Tag Archives: salty & sweet

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.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel ShortbreadAs I write this, New York City is expecting snow. It’s hard to believe, considering that it reached 60 degrees on Wednesday, but we are all preparing for ten inches of snow. Schools are set to be closed, Trader Joe’s is out of everything, and everyone has trudged home with their essentials. I’ve got my pound of cornmeal.

Is it snowing where you are? If not, I’m giving you permission to pretend it is. Go put on your softest pajama pants. I’ll wait.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel ShortbreadNow that you’re calling in to work and pretending you’ve got a winter wonderland outside your kitchen window, I think you should make some cookies. What says snow day comfort food more than cookies? Well, maybe Hot Chocolate. But you’ve got to have a cookie to go with it.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel ShortbreadToday, let’s make Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread. It’s crunchy and a little crumbly, studded with nubbly bits of salty pretzel, and dipped in chocolate. It’s what salty-sweet snow day dreams are made of. The shortbread base comes together with minimal ingredients in just a few minutes and has a light caramel flavor that is out. of. this. world. It’s only enhanced by the addition of crushed honey wheat pretzels.

The dough gets pressed into an even layer and briefly frozen before being sliced into bars and baked. You will want to try these shortbread straight from the oven, but you should wait a few extra minutes to dip them in milk chocolate. Let the chocolate set and then grab two. You’re going to want two.Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread
makes about 4 dozen

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup crushed honey wheat pretzels

Chocolate Dip:
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon corn syrup (or Lyle’s Golden Syrup)

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat until combined. Add vanilla extract and combine. With the mixer running on low, add in flour mixture in two installments, mixing until it is just incorporated. Fold in pretzels. Dough will be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched.

Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment. Place dough in pan. Using another sheet of parchment, press dough into an even layer in the pan. Freeze for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Remove dough from pan to a cutting board and use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice it into 24 pieces.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place sliced shortbread at least 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom racks at the 8 minute mark. Shortbread are done when the edges start to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.

While cookies are cooling, prepare chocolate dip. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and microwave for one minute. Stir. Add coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate is smooth. Stir in corn syrup. Dip cookies in chocolate one by one, removing any excess with the side of a fork. Lay them on the parchment-lined sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes, or until chocolate is set.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzel Shortbread