Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Brown Butter Blondies with Chocolate and Almond

I have to admit when I want a sweet treat my mind doesn't gravitate towards blondies. I know...it's terrible. I want a fudgy brownie or a cupcake. A treat laden with chocolate. I see you nodding your head in agreement.  My mind doesn't think...mmm a blondie. I decided to re-think blondies after making these, and decided to make blondies again.  So I turned to the Bible of Cooking and Baking.  I knew they wouldn't steer me wrong. 

I did, however, have in my head that I wanted to change it a little bit. Eek, am I allowed to say that I think I improved upon the recipe? Am I allowed to say that? Well not having made the original recipe, I have no claim on that. I decided to brown the butter to up the caramelly flavor with the brown sugar. Trust me, if you do one thing. Brown. The. Butter. Don't be scared, follow this step by step tutorial on how to do so. The original recipe called for pecans, but I had almonds on hand. To ump the almond flavor, I decided to also swap out the vanilla extract and use almond extract instead. So if you don't like almond extract, what's wrong with you?! How do you not like almond extract?! I mean..keep the original vanilla extract and pecans. I finished off the delicious blondie by still adding in dark chocolate chunks and white chocolate chips.  I mean, come on, it's chocolate. You don't omit that.

All I can say is that after making these I have started thinking of all the endless possibiliteis of blondies.  Hmm...what to add next? Coconut? Peanut butter chips? Pretzel bits? All three....any suggestions?

Chocolate and Toasted Almond Blondies
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Please note: I actually ran out of brown sugar in the middle of making these! Eek! Luckily, one of my favorite bloggers came to the rescue and showed me how to quickly make my own brown sugar.

Print this recipe!

1 cups almonds, toasted and chopped
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted, browned and cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cups white chocolate chips

1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread nuts on large rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer nuts to cutting board to cool; chop coarsely and set aside.
3. While nuts toast, cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width). Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
4. In a saucepan, melt and brown your butter. As it cools, prepare your other ingredients.
5. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.
6. Whisk browned butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and almond extract and mix well.
7. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix.
8. Fold in chocolate and nuts and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.
9. Bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes; do not overbake. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

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