I've honestly never had a blondie that I was "wow'd" by. (If you are not familiar with the "blondie" -it is the vanilla cousin of the brownie.) However, these changed my mind on EVERYTHING I knew about blondies and it all starts with that beautiful brown butter flavor in both the blondie and the icing.
We then take this a step further and max out the insane goodness of these blondies by adding cinnamon apples and giving you everything you love about those late summer and early fall days. The last bit of summer warmth is found in the vanilla, cinnamon spice lingers like the hint of a chill in the air, and warm softened cinnamon apples -the hallmark of change in the seasons.
This recipe is from Sally's Baking Addiction, just with a few tweaks and preferences I had for some of the flavors. Original recipe linked at the bottom!
Makes: 2 dozen blondies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
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Kitchen scale (optional)
Knife, to dice apples
Measuring cups and spoons
Sauce pan, to brown the butter and cook apples in
Mixing bowls, to mix wet and dry ingredients in
2 cups of peeled and chopped Granny Smith Apples (about 2 medium sized)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) of pure maple syrup (can also use brown sugar)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 and 1/3 cups of flour (276 g)
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 and 2/3 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract*
Brown Butter Icing:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 cup (180g) confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) whole milk
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract*
Pinch of salt
* If you bake a lot, I HIGHLY recommend buying vanilla in bulk. It will save you a lot in the long run. Here is what I use - Vanilla Extract
Start by browning the butter for both the blondies and the icing first. Once butter is browned you can simply set aside 4 tablespoons for the icing and use the remaining 1 cup for the blondie batter.
Brown the butter by melting the butter over medium heat. Once melted, butter will begin to foam. Make sure at this point you are continually stirring the butter. After 8-10 minutes, the butter will begin browning and you will see small lightly browned specks start to form at the bottom of the pan. Once the butter is a golden color and most of the specks have turned golden brown and are on the bottom (you will also smell a slightly nutty aroma) pour into a heat-proof bowl and set aside until ready to use. See the video below for reference. Also, no need to wash the pan just yet -save it for cooking the apples!
Peel and dice your apples and place these back in the pan used to brown the butter along with the cinnamon, maple syrup and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until the apples have softened slightly.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
Prepare your 9x13 dish by lining it with parchment paper. Be sure to leave an overhang on the sides -this will allow you to lift the blondies out of the pan. This makes cutting and serving so much easier! If you don't have parchment on hand, you can also use a non stick cooking spray or butter and flour.
Next, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup of browned butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla together.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined then fold in the apples. Your batter will be very thick.
Evenly spread batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. The toothpick test can be a little hard for this recipe -it will not come out completely clean. If you test with a toothpick it should come out *mostly clean. You'll know it needs to go back in the oven if it is very wet.
Once baked, remove from the oven and allow the blondies to cool and set.
To make the icing (optional, but very tasty) heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of browned butter in the microwave for a few seconds to make it liquid again. Whisk in sugar, milk, salt and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of your cooled blondies, then cut into squares. *If you pour the icing on too soon, it will melt and drip off the sides.
Blondies will store well at room temperature for up to 2 days in a plastic bag or an air tight container. You can also store them in the refrigerator up to 1 week and in the freezer for several months. Enjoy!
Adapted from a recipe by Sally's Baking Addiction - Brown Butter Apple Blondies