We had a family get together at my Aunt Mary’s house last weekend. Because I didn’t want her to have to make all of the food herself (although she would have…she’s a great cook, too) I offered to make a warm dish and a sweet.
For the warm dish, I made my lasagna. I make lasagna quite often now, because I am involved with this organization called Lasagna Love – it’s a great group…you should check them out. Sometimes I use meat, but for this party, I made the meatless version…and didn’t tell anyone it was vegetarian. Is that bad? Well, the lasagna was the first thing on the food table to be emptied, so I guess by those standards it was a success.
For the sweet thing, I decided to make blondies. I like the idea for these Kitchen Sink Blondies because I often have a bunch of partial bags of different kinds of baking chips in my cupboard. Except the semi-sweet chocolate ones. I always need to buy more of those because my daughter Ally loves them by the handful. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
But I love this recipe because you can literally use anything you have in your cupboard. I’ve used semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, heath bar pieces, candy of various kinds, pecans, walnuts, almonds, coconut…if it’s in my cupboard, it has gone into these blondies at one time or another. That’s why this is such a great recipe!
I’ve been making a bunch of versions of this recipe for years. If I kept track of things like my Grandma Barbara (“Grammy Babs”) did, I would have at least 6 recipe cards for this. It has definitely been a work in progress.
But I think I finally found the answer. Brown butter.
Yeah…there is something that the rich, nutty taste of brown butter brings to baked goods that makes my heart – and tastebuds – happy. I’m surprised I haven’t thought of it before.
In theory, making brown butter is simple. You melt butter in a pan and cook it until it begins to brown. Simple right?
But in reality, you have to be very careful. It needs to be at that nice, golden brown point, with some bits of brown on the bottom of the pan, to be ready. But it’s really easy to miss this point and then you’ll have burned butter. Not so great for blondies…or anything.
So here’s the trick. Melt your butter in a small pan over medium heat. If the heat is too high, that’s a recipe for disaster. After your butter melts, it will start to foam and bubble. That’s good. You want that. But the bubbles also make it more difficult to tell when it’s done. So keep a close eye on it, stir it frequently, and let it cook for 4-6 minutes. When the color has turned from butter yellow to golden brown, it smells a bit nutty, and there are a few brown bits on the bottom of your pan, it’s done.
Please note that it took me a few tries to get this right.
Otherwise, this recipe is pretty simple and easy to prepare. Here are a few tips.
- If you are not confident with your butter browning technique, just melt the butter and add it. Don’t stress about it.
- I definitely recommend toasting the nuts. Again, you don’t have to, but I like the taste of toasted nuts much more.
- Don’t mix too much. Too much mixing doesn’t make it better.
- Don’t overbake. I can’t stress this enough. You want to bake until the center looks “set” and not “wet”. But they will be moist. That’s what you want.
- Resist the urge to cut right into them. Let them cool for at least an hour…more is better. Trust me…it’s worth the wait.
That’s it. Easy, right?
If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how it came out. I’d love to hear from you. Follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook for more stories and recipes from my family table to yours.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Brown Butter Blondies
- 1 cup unsalted butter – if you use salted butter, omit salt from the recipe
- 1 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1 c. white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 c. flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 ½ cups mixed chips
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking pan with parchment or foil. Spray any side of the pan that is not covered with baking spray.
- Brown butter. In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter and cook until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, as butter can turn from brown to burnt very quickly. Pour butter into mixing bowl and let cool slightly.
- In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Cream butter and sugars together in a mixing bowl until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.
- Slowly mix flour mixture into batter until combined. Fold in chip and nuts.
- Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center looks set. Do not overbake.
- Cool for at least 1 hour before cutting.