Wednesday, September 7, 2011

B is for Blondie Brownies with Brown Butter from "The Cookiepedia"

Now that’s a tongue twister, isn’t it?  But a darn good taste tempter, too!  The recipe for these brownies came from a new cookbook, The Cookiepedia, by Stacy Adimando.  The subtitle of the book is “Mixing, Baking and Reinventing the Classics” and the book delivers on the promise.

The book also has a stylish, light-hearted design, a hard cover spiral bound book, with clever pencil drawings, lively writing and lovely photographs, too.  Every cookie is pictured.  Baker’s tips are sprinkled throughout the book, along with suggestions for making personalized versions.

This blondie is just one example:  A simple change from a traditional blondie by using brown butter adds a nutty flavor to the brownies that takes it up a notch. 

(A few years ago when one sister’s only son was graduating high school, many if not all stops were pulled out to fete the young man properly, including replicating his favorite dessert:  the blondies from Applebee’s where he worked at the time.  My sister found the recipe all right; he was pleased, they were delicious, but you ought to try these on him, too, Jiggy.)

I used to think, non-baker that I am, that brown butter was reserved for savory dishes, like a simple sauce for steamed vegetables, or with sage, a great topping for squash ravioli.

But I’ve opened myself up to the possibilities of baking with brown butter – or beurre noisette, as the French call it.

The book is cleverly organized, too, dividing the cookies into the major categories of buttery, chocolaty, fancy, fruity, spicy and nutty and seedy cookies.  You’ll find all the classics – snickerdoodles, pignoli cookies, macarons, Florentines, pecan sandies, shortbreads, linzers, chocolate chip – along with some newbies, like green tea, cornmeal, sesame crisps, salt-and-pepper cookies, and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookies (which suggests adding potato chips, among other things).
The book is both a primer, because there are lots of term descriptions and ideas for decorating, and an advanced course, because it offers lots of suggestions for taking the original recipes on slightly different taste trails.  Along with suggested options, there are lots of tips for successful baking, much needed for hard cases like myself.   If I were to make every one of the 50 recipes in the book, I’d be one cookie queen.

The addition of brown butter to the blondies did add a wonderfully nuttiness to the brownies.  Such a simple change can make a big difference!  But the cookie I really want to try are alfajores, little buttery, sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche.  Although Stacy suggests purchasing the dulce de leche, I think, come Christmas, I’d like to make it myself. 

Or maybe it’s the cornmeal cookies with rosemary I’ll be making next.  Or the sables with lemon zest. Hard to say.

The author is the deputy lifestyle editor for Every Day with Rachel Ray and a contributor to Serious Eats.  She knows her cookies and has put together a pretty complete cookie book.  It went on sale September 6.  Some great early Christmas shopping!

Couple cautions with these blondies, though:  Do not multi-task when browning the butter.  It doesn’t take long.  Elise at Simply Recipes offers a great tutorial.  And do err on the underside of bake times.

Blondie Brownies with Brown Butter
From The Cookiepedia, by Stacy Adimando
Makes 2 dozen bars
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cups toasted pecans, chopped
Coarse salt (sea salt or kosher) for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Start by browning the butter.  Melt it in a saucepan on medium heat.  When the foaming subsides, start swirling the pan to keep the butter moving.  Continue to cook until it changes from a light yellow to a deep golden, stopping just when you see the color change happen.  Take it off the heat and pour into a bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Beat the melted butte and sugars together.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat for several minutes or until the mixture looks thick and silky.  Add the dry ingredients one third at a time and mix until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and mix until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.

Grease a 9 X 13 inch baking pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper.

Pour the dough onto the parchment paper and spread it evenly with a spatula or slightly wet hand.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes (err on the shorter side for doughier brownies) until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sprinkle lightly with the coarse salt.  Let cool completely before removing from the pan.  Cut into squares.

* * * *
Thanks to Quirk Books for sending me a copy of Stacy Adimando's The Cookiepedia.


  1. These are wonderful sweet treats. Browning the butter would add a certain nuttiness that we love.

  2. What a cute book and anything with chocolate chips is an instant hit in this house.

  3. What a great idea for a book! And this recipe is just great, brownies are possibly one of my favourite things!!

  4. I love cooking with brown butter - it is so nutty-rich and satisfying. Never thought about using it in baking - light bulb!

  5. I have made blondies with brown butter before, and it is amazing! So worth the extra step in my opinion. Thank you for sharing these sweet treats, my friend!

  6. Very cool book! Interesting use of the brown butter. The (one and only) blondies I made used brown sugar and that was the different. I bet the brown butter adds a really great flavor element!

  7. Wonderful book, Rosemary! Love your blondie brownies with the rich and nutty flavor of the browned butter. Great recipe, as well!
    Thanks for sharing:DDD

  8. YUM, I love blondies. Will have to try this recipe as gluten-free but I am certain it will be wonderful. Will wait for cooler weather though!

  9. Mmmmmm....brown butter must make these so fabulous! I love blondies...and these are the tops!

  10. The name is certainly a tongue twister but I suspect they disappeared rather quickly even if no one bothered to say their name. This book sounds perfect for the non-baker such as myself. It's nice to know that brown butter has multi-purposes.

  11. Love brown butter in those blondies/brownies! Very tempting!

  12. Martha Stewart makes a wicked browned butter blondie recipe, too. It's amazing how the nuttiness of the browned butter just adds such a whole new dimension to the blondies. Yum!

  13. Printed the recipe but no oven temperature given! I'm extrapolating based on experience.

  14. After the comment from "Anonymous" noted the temperature had been missing from the recipe, I corrected it. Thanks for letting me know. I looked at the cookbook and although I'd copied all the step-by-steps directly from the book, the temp and quantity info was in a separate box! Missed it!


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