Brown Butter Apple Blondies with Salted Butterscotch Glaze
These decadent brown butter apple blondies turn the delicious fall fruit into an easy treat topped with an irresistible salted butterscotch glaze.
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Have you ever tasted or made blondies? Blondies are the blond equivalent of brownies. They’re usually made with white chocolate and they have that same barely set, completely decadent texture brownies have. Brownies are a staple at my house, but I like to switch things up and go blond once in a while.
I was recently daydreaming of the melt-in-your-mouth quality of blondies–yep, that’s what my daydreams are made of!—and I played an association game in my mind, an exercise I often do when I’m trying to create a new recipe. From fudgy cake I thought of brown butter… from there, I thought of baked, melting apples… then I thought of butterscotch… and then of *salted* butterscotch. It became an obsession: making brown butter apple blondies and topping them off with a salted butterscotch glaze.
These are the very definition of decadence. It may have become my favorite apple season dessert! The flavor of apples is very present, the texture of the nutty cake is almost molten, and the salted butterscotch glaze is frankly just out of this world. You might want to spread it on your morning toast! This is a very sweet dessert that will also please those who claim they don’t like dessert too much because of the way it balances sweet and salty. Be advised: you eat a small piece of these Brown Butter Apple Blondies, and then you’ve got to go for seconds and thirds. And it’s okay because it’s a special dessert for special occasions. Bring it to a potluck or a birthday party and I promise you’ll be the star of the event!
A note about brown butter: browning butter is an extra step but a worthwhile one, especially when making blondies. The process evaporates the excess water contained in butter, which then allows the milk solids to brown. Brown butter adds an irresistibly nutty, toasted flavor to sweet and savory dishes—try it once and I bet you’ll want to make it again and again! If you’ve never browned butter before, you might be wary of the process but you shouldn’t be: it’s quick and easy. My advice is to use a light-colored saucepan so you can keep a close eye on the butter changing as it boils away. For a detailed how-to, check out this illustrated walk-through from the Serious Eats website: How to Brown Butter.
Make the brown butter: Heat a medium stainless steel saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Bring it to a boil and let it roll for about 2 minutes. The butter will bubble up as water evaporates from it. Start stirring the butter or swirling the pan to closely watch it change color. You don’t want to burn it! Take the butter off the heat as soon as its milk solids appear golden and the kitchen smells nutty and heavenly. Off the heat, keep on stirring for a few seconds so you can make sure it’s the perfect color, then pour it into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Set aside.
Add the brown sugar to the mixing bowl containing the brown butter. Using a hand mixer, beat the sugar and brown butter together for 2 minutes to thoroughly incorporate. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate before adding the next one. Beat until light in color, about 3 minutes. Add the Calvados or Cognac, if using, and vanilla extract, and beat to incorporate. Add the reserved flour mixture and mix just to incorporate. Using a spatula, fold in the diced apple and chopped pecans. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. The mixture will be quite thick so you’ll need to use a spatula to spread it to the edges of the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is set and the edges are golden brown. Set the pan on a wire rack and let cool completely.
For the salted butterscotch glaze: In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, cream, and salt over medium heat, stirring from time to time. When the butter is melted, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Whisking constantly, boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep on whisking for 1 minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Add ¼ cup (60 ml) of the powdered sugar, whisking until incorporated. Gradually add more powdered sugar, whisking constantly to incorporate. The glaze is ready to use as-is: at room temperature, the glaze will be pourable and beautifully drip to the sides of the brown butter apple blondies. If you're looking for a thicker glaze that you can spread as a frosting, refrigerate the glaze for 1 hour before using.
SERVING: You can either drizzle or spread the brown butter apple blondies with the glaze before cutting them into squares, or cut the blondies into squares, then drizzle each portion with the glaze, to taste.Either way, always serve the brown butter apple blondies at room temperature. If they're stored in the refrigerator, take them back out to room temperature about 20 minutes before serving. If you did not store the blondies with the glaze on, you can even rewarm them in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 5 minutes to return them to their freshly baked glory. Warm up up the salted butterscotch glaze for a few seconds in the microwave, stir, then drizzle over the blondies.
STORAGE: You can refrigerate the brown butter apple blondies for up to 3 days, or freeze them for up to 1 month. The salted butterscotch glaze can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. It's best to freeze the blondies without the salted butterscotch glaze on to avoid them turning soggy during the thawing process.
Did you make this?
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