brown butter chocolate chunk-pecan blondies

Don’t make these blondies because they’re something new (they’re not), make them because you’re feeling classic (they are, too, and they love feeling that way — rustic/traditional/what have you). In fact, they’re feeling classic enough to be served in wax paper with a malt-shake sipped through a tall peppermint straw.
Make these blondies because they consist of the most unfussy ingredients and methods a baker can know, and because they are completely un-fancy, which we like sometimes. Make them because sometimes the least complicated things, when combined, make for the most special, homeward confections. (That’s a fact.)
You caught on back at “unfussy” where this was going, it’s a little nudge (mostly for myself), to say, let’s get back to the simple stuff. There’s a reason for simplicity, isn’t there? It’s around to remind you to sit back and have a blondie when, the day you’ve planned has gone awry, or you started without a plan at all and are fumbling to uncomplicate how or why you lacked a plan in the first place. In brief, the one-bowl, one mixer, simplicity of this recipe, of lots of things, might be what makes them so good in the first place. Don’t let me forget.
Another thing not to be forgotten: these bars are given to chocolate in what I’m going to call, “studly chunks,” that melt unceremoniously as you cut them into squares away from their pan.
 So, having said all of that: please allow me to bookmark here, if only for my own indulgence of the blondie-fans in my tasting line, a go-to that  comes together in under fifteen minutes flat, and really requires no interpretation short of an opportunity to brown butter and toast pecans. If it helps, you don’t even have to brown the butter (but you should). It’s an oldie but a goodie.
Finally, and this may go without saying: you should really be listening to “Heart of Glass,” while you’re baking these. Burnt sugar tuned to the music of what you’re making, really takes the proverbial cake/cookie bar.
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and browned
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips

Grease an 8×8″ square baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Brown butter in a saucepan. In a large bowl blend together butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla and continue beating until glassy and smooth. Add salt and stir to distribute. Slowly add flour, stirring after each addition. Fold in nuts and chocolate chunks/chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth top to distribute evenly across pan. Bake about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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