My daughter is a blondie girl. ❤ We enjoyed these amazing no-frills blondies as part of her 15th birthday celebration this year.
The original recipe is titled Caramel Canvas Blondies in Midwest Made: Big Bold Baking from the Heartland by Shauna Sever, one of my favorite books. Sever comments that they are known by many other names such as Butterscotch Bars or Toffee Bars in Midwest community cookbooks.
The salted caramel-esque base could easily accommodate any add-in but my birthday girl requested this minimalist version. 🙂 Classic, crowd-pleasing deliciousness.
Yield: about 2 dozen bars
non-stick cooking spray, for pan
384g (3 cups, spooned and leveled) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
480g (2 cups plus 2 T, firmly packed) light brown sugar
3 large eggs, fridge cold
1 large (20g) egg yolk, fridge cold
1 T pure vanilla extract
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups or 339g) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
2 to 3 cups (about 300 to 450g) chocolate chips, nuts, candy bits, or other mix-ins, optional
Make the Brown Butter: Place the butter in a light-colored pan over medium heat. Cook until foaming, amber in color, and until the milk-solids brown and separate, about 5 to 7 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof bowl to cool.
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 325 F (170 C), preferably on convection.
Spray a 9×13-inch (23×33 cm) metal baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on 2 opposite sides. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and flaky and fine salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla until lighter in color and texture, about 1 minute.
Whisk in the cooled browned butter.
Fold in the flour mixture just until no dry floury streaks remain.
Fold in mix-ins, if using. Stir until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and use and offset spatula to smooth the top.
Bake until the blondies are fragrant and golden, with a slightly glossy surface and a raised, wrinkled perimeter beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes in a convection oven or up to 40 minutes in a standard oven.
Let cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
Using the parchment paper, lift the blondies out of the pan to transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bars of desired size.
Note: Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
One of the most dangerous things I’ve ever done is to “join” baking groups on Facebook. The beautiful baked goods that are shared make me feel compelled to bake and to try cookbooks that are raved about.
This recipe is from 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More by Sarah Kieffer. This book has a major fan base online. I’m only one recipe in and am already a huge fan. 🙂
Baked goods that involve cinnamon-sugar are a crowd-pleaser in my house so selecting cinnamon roll blondies out of this book was an obvious choice. These blondies had the added bonus of incorporating nutty brown butter too. I weighed the ingredients when possible. Fabulous!
Yield: One 9×13-inch pan, about 24 small blondies
For the Brown Butter Blondie Base:
2 cups (284g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks or 227g) unsalted butter
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 cup (200g) brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
1 1/2 T pure vanilla extract
1 tsp salt (I used coarse salt)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
For the Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz (113g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch salt (I used coarse salt)
For the Cinnamon Sugar Swirl:
1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt (I used coarse salt)
1 T ground cinnamon
To Make the Brown Butter Blondie Base:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
Grease a 9×13-inch (23×33-cm) baking pan and line with a parchment sling. (I used a metal baking pan.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 12 tablespoons (170g) of the butter. Brown the butter until it is dark golden brown and smells nutty, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons (57g) butter to the pot, swirling the pot until the butter stops foaming.
Add the granulated and brown sugars, vanilla, and salt, and stir to combine. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Add the eggs and egg yolks and whisk until combined.
Transfer the butter-egg mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and smooth into an even layer. Set aside while you make the toppings.
To Make the Cream Cheese Filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add the granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt, and mix on medium speed until well combined.
To Make the Cinnamon Sugar Swirl:
In a small saucepan or skillet, melt the brown sugar, butter, and salt together over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon until combined.
Dollop the cream cheese and cinnamon sugar over the top of the brown butter blondie batter base in the prepared pan, alternating between the two.
Drag the tip of a butter knife through the batter, creating swirls. (I created swirls parallel to the length and the width of the pan.)
Bake for 25 to 29 minutes, or until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the blondies comes out with only a couple of crumbs. (The testing spot should be in a central location that does not have the toppings because they will appear wet when the base is fully baked.)
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Use the parchment sling to gently lift the blondies from the pan. Cut into bars.
Note: Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. (We placed a few in the refrigerator and they were also absolutely fabulous chilled.)
This is another wonderful weeknight pasta that uses simple ingredients. I was excited to make it while Meyer lemons are still readily available. The lemon added brightness which had a nice contrast to the richness of the browned butter and cheese.
