If you’ve never baked blondies before, it’s time to change that. Even if you have baked a batch, this recipe for Coffee & Vanilla Brown Butter Blondies 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.
KEY INGREDIENTS FOR These Coffee & Vanilla bROWN butter BLONDIES
- Brown butter, to impart its signature nutty scent to these blondies, not to mention subtle flavours reminiscent of warm caramel and toasted hazelnuts.
- Dark brown/ demarara sugar which intensifies the richness and moist texture of these blondies. The higher molasses content of dark brown sugar also leaves behind subtle traces of caramel. Alternatively, can use light brown sugar if you prefer a less rich/ sweet flavour, or even a combination of dark and light brown sugar.
- High quality vanilla extract, which enhances the overall flavours of the blondies while adding a vanilla accent to make up for the lack of chocolateyness in these blondies. (I use Sprig’s Natural Bourbon Vanilla Extract}.
- A splash of coffee, to round off the flavours on an even richer note with a boost of caffeine.
- Add-ins: chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Feel free to swap around as you like!
More tips for baking these blondies
Don’t over-bake these blondies if you want them to be gooey. Be sure to remove them as soon as they look almost done. The edges should have set but the centre must still have a slight wobble. Getting the timing right – as you will discover – makes all the difference between a passably-good batch and a memorably-marvellous one, with the softest most tender crumb to accompany your cuppa coffee!
If you are restricted from baking with eggs, you could try substituting with a chia/ flax egg. Alternative, browse other (equally delicious) eggless recipes (including cookies!) here.
Coffee & Vanilla Brown Butter Blondies
- ½ 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)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1½ – 2 tbsp strong coffee, room temperature (if you don’t want a coffee-flavoured blondie, skip this step).
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ – ¾ cup chocolate chips (depending on taste)
- ½ cup toasted hazelnuts or nuts of your choice, chopped (optional)
- Start by browning the 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.
- 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.
- 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 17 – 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!
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