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Chocolate Chunk Browned Butter Blondies

The remains of a solid Easter bunny inspired me to make these – it turned out to be five minutes well spent. The family was coming to dinner, and I hadn’t given thought to dessert, but was certain everyone would want a little something sweet afterward. Chocolate chip cookies occurred to me, but I didn’t have the time (or oven space) to bake sheet after sheet of cookies. This blondie batter came together quickly, and the pan baked in 20 minutes as we ate dinner. After dinner, we brought the pan to the table and ate warm squares with coffee. A delicious way to end the weekend.

Browned butter is just butter that has melted and then been left on the heat a little longer – it will start to foam, and after a few minutes, the foam will start to turn golden, and the kitchen will fill with a nutty, buttery aroma that’s completely divine. The solids in the butter caramelize, intensifying their flavours. You don’t have to brown the butter to make these – you could just melt it and leave it at that.

The batter is stirred together quickly – even faster than cookie dough – then patted into an 8×8″ pan (it will be fairly thin – don’t worry) and baked. 16 smallish squares is perfect when you want just enough for a crowd, or the family with leftovers to pack in lunches the next day.

As with cookies, you can add anything to blondie batter – I used chopped chocolate, but walnuts and pecans are divine, or white chocolate and dried cranberries.

Chocolate Chunk Browned Butter Blondies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2-1 cup chopped chocolate and/or nuts

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Keep it on the heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the foam starts turning golden and the mixture smells nutty. Remove from heat and pour into a medium mixing bowl.

Add the brown sugar and stir, then add the egg and vanilla and blend well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir until almost combined; add chocolate or nuts (or whatever additions you like) and stir until blended.

Spread into an 8×8″ pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and set. Serve warm or cool in the pan on a wire rack. Makes 16 squares.

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