Category Archives: Blondies, Brownies, & Bars

Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies

This time of year, everyone seems to lose their minds for pumpkin and apples. I admit I am guilty of this too, but I think maple is truly my favorite fall flavor.

Yes, I know maple syrup is made in the spring, but it tastes like fall. It just does. It’s the color of the best crunchy leaves and it tastes like nostalgia and Saturday mornings in early November. Please excuse my waxing poetic, but you know I’m right.

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies

I’ve made tons of maple recipes over the years, including a layer cake, caramel corn, and some incredible sandwich cookies, but I never run out of new ideas for how to use it. Not gonna lie though, I think I’ve outdone myself with these Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies.

You read that right. Salty. Maple. Brown Butter. Blondies. That’s like everything good in the world in one baked good.

The blondies themselves are a classic recipe with a little less brown sugar and a whole lot of maple syrup. They bake up without fuss and would be great by their lonesome, but then you’d be foregoing the magic of the Salty Maple Brown Butter icing. It gets poured on the blondies warm and settles into a thick layer reminiscent of maple candy. But, you know, with brown butter and flaky finishing salt.

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies

Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies are sweet, salty, and very buttery, and have the textures of both a perfect chewy cookie and soft maple candy. Their maple flavor shines so brightly and just gets better and deeper as they age. Yes, I am telling you to take your time eating these, but I’ll be the first to admit that’s easier said than done.

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies
Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan, about 16 blondies

Blondies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
tiny pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Salty Maple Brown Butter Icing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

For Finishing:
coarse or flaky salt (I used Maldon)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang for bar-removal. Set aside while you make the blondie batter.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a medium-large mixing bowl.

Whisk granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and maple syrup into the brown butter. Mix in egg and vanilla, followed by flour, nutmeg and salt.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (no raw batter). Let blondies cool 15 minutes in the pan on a rack.

Meanwhile make the icing. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat. Immediately whisk in maple syrup, followed by confectioner’s sugar and salt. Whisk until smooth.

Pour icing over the the blondies (still in the pan). Tilt the pan back and forth and coax with the back of a spoon so that the icing covers the blondies. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of flaky or coarse finishing salt. Let blondies continue to cool until room temperature.

Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Plum Shortbread Bars

Plum Shortbread Bars​

I try to keep a certain level of variety on here, but with 600 recipes there are bound to be some variations on a few really good staples.

Plum Shortbread Bars​

Case in point: shortbread bars. They’re one of the simplest desserts in my baking arsenal, and also one of my very favorites. They’re quick and easy to make and have a short ingredient list. You almost certainly have all the shortbread ingredients right now.

Shortbread bars hit all the same notes as pie, yet require only fractions of the work and time. The shortbread dough doubles as both base and topping, and you don’t need to roll or crimp anything—rustic is the name of the game. You can make them square, or bake them up round and cut them into wedges.

Plum Shortbread Bars​

Perhaps best of all, shortbread bars seamlessly adapt to whatever fruit you have in hand, whether it be apples, cherries, blackberries or an astonishing amount of sweet & tangy late summer plums.

Yep. This recipe’s a keeper.

Plum Shortbread Bars​
Plum Shortbread Bars
makes one 8-inch pan, 8-12 wedges

Filling:
3 cups sliced fresh plums* (1-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 medium lemon)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoons cornstarch

Shortbread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

Place oven racks in top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, or line with aluminum foil, leaving overhang, and grease with butter. Set aside.

Make plum filling. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sliced plums, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside while you make the shortbread.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for topping.

Pour remaining shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using your hand to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Spoon plum filling over the top and arrange into an even layer.

For the topping, use your fingers to pinch together small portions of the reserved shortbread mixture. Scatter them over the top of the blackberry layer.

If your pan is on the shallow side, place it on a rimmed baking sheet to collect any light overflow. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Move bars to the top rack and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until browned. Tent with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes, or until cold.

Run a thin knife around the edges of the pan. Use parchment overhang to remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve.

Leftover Plum Shortbread Wedges will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. They will soften over time.

Note:

I used 2 medium red plums and a dozen Italian prune plums.

Cookies & Cream Blondies

Cookies & Cream Blondies

We all know cookies & cream as an ice cream flavor, but have you ever tried it in blondies? You should—it’s outrageously good. Like, I love a good Basic Blondie in all it’s butterscotch glory, but I think I might be a Cookies & Cream Blondie person now.

Cookies & Cream Blondies

These chewy, vanilla-scented squares are filled with big chunks of Oreo, along with some white chocolate chips for good measure. And when I say “filled,” I do mean filled—there might be more mix-ins than batter!

The batch comes together in one bowl, bakes up in half an hour, and slices like a dream once cooled. You’ll notice that the base for these blondies is lighter in color than the usual brown sugar batter. That’s because I only used granulated sugar in this recipe—because of their lighter color and flavor, I think of these as “platinum” blondies. This flavor profile is more in line with traditional cookies & cream, but feel free to swap the base for the brown sugary original, if that’s more your style.