This recipe is from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I used a mandoline to slice the lemon into 1/8-inch thick (thin) rounds. I loved that the original recipe called for “an almost ridiculous amount of pepper.” I’m a huge fan. 🙂
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 lb. short tube pasta, such as paccheri or rigatoni (I used mezzi rigatoni)
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, divided
1 small regular lemon or Meyer lemon, very thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed (I used a mandoline)
1 oz Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
freshly ground black pepper
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling generously salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions (pasta will finish cooking in the sauce).
Meanwhile, heat half of the butter in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium until melted.
Add lemon slices and cook, stirring often, until softened and bottom of pot is browned in spots, 5–7 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer one-third of lemon slices to a plate; set aside.
Just before pasta is al dente, scoop out 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid to butter sauce. (This may seem like a lot of liquid, but it will thicken once the remaining ingredients are added.)
Add remaining butter a piece at a time, whisking until each piece is incorporated before adding more, until the sauce is emulsified and creamy.
Drain pasta and add to sauce.
Cook, stirring often and adding the grated Parmesan a little at a time.
Once all of the cheese is added, continue to cook, still stirring, until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy and clings to pasta, about 3 minutes. If sauce looks very thick, add more pasta cooking liquid 1–2 Tbsp. at a time to thin (saucier is ideal as it will thicken as it cools).
Remove from heat and sprinkle with an almost ridiculous amount of pepper (about 2 tsp.); toss once more.
Serve pasta topped with reserved lemon rounds and more Parmesan.
I have my own Meyer lemon tree but I did have to purchase the lemons for this special treat- this year anyway. My tree is very sparse at the moment- and not that happy. 😦 Hopefully it will have many lemons sometime in the future! Anyway, I love individual desserts. These were silky, creamy and delicious.
This recipe was adapted from The Book on Pie: Everything You Need to Know to Bake Perfect Pies by Erin Jeanne McDowell. Such a beautiful and informational book. The lemon zest and juice can be replaced with Key lime zest and juice for a lime version. Alternate press-in cookie crust variations are included below as well. Very nice.
Yield: 12 mini pies
For the Brown Butter Press-In Cookie Crust:
113g / 4 oz / 8 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
50 g / 1/4 cup / 4 T granulated sugar
21 g / 1 large egg yolk
5 g / 1 tsp vanilla extract
210 g / 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 g / 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
15 g / 1 T water
For the Pielets:
1 recipe Brown Butter Press-In Cookie Crust (ingredients above)
99g / 1/2 cup granulated sugar
grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon
288g / 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
60g / 1/4 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
2g / 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1g / 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream, for serving, optional
Meyer lemon zest, for garnish, optional
To Make the Crusts:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter begins to simmer and foam, the milk solids turn brown, and the butter smells toasty, about 10 minutes.
Cool the butter to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the cooled brown butter and sugar on medium-low speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix on medium speed to combine. Scrape the bowl well.
Add the flour and salt and mix on low-speed until fully incorporated, 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Add the water and mix just until the dough is smooth, about 1 minute more.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C with a rack in the center.
Grease the cavities of a muffin pan with nonstick spray.
Divide the dough into 12 even rations in each cavity. (I used cookie scoops of various sizes.)
Use your fingers to press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of each cavity.
Use a small fork or tip of a paring knife to dock the dough all over.
Chill in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.
Bake the crusts until they are lightly golden at the edges and appear set all over, 14 to 18 minutes. If the dough puffs up during baking, prick it with a fork when you remove the crusts from the oven so it lies flat again.
Cool crusts completely. Then, use an offset spatula to gently unfold the cooled crusts onto a baking sheet. They should release easily. (I found that rotating them helped release them from the pan- the top edges of my crusts did crumble a bit though- still delicious.)
To Make the Filling and Serve:
In a small pot, rub the sugar and the lemon zest together to combine.
Add the cream and heat over medium-low heat, whisking, to dissolve the sugar. Do NOT let the cream come to a boil.
Transfer the mixture to a large container with a pour spout and whisk in the lime juice, vanilla, and salt.
Carefully pour the custard into the cooled crusts, filling each one just over 3/4 full.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is set, at least 2 hours (or up to 24 hours). Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream and garnish with additional zest, if desired, and serve.
The pielets can be made up to 24 hours ahead and kept refrigerated in an airtight container.
