In the world of desserts, blondies are often upstaged by their better-known cousin – brownies. Well, these brown butter blondies are changing that narrative.
Warm and gooey, these blondies boast notes of nutty caramel flavor from the brown butter and brown sugar. The toasted hazelnuts add both flavor and texture. And let’s not forget the pockets of melty, chunked chocolate sprinkled throughout.
These brown butter blondies are so delicious, that by the time you’re done with them, you’ll be asking yourself what you ever saw in brownies in the first place.
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What Is The Difference Between Blondies and Brownies?
Both brownies and blondies are bar-like desserts falling somewhere between cookies and cake in terms of texture. They also utilize a lot of the same basic ingredients – flour, eggs, butter, salt.
The differences between the two are subtle yet significant.
Brownies are traditionally made with cocoa powder or melted chocolate to give them their signature chocolatey flavor. While it is common for some form of chocolate to be added to blondies, the chocolate is added into the batter without melting first. Just like adding chocolate chips to cookies.
Blondies also rely on brown sugar versus the granulated white sugar most often found in brownie recipes. The brown sugar pulls double duty in blondies. It gives them a deep, rich caramel flavor from the molasses. Brown sugar also creates a fudgy, chewy texture.
Ultimately, brownies are defined by their chocolatey flavor while blondies offer more complex notes of caramel, vanilla and butterscotch.
Even so, both are delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream…
Variations For Brown Butter Blondies
Once you get the basic recipe for brown butter blondies down, it is super easy and fun to experiment with different add-ins. Check out some of my favorite variations below:
- Swap out the toasted hazelnuts for almonds, pecans or walnuts. Toasted pine nuts and sunflower seeds are also tasty options.
- I prefer to use semi-sweet or dark chocolate chunks in my blondies. However, white chocolate chips are a more traditional addition. Toffee bits, butterscotch chips and caramel bits are all great alternatives as well.
- Try as I might to keep our candy intake down, we inevitably end up with an overabundance of candy from Easter, Christmas, Halloween and all the holidays in between. Brown butter blondies offer a great opportunity to use up some of the leftover chocolate bars, M&Ms, etc.
- For something really out of the box, try adding dried fruit. Craisins, chopped dates and even chopped banana chips would all be delicious in these brown butter blondies.
- If you want to simplify this recipe even further, you can skip browning the butter. You won’t achieve the depth of flavor that comes with browning the butter, but you can knock down the prep time and turn this into a one-bowl recipe. Of course, I HIGHLY recommend browning the butter. It is just sublime. But, I get it. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. I do not recommend substituting margarine for butter.
- I prefer the higher molasses content of dark brown sugar, but it isn’t critical. You can substitute light brown sugar for dark brown sugar in this recipe. If you only have light brown sugar on hand, you could also add up to a tablespoon of molasses to mimic the dark brown sugar.
What To Do With Leftover Brown Butter Blondies
Brown butter blondies can be stored at room temperature for 3 days. You can also keep them in the fridge and extend their lifespan to about a week. In both cases, just place leftover blondies in an airtight container for storage.
You can also freeze blondies. When freezing, I like to cut blondies into individual portions and flash-freeze for a couple of hours. Then I place them in a freezer bag making sure to remove as much air as possible. Frozen brown butter blondies will keep for roughly 3 months.
When ready to eat, remove blondies from the freezer and allow them to fully thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before serving.
Tips and Tricks
- Like so many baking recipes, brown butter blondies call for room temperature eggs. However, if you’re like me and don’t always have the foresight to get my eggs out before diving into a recipe, all is not lost. To quickly bring your eggs to temp, place in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes or so. Oftentimes, I plop – I mean carefully place – my egg in a bowl of warm water right before I start browning my butter. Once the butter has browned, the egg is ready to go!
- One of my favorite kitchen tricks is to use the wrapper from my stick butter to grease my baking dish. There is typically enough residual butter on the wrapper to get the job done 😉
If You Like These Brown Butter Blondies, Be Sure To Check Out These Other Desserts!
- The Best Chewy Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chai Spice Cake With Vanilla Bean Swiss Buttercream
- Dark Chocolate Stout Cake With Buttermilk Icing
- Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake – An Easy, 5 Ingredient Dessert
Try them now or pin them for later!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare an 8” x 8” baking dish by greasing with butter and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Leave parchment paper long so that it hangs over 2 sides of your baking dish so that you can easily remove your blondies once cooked.
Toast the hazelnuts over medium heat in a dry skillet moving them continuously for about 4 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add the brown sugar to the brown butter and whisk until thoroughly combined. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk well until the mixture is smooth and has lightened in color considerably.
Then add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until combined. Stir in toasted hazelnuts and chocolate chunks.
Transfer the mixture to your prepared pan smoothing until evenly dispersed. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. The top will be just set and slightly golden brown.
Allow the brown butter blondies to cool for a couple of hours before slicing.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of caramel and enjoy!
The Best Brown Butter Blondies With Toasted Hazelnuts
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ cup dark chocolate, cut into rough chunks
- ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare an 8” x 8” baking dish by greasing with butter and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Leave parchment paper long so that it hangs over 2 sides of your baking dish so that you can easily remove your blondies once cooked.
- In a small saucepan or skillet, brown the butter. Immediately pour the brown butter into a medium-sized mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
- Toast the hazelnuts over medium heat in a dry skillet moving them continuously for about 4 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the brown sugar to the brown butter and whisk until thoroughly combined. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk well until the mixture is smooth and has lightened in color considerably.
- Then add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until combined. Stir in toasted hazelnuts and chocolate chunks.
- Transfer the mixture to your prepared pan smoothing until evenly dispersed. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. The top will be just set and slightly golden brown.
- Allow the brown butter blondies to cool for a couple of hours before slicing.
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of caramel and enjoy!
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