Cookies & Cream Blondies

I cannot overstate how delicious these are. The blondie batter is basically only there to hold the ample amount of Oreos and white chocolate together, so every bite is filled with cookies & cream! There are so many textures here: soft blondie, crispy cookie, smooth white chocolate—these are proof positive that you can have it all. Or at least you can when it comes to dessert.

Cookies & Cream Blondies
Cookies & Cream Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
16 Oreos (or other chocolate sandwich cookies), sliced into quarters + more for topping
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang for bar-removal. Set aside.

Make the blondie base. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in Oreos and white chocolate chips.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Top within more Oreos, if desired. Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (no raw batter). Let blondies cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature.

Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Discard parchment. Slice blondies with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Cookies & Cream Blondies
Cookies & Cream Blondies

Blueberry Oat Squares

Blueberry Oat Squares​

Blueberry Pie is great and all, but so are quick, easy, berry-forward recipes that don’t require you to deal with cold butter in blazing summer heat.

Blueberry Oat Squares​

Y’all, I am all about these Blueberry Oat Squares right now. The edges are crisp and buttery with plenty of chewy oats, while the centers are bursting with juicy fresh blueberry filling. They’re super summery and delicious, and a snap to make!

One simple dough doubles as both crust and topping. Just stir six ingredients together in a bowl, then firmly press about half the resulting mixture into the bottom of a square pan. Top it with a layer of simply-spiced blueberry pie filling, then press on the remaining dough. You’ll probably have a few gaps in the topping, but that’s okay—that’s where the jammy filling will peek through. Love that visual and textural diversity.

Blueberry Oat Squares​

Once baked and cooled completely, Blueberry Oat Squares can be sliced and served at room temperature or cold. They’re easy to stack and transport, and don’t need to be chilled at all times—this is a perfect picnic dessert if I’ve ever seen one. If you want to get a little fancy, you could even serve them lightly warmed and topped with ice cream and fresh blueberries. But while, in most cases, I identify as “a little fancy,” I’m happy to keep things simple here. For now, at least.

Blueberry Oat Squares
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 squares

Filling:
12 ounces fresh blueberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 medium lemon)

Dough:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil and grease with butter. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold them all together until combined. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and oats. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in melted butter—mixture may be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched.

Firmly press half the dough (about 2 cups) into an even layer at the bottom of the prepared pan.

Give blueberry filling a stir, then scatter over packed dough (leaving behind any excess liquid), leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Scatter remaining dough mixture over the top. Use the palms of your hands to gently pack it into a even layer, covering the jam.

Bake full pan for 25-27 minutes, or until golden and set on top. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Slice bars with a sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Do not try to slice bars until they are completely room temperature. Serve room temperature, cold, or warmed slightly with ice cream.

Bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Layer them with wax or parchment paper for best results.
Blueberry Oat Squares​
Blueberry Oat Squares​

Blueberry Oat Squares

Blueberry Oat Squares​

Blueberry Pie is great and all, but so are quick, easy, berry-forward recipes that don’t require you to deal with cold butter in blazing summer heat.

Blueberry Oat Squares​

Y’all, I am all about these Blueberry Oat Squares right now. The edges are crisp and buttery with plenty of chewy oats, while the centers are bursting with juicy fresh blueberry filling. They’re super summery and delicious, and a snap to make!

One simple dough doubles as both crust and topping. Just stir six ingredients together in a bowl, then firmly press about half the resulting mixture into the bottom of a square pan. Top it with a layer of simply-spiced blueberry pie filling, then press on the remaining dough. You’ll probably have a few gaps in the topping, but that’s okay—that’s where the jammy filling will peek through. Love that visual and textural diversity.

Blueberry Oat Squares​

Once baked and cooled completely, Blueberry Oat Squares can be sliced and served at room temperature or cold. They’re easy to stack and transport, and don’t need to be chilled at all times—this is a perfect picnic dessert if I’ve ever seen one. If you want to get a little fancy, you could even serve them lightly warmed and topped with ice cream and fresh blueberries. But while, in most cases, I identify as “a little fancy,” I’m happy to keep things simple here. For now, at least.

Blueberry Oat Squares
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 squares

Filling:
12 ounces fresh blueberries
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 medium lemon)

Dough:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil and grease with butter. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold them all together until combined. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and oats. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in melted butter—mixture may be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched.

Firmly press half the dough (about 2 cups) into an even layer at the bottom of the prepared pan.

Give blueberry filling a stir, then scatter over packed dough (leaving behind any excess liquid), leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Scatter remaining dough mixture over the top. Use the palms of your hands to gently pack it into a even layer, covering the jam.

Bake full pan for 25-27 minutes, or until golden and set on top. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Slice bars with a sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Do not try to slice bars until they are completely room temperature. Serve room temperature, cold, or warmed slightly with ice cream.

Bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Layer them with wax or parchment paper for best results.
Blueberry Oat Squares​
Blueberry Oat Squares​