even browning.
—Stir constantly.
Stirring the butter as it’s melting will help it melt faster (see above!). Once the melted butter begins to simmer and brown, stirring will also help distribute the heat around the pan, eliminating hot spots and preventing the solids from settling on the sides and the bottom and burning.
—Use a large metal spoon to check the color.
Because the butter foams as it browns, it can be difficult to see the color of the milk solids just by looking down into the pot. To get a better gauge, keep a large metal spoon nearby so you can lift some butter out of the pot periodically and check the color. Then you’ll know when it’s perfectly browned and good to go.
—Have a bowl ready.
Once the butter has reached that ideal chestnut brown, you need to transfer it immediately to another bowl to stop the cooking process; otherwise, the butter will continue browning as it sits in the pot, and eventually burn. Brown butter is amazing. Burned butter is…burned.

The apples:
Briefly cooking the apples in a pan prevents them from leaching extra moisture in the batter and causing soggy blondies. Be careful not to cook them down too much, though: You don’t want the apple to turn brown or become mushy. In testing, I used Honeycrisp apples, but you could use Pink Lady, Fuji, or any other tart and crisp variety you happen to have. I also kept the skins on, because I like the additional color they provide (and also because peeling felt like an unnecessary extra step); but if the skins bother you, feel free to peel the apples before chopping.

Storage:
If you want to make these blondies the day before you’re planning to serve them, they can be stored in the baking dish, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. In that case, I recommend waiting to glaze them until the day you’re planning to cut and serve them. Once glazed and cut, these blondies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. They can also be frozen for up to 1 month.

Made these? Let me know how it went in the comments below.

Yields: 15-18 servings

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 c.

    plus 4 Tbsp. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided

  • 12 oz.

    chopped apples (about 3 c.; from about 1 1/2 apples)

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 3/4 c.

    (350 g.) packed light brown sugar

  • 2 1/4 tsp.

    pure vanilla extract, divided

  • 1 1/8 tsp.

    kosher salt, divided

  • 2

    large eggs, room temperature

  • 1/2 tsp.

    baking soda

  • 2 c.

    (240 g.) all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 c.

    (90 g.) confectioners' sugar

  • 2 tbsp.

    whole milk

Directions

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, melt 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter. Continue to cook, stirring or swirling constantly, until milk solids in bottom of pot are deeply golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. (Butter will foam, so if needed, lift solids with a spoon from bottom of pot and check.)

  2. Pour browned butter into a large heatproof bowl, making sure to scrape browned solids from bottom and sides of pot. Let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add apples and cook, stirring frequently, until fork-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13" x 9" pan with cooking spray and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on 2 long opposite sides.

  5. Transfer 2 tablespoons brown butter to a small bowl; set aside. To remaining brown butter, add brown sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1 teaspoon salt and whisk until smooth. Whisk in eggs, then add baking soda and whisk just until distributed. Using a rubber spatula, fold in flour just until combined. Fold in apples. Dollop dough into prepared pan; smooth in an even layer (it will be stiff).

  6. Bake blondies until just golden brown around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Using parchment overhang, lift blondies out of pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

  7. To bowl with reserved brown butter, add confectioners’ sugar, milk, a pinch of salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk until glaze is a thick, pourable consistency.

  8. Drizzle glaze over cooled blondies. Let set to let glaze harden, about 5 minutes, then cut into bars.

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