Recipe: Coffee & Vanilla Brown Butter Blondies

If you’ve never baked blondies before, it’s time to change that. Even if you have baked a batch, this recipe is about to up the ante.

For the unfamiliar, think of blondies as blonde brownies. There’s not a fleck of cocoa powder in the batter; but what they lack in chocolatey-ness, they more than make up for with deep accents of vanilla. As high-quality vanilla is key, I always use the tried and tested Sprig’s Extract of Natural Bourbon Vanilla to impart the signature flavours of Madagascan Vanilla Beans.

Other key ingredients include brown sugar and melted butter. While you can use light brown sugar, I always look to dark brown sugar for its higher molasses content which creates a craveably-caramelly flavour. As for the melted butter, well, I just keep stirring it for another five minutes or so until it’s deliciously-browned and flooding the kitchen with its notoriously-nutty aroma!

I like to bake my blondies with a heady kick of coffee to round off the flavours on an even richer note. Throw in a handful of toasted nuts (hazelnuts are my go-to choice) and chocolate-chips – and less than an hour later, you’ll have a beautiful batch of blondies. While the method is simple, the end-result is textured with complexity. It’s really not unlike the love child of a brownie and cookie, shaping up in a fabulously-flavoured dessert bar that will have you reaching for seconds (and then thirds!).


  • 1/2 cup + 2tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (you can use light brown sugar if you prefer) 
  • 1  large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (I use Sprig’s Natural Bourbon Vanilla Extract ; see below for a special reader discount on all of Sprig’s products)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 – 2 tbsp strong coffee, room temperature (I use Nespresso; if you don’t want a coffee-flavoured blondie, skip this step).
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips (depending on taste)
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts or nuts of your choice, chopped (optional)


Start by browning your butter.

  • Melt the butter in a wide, heavy-bottomed (and preferably light-coloured) pan over medium-low heat. Stir the butter around the pan to ensure that it melts evenly, following which you will start to see it foaming and sizzling around the edges.
  • Keep a close eye as the melted butter shifts hues from a lemony-yellow to a golden tannish-brown, before finally getting to the toasty-brown we want. You’ll know you’re there once the kitchen starts filling with a soul-stirringly nutty aroma!
  • Remember, we want to brown the butter, not burn it. There’s a fine line between the two, given that butter burns at a lower smoke-point than other oils. Use a spoon or rubber spatula to clear away the foam and check on how far the butter has browned. Once some foam starts to subside and you can see dark brown specks at the bottom of the pan, remove the butter from heat and pour out into into a heat-proof bowl to cool.
  • Next toast the nuts to intensify their flavour: heat in a skillet (over medium heat), stirring occasionally, until they are just about browned and fragrant.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 175°C ; and prepare an 8×8 inch baking pan, lining and greasing it with parchment paper. I like to place the parchment paper such that it is pressed against the sides of the pan, with some excess parchment hanging out over the edges. This ‘parchment sling’ makes it easier to remove the blondies later!
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon; set aside.
  • Once the browned butter has cooled down, add the brown sugar to it, beating until well blended (I use a hand mixer). Next add the egg, beating again until combined. Then whisk in the vanilla extract and coffee.
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients mixture until all the ingredients are just combined with a uniform consistency. Take care not to over-mix (this will let in more air into the mixture, as well as catalysing gluten development). Finally, fold in the chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts.
  • Bake the blondies for 18 – 24 minutes. Remove them from the oven when they look *almost done*. The edges will have browned, but the centre will look a tad underdone (with a slight wobble). Be careful not to over-bake in the oven, as if you do, your blondies will be less moist, instead becoming hard.
  • In fact, the blondies will continue to bake and firm up as they cool (in the pan) on a wire rack. Slice into squares once the blondies have completely cooled and tuck in!

Reader offer:

Use the code ‘TFD10’ on Sprig’s website to get 10% off on all their products including their Bourbon Vanilla Extract; flavoured selection of brown sugars; and all manners of baking & cooking products. |

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Sprig, but all views and opinions are mine and mine alone.

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