Brown Butter Bourbon Blondies

If the combination of brown butter, bourbon and blondie doesn’t entice you, I don’t know what will. 

Brown Butter Bourbon Blondies: A blonde version of everyone's favorite brownie with a twist.

The Blondie is an intriguing bar. It isn’t quite a brownie, nor is it an ordinary chocolate chip cookie. But it has inherited the best characteristics of each. Unlike its darker cousin, the Blondie isn’t defined by its chocolatey-ness (though obviously that is an important factor). You do have a little more leeway with the flavor combination. What blondies and brownies do share in common is their chewy, fudgy texture. Blondies resemble the flavor combination of cookies- a caramel infused, salty-sweet batter speckled with puddles of chocolate, but they lack the texture of a chocolate chip cookie- primarily the crisp exterior. In short, blondies are a hybrid of both, chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Where one lacks, the other compensates.

Brown Butter Bourbon Blondies: A blonde version of everyone's favorite brownie with a twist.

I like to use brown butter when I make blondies. It’s pretty self-explanatory- brown butter has a nutty aroma and a rich caramel flavor, so it has far more to offer than regular old melted butter. Paired with brown sugar, you’ve got the ultimate flavor combo for the base of these blondies.

I also like to infuse the batter with several tablespoons of bourbon. Whisky is great too- I love the paring of whisky, chocolate and caramel (hence the Whisky Salted Caramel Truffles were born). The bourbon adds a nice kick at the end, but it’s super subtle (only 3 tbsp). For a deeper bourbon flavor, I would double the amount of alcohol- it makes the blondies gooier- but oh, so good.

Brown Butter Bourbon Blondies: A blonde version of everyone's favorite brownie with a twist.

Obviously, you do need chocolate in here to counter the sweetness of the batter. I use a combination of milk and dark chocolate chips. It’s important to use a good quality chocolate chip – or bar of chocolate if you’re planning to chop it up.

These blondies are easily customizable in that you can use whatever kind of chocolate you like. In addition, it isn’t necessary that you add bourbon – but if you’re omitting the alcohol, reduce the flour by 1/4 cup. I’ve also made these with less sugar- you could add anywhere between 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar. Though keep in mind that the less sugar you add, the less crackly that blondie exterior will be. I like to use only brown sugar in making these, but a combination of brown and regular – or even just regular, would be fine too. You can add in whatever else you’d like– dried fruit, any sort of nut (I like pecans or walnuts), chopped up Oreos, M&Ms -be creative! The bourbon and brown butter combination is my take on a pretty classic recipe.

Brown Butter Bourbon Blondies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200 g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tbsp (45-60 mL) bourbon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (160 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½- ¾ cup (100 g) chopped nuts such as pecans (optional)
  • ¾-1 cup (170 g) chocolate chunks or chips of your choice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line an 8 inch square or 11 by 7 inch rectangular pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and let it melt, bubble and foam. Swirl the pan to keep the butter moving, until it turns a deep golden brown color and dark brown specks begin to appear on the surface. Then cool completely.
  3. To the cooled brown butter, add the brown sugar, followed by the egg, vanilla extract and bourbon.
  4. Next add all the dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, flour) and stir until well-combined.
  5. Fold in the nuts, chocolate and any other extras you wish to add.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and set. For a chewier, gooier blondie, bake the dish for just over 20 minutes. For a crisper, firmer blondie, bake for closer to 30 min.
  7. These can be served as a snack, or for a decadent dessert, warm them up, then top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Also note that for a non-alcoholic version, you can omit the booze altogether and reduce the flour to 1 cup (125 g).
  • If you are leaving out the alcohol, make sure to reduce the amount of flour by 1/4 cup. You can also reduce the amount of sugar by 2-4 tbsp.
Adapted from Phyllis Grant's recipe on Food52

Brown Butter Bourbon Blondies: A blonde version of everyone's favorite brownie with a twist.