For the longest time, I didn't think I like blondies. For one, there was no chocolate in them. What was the point? Secondly, they always seemed a little bland and tasteless or else so sickly sweet I couldn't stand to eat them.
As is so often the case, I've learned a killer recipe can turn that all around. This one converted me. The browned butter adds a nutty flavor in addition to the pecans. These are crazy sweet and crazy rich from all the butter, but make a decadent, occasional treat.
These make a 9x13" pan and keep wonderfully well on the counter.
Brown Butter Blondies with Pecans
from Bon Appetit
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 large egg
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t kosher salt
1/3 c flour
1 1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped
2 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t salt
1 c butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
Cook 1/2 c butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns. If you listen closely, you can the moment when the butter is browning (the fast sizzling stops and the butter quiets down a bit). Transfer butter to a medium bowl and let cool for a few minutes. Add 1 egg, 3/4 c brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until mixture is light and falls back on itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon (in short, beat until the mixture "makes a ribbon"). This will take about 3 minutes depending on your mixer. Fold in flour. Set aside
Toast pecans in a preheated 350 degree for 8 - 10 minutes, until fragrant (above, you could tell when the butter was done by the sound, here you want to smell when the pecans are done. After 8 minutes, open the oven door and sniff. If the pecans are done a nice pecan smell will greet you. If you wait until you can smell the pecans without opening the door, you will have burnt pecans). Let cool.
Whisk together baking powder, salt and 2 1/4 c flour in a medium bowl. In a large, beat together 1 c butter and 1 3/4 c brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes depending on your mixer. Add eggs and beat until pale and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Mix in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture. Fold in half of pecans.
Scrape 2/3 thirds of the batter (not the browned butter mixture) into a buttered and floured (alternately, you can line the pan with parchment paper) 9 x 13" pan. Smooth top and push batter to the edges. Alternating, dollop browned butter mixture and remaining batter on top. Smooth and sprinkle the remaining pecans over all of it.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes in a preheated 350 degrees oven. The blondie should be golden brown and firm, a tester WILL NOT come out clean (if it does, you have seriously overbaked your blondies). Let cool before slicing.
For the ultimate experience, serve with vanilla ice cream.