Any leftover filling can be chilled in a ramekin for a baker’s treat. 🙂
Alternate Press-In Crusts:
To Make an Oatmeal Press-In Cookie Crust: Replace the brown butter with room temperature butter. Replace the granulated sugar with 53 g / 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar. Replace 30 g / 1/4 cup of the flour with 74 g / 3/4 cup rolled oats.
To Make a Coconut Press-In Cookie Crust: Replace the brown butter with room temperature butter. Replace the granulated sugar with 53 g / 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar. Add 50 g / 2/3 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut with the flour.
These New York crumb cake muffins have a few qualities that elevate them a step above others. They not only incorporate lemon zest and browned butter, they also have additional crunchy crumbs hidden inside each muffin. Genius.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used the zest of an entire lemon and modified the baking time for a convection oven. They were quite large but baked perfectly in a standard muffin tin. Great.
Yield: 12 muffins
For the Topping:
1/2cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 1/3cups/165 grams all-purpose flour
1/2cup/110 grams dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon ground allspice or cardamom
1/4teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Batter:
3/4cup/180 milliliters sour cream
2teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4teaspoon almond extract
1/2teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (I used the zest of 1 large lemon)
1 1/2cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
2/3cup/135 grams granulated sugar
3/4teaspoon baking soda
3/4teaspoon baking powder
1/2teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1-inch slices and softened
Heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection, and line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
Make the Topping:
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter, then let it simmer until the foam on top falls to the bottom of the pot and turns brown, 4 to 6 minutes. It will smell nutty when it’s ready. Immediately pour butter into a small bowl to keep it from getting any browner, and let cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk together flour, sugar, spices and salt in a medium bowl.
Pour in the brown butter and stir, pinching the mixture together, until crumbs form. Set aside.
Make the Batter:
Whisk together sour cream, eggs, vanilla, almond extract and lemon zest in a mixing bowl.
In a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined, about 10 seconds.
Add softened butter and beat for 20 seconds to work it into the flour.
Add egg mixture and continue beating until the batter is very smooth, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle a scant tablespoon of the topping crumbs into the bottom of each muffin liner. (I used a cookie scoop.)
Spoon the batter on top of the crumbs, dividing it evenly. (I used a large cookie scoop- plus a little bit extra- per well.
Bake muffins for 5 minutes to firm up the tops so the crumbs don’t sink into the batter. Remove muffin pan from the oven and lower heat to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top of each muffin. (I used 1 tablespoon per muffin, rationed with a cookie scoop.)
Continue to bake until the muffins are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 17 on convection or up to 30 minutes longer.
Cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
Use an offset spatula or butter knife to lift the muffins out of the pan. Finish cooling muffins on a rack.
These caramelized carrots were part of our Thanksgiving feast. Initially, I thought that the proportions were really off in this dish- only a drizzle of the amazing browned butter vinaigrette is used and I had a tremendous amount leftover. The proportions could be reduced, of course, but I have used the leftover vinaigrette with roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, CSA rutabaga, and more rainbow carrots. It is absolutely wonderful.
This recipe was adapted from chef Neil Borthwick’s “forgotten carrots” at Merchants Tavern in London via The New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I modified the proportions and cooked the carrots in a cast iron skillet. I would roast four pounds of rainbow carrots next time.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
2pounds large carrots (I used rainbow carrots)
3tablespoons olive oil
8tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus 3 extra tablespoons for roasting the carrots
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4tablespoons sherry vinegar, to taste
1teaspoon Dijon mustard
3tablespoons chervil leaves or chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
Scrub the carrots, and peel them if you like (it really doesn’t matter but I peeled them).
Set a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a roasting pan over two burners on medium heat; put the olive oil in the pan.
When the oil is hot, add the carrots and cook, turning as they brown, until lightly caramelized all over, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add 3 tablespoons butter, spices, salt and pepper.
Transfer the roasting pan to the oven, and cook, shaking the pan once or twice, until the carrots are crinkly on the outside and you can pierce them easily with the tip of a sharp knife, 45 to 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, put 1 stick butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter foam subsides and the butter turns nut brown, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Put brown butter, vinegar, Dijon, salt and pepper in a blender or mini food processor. Blend until a creamy emulsion forms, about 30 seconds; taste, and adjust the seasoning.
Put the carrots on a platter, drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and garnish with the chervil or parsley, and serve.
Note: Leftover vinaigrette can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator to toss with other roasted vegetables.