Salted Caramel Brown Butter Blondies
OKKKAAAAAY. Okay. Deep breaths.
Sorry - it's just that these salted caramel brown butter blondies make my palms sweaty and my knees weak and my arms heavy (thought I'd throw a little Eminem in there).
I mean, just read the title. And look at the photos. You should start experiencing the same physiological responses that I am undergoing yourself pretty soon.
Let's start with the blondies part.
It's a toss up for me when I have to decide which I prefer - blondies or brownies. Both are bars, both are soft and gooey, both are delicious. But brownies are full of chocolate flavor, and sometimes (the occasion is rare, I'll admit), I'm just not game for a chocolaty dessert. Blondies to the rescue.
Hard, crispy blondies (and brownies) are sacrilegious. You'll witness no such blasphemy when it comes to these here blondies. These brown butter blondies are super soft, super gooey, cookie-dough like, rich, dense, and tender.
Now, the brown butter part.
I LOVE BROWN BUTTER SO MUCH.
I've proclaimed this previously in blog recipes containing brown butter, but why just melt your butter when you can brown it in two extra minutes??? Brown butter adds a butterscotch, caramel, hazelnut flavor to recipes that you just won't ever be able to recreate with regular creamed or melted butter.
Don't worry - if you don't know how to brown butter, I explain it in detail in the instructions. I also have a video tutorial on how to brown butter from when I made these brown butter chocolate chip cookies.
And last, but certainly not least, the salted caramel.
Ah, salted caramel. How you make my heart swell with happiness and delight.
Rich, creamy, velvety, sweet, and salty caramel. And no, I'm not talking about a ready-made jar of salted caramel that you buy from the store. I'm talking about homemade salted caramel. As in caramel that you make all by yourself in a single pot with sugar, butter, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt.
Seriously, caramel is so easy to make. It takes 10-15 minutes from start to finish. And it contains just 5 ingredients. There is some technique involved and there's always the risk of burning the caramel, but if you follow the instructions exactly, you shouldn't have a problem.
Whatever you do, just don't try substituting milk for heavy cream in your caramel. Tried and failed. Multiple times.
I even have a tutorial for you that I just posted last week on how to make salted caramel. There's step-by-step photos as well as a video. So you're really all set.
So, not only are these soft, gooey, rich blondies. And not only are these soft, gooey, rich blondies made with brown butter to give them an even deeper flavor. But these are brown butter, soft, gooey, rich blondies topped with flaky salt and stuffed with delicious, homemade salted caramel that oozes out of every bite.
Sweet + salty. Soft + rich. Gooey + caramely. Can't. Get. Enough.
Salted Caramel Brown Butter Blondies
Yield: about 32 blondies
2 sticks (8 oz.) butter
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons plain yogurt/sour cream
2 1/4 cups flour, well packed
3/4 teaspoon salt
- Flaky salt, for sprinkling (optional)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (2 oz.) chopped butter, room temp.
1/2 cup heavy cream (do not substitute milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (depending on preference)
-See video tutorial here
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhanging paper so you can lift the blondies out later.
In a light-colored (so you can observe the browning) skillet, brown the butter: chop up butter and place into skillet over a medium flame. First, the butter will melt. Once butter melts, it will foam and bubble. Make sure to stir the butter every few seconds with a rubber spatula. After a few minutes, the bubbling and noise will subside, golden specks will appear on the bottom of the pan, and the butter will start smelling nutty. This means your butter is browned! (Too see a video tutorial on how to brown butter, click here.)
Remove skillet from flame right away and pour the browned butter into a large mixing bowl to stop the cooking. Make sure to scrape in all the browned specks from the bottom of the pan. Warning: Butter should have golden/amber specks, not completely brown ones. If the butter is too browned, your blondies may have a burnt/bitter taste.
Let butter cool five minutes in the bowl. (I like to prepare my caramel while butter is cooling). Stir in brown sugar.
Add in egg and vanilla extract and stir vigorously until smooth. Mix in yogurt/sour cream.
Mix in flour and salt till just combined. Spread half the dough into prepared pan evenly. Pour slightly cooled caramel on top and spread evenly, trying to avoid edges. Drop dollops of remaining dough over caramel and spread evenly on top, covering the caramel. Sprinkle with flaky salt if desired.
Bake blondies for 20-24 minutes, or until just set and a toothpick inserted comes out with a few gooey crumbs. Don't over bake - the blondies should be very soft and gooey.
Let blondies cool before lifting them out of the pan by the parchment paper and slicing into bars.
Salted Caramel: Pour sugar into a medium saucepan and place over a medium flame. Stir frequently with a high-heat rubber spatula. Sugar will start clumping and then melt into an amber liquid.
Once sugar is completely melted, add in chopped butter right away. Take care, because the caramel will bubble a lot when you pour butter in. Stir till butter is melted.
Once butter is melted, pour in the heavy cream carefully and slowly while stirring caramel. Caramel will bubble a lot again. Allow to cook for about 60 seconds and then remove from flame.
Stir in vanilla extract and salt and then let cool slightly before using. You can transfer caramel to a bowl and place in fridge to speed up cooling process.
*Note: caramel can be made ahead and kept in fridge in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. To liquify again, warm up for a few seconds in microwave or pot.