Browned Butter & Bourbon Blondies

Camping in the fall is always the best.  Cool crisp nights, blazing, crackling fires, fleece jackets and hiking boots are just some of my favorite reasons to pack the camper and head to the mountains.  I also love to bake something special to share at the end of a wonderful day playing outside.  Blondies are a moist and sweet, buttery treat that will melt in your mouth and are easy to whip up in no time.  Cut into bite sized squares they also travel very well.  They traveled well to the Shenandoah Mountains, but I’m afraid they did not make it home again.  

I was looking for something a little different so I added bourbon, toasted walnuts, milk chocolate chips and browned butter to this batch.  This was a super successful combination of flavors.  I was inspired by my Derby Day Pie and adapted a base recipe for Blondies originally published by Cooks Illustrated in July, 2005.  This is a grown up dessert as you get hints of the smooth mild bourbon along with the toasted nuts and milky chocolate.  

Browned Butter & Bourbon Blondies
Browned Butter & Bourbon Blondies
(slightly adapted from a recipe published July 2005 by Cooks Illustrated)
1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned and cooled
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
In a small pan on medium heat, melt the butter stirring occasionally.  Cook the butter until it begins to have a nutty smell and turns an amber color.  Do not overcook or it will burn easily. Remove the browned butter to a glass bowl or cup and set aside to cool.
Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Transfer the nuts to a cutting board and chop lightly.  Set aside.
Cut a length of parchment paper to fit a 8×8 baking dish allowing the paper to come up to the top of the pan on both sides.  Cut another sheet to fit in the opposite direction also trimming at the top of the pan.  Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Whisk 3/4 cup flour, baking powder and salt together in a small mixing bowl.  Set aside.
In another medium mixing bowl combine the browned butter and brown sugar until blended.  Add the egg and mix well.  Blend in the bourbon and vanilla and mix just until incorporated.  Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture just until combined.  Do not over-mix.  
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour to the chocolate chips and toss until the chips are somewhat covered.  Add the chocolate chips (with flour) and the toasted walnuts to the batter.  Fold in gently.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  
Bake until the top is shiny, cracked and light golden brown, 22-24 minutes.  Do not over-bake.  Blondies should be chewy, not crunchy.  
Cool the Blondies in the pan then lift out using the parchment paper.  Transfer to a cutting board and slice into bite sized squares.  Enjoy!
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We enjoyed our long weekend in the mountains of Virginia.  The trees are just starting to show a little color and the night air is quite cold.  We thought it would be a good idea to rest up before the wedding extravaganza begins in a few weeks.  So excited!!!
Please check back later this week for another great camping recipe made in the Lodge Dutch Oven.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

(Update:  June 2013 –  So excited Huffington Post picked up my Browned Butter & Bourbon Blondies on their bourbon dessert feature!  Welcome new friends and readers!)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/bourbon-recipes-dessert_n_3496578.html#slide=2615664

Tricia

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