Browned Butter, Walnut and Toffee Blondies

photoThis recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s website, but was recommended to me by a fellow baker. There are few things better in the baking world than browned butter. The trick is browning the butter enough, but not too much. If you start with your butter at room temperature it will be a heck of a lot easier, but when you have no choice just melt the butter on medium-low and then turn up your heat to brown it. As soon as the butter turns to a rich dark yellow color, take it off the heat. Starting to get sick of our tiny kitchen…. let’s hope the new apartment is more baker-friendly!

Ingredients:

– 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan

– 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

– 2 cups packed light-brown sugar

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– 3 large eggs

– 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

– 1 cup chopped walnuts (about 4 ounces)

-1 cup toffee bits

-Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter and flour parchment paper.

2) In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it turns golden brown; if your butter was still cold, this can take 5+ minutes. You can turn it up to medium-high heat if this is the case.

Butter at 30 seconds:

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Butter at 1:30

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Butter at 6:00 and ready –

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Remove from heat, and let cool. The color of the butter should be inconsistent, with darker bits at the bottom. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine browned butter and both sugars; stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

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4) Attach bowl to mixer; add eggs. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

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5) Add vanilla, and beat to combine. Add flour mixture, walnuts, and toffee bits. Mix until thoroughly combined, and pour into prepared pan.

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6) Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes (do not overbake). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before turning out of pan onto a cutting board. Peel off parchment paper; cut blondies into 1.5-inch squares

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Katie’s VERY lemony lemon bars

also in this post: how to brulee the top of lemon bars

For the crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tsp orange zest

For the full-size lemon layer:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Crust:

1) In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix 2 cups flour with 1/8 tsp salt. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add orange zest. Add flour mixture. Mix until dough pulls away from bowl.

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2) Press into greased 9×13 pan, pressing the dough up the sides of the pan as well. It helps to press the dough with wet (not dripping wet…that would not be good) hands to prevent sticking.

3) Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 18 minutes or until edges brown. Let cool completely.

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Filling:

Whisk together all filling ingredients.

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Check your filling for lemon seeds before you pour onto the crust! Once crust is cooled, pour filling mixture and bake at 350 for another 30-35 minutes.

Traditional topping:

Let lemon bars cool completely and right before serving, dust with powdered sugar.

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Brulee topping:

sprinkle granulated sugar all over your lemon bars (already cut into squares). Either put in the oven on broil setting until crispy brown, or torch with a culinary torch. The lemon bars in the picture below could have used 30 seconds more of torching, but I got scared that they would blow up.

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Sophie Bars (banana bread bars & browned butter frosting)

While the name of this recipe is not nearly as appealing to the palate as the ingredients are (sorry sophie), I have made a promise that the recipes my friends request will be named after them on my blog. Sophie won a bet earlier this week and her reward was a treat of her choice. She loves banana bread and these bars taste heavenly.

Banana Bread
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. greek yogurt (you can use sour cream or vanilla yogurt also…it all kinda works)
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Browned Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. almond milk

Directions:

1) Heat oven to 375 F and grease a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan. Mix first four ingredients in a bowl (no need to schlep up the electric mixer on this recipe. Just use some muscles and stir away!).

2) After mixture is smooth, add mashed up bananas and vanilla. Stir.

3) Add dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and walnuts if you’re feeling fancy.

4) Pour the mixture in a 15×10 greased pan and use the wet back of a spoon to even out the batter.

5)Bake on 375 for 20-25 minutes. Bars will be ready to be frosted 5-10 minutes after being removed from the oven. Cool enough to not completely melt the frosting, but warm enough to soften it a bit.

Meanwhile make this lovely brown butter icing:

1) Place 1/2 cup butter on a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until it starts to bubble and a foam layer begins to form. Immediately take the pan off the stove and keep stirring, allowing the butter to cool down. As the foam disappears you should see the butter has become a rich brown color.

2) Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.

3) Stir and cover until bars are ready to be frosted.

Enjoy Y’all! Hope you love them!

Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Bars

If you are part of the small but loyal group of people who have been introduced to Williams Sonoma Pecan Pumpkin Butter, then you probably know the magical bars that the little jar can yield. I have tried it with other brands of pumpkin butter and it is just not the same (this could be/is probably just in my head).

  • 1 (18 ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 13 ounces WS pecan pumpkin butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Reserve 1 cup of cake mix and set aside. Mix remaining cake with with 1/2 cup melted butter and 1 egg. Press mixture lightly into the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Mix one jar of pumpkin pecan butter with remaining two eggs and milk, and pour over cake mixture in pan.

interruption: I pour the pecan pumpkin butter in a small bowl, then crack the two eggs in, and then pour the milk INTO THE CONTAINER of the pumpkin butter. Close it, shake it around and then pour into the small bowl with the eggs and remaining pumpkin butter. This ensures that you get every bit of that 10-dollar-goodness.

Mix remaining 1 cup cake mix with flour, sugar, remaining 1/4 cup butter, cloves and cinnamon, and crumble over the top of the pumpkin layer. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until golden.

Cool to room temp, cut into squares, serve and watch people rave.