Brown Butter Toffee Bars

Sometimes, only chocolate isn’t enough.Brown Butter Toffee Bars

These golden blondies include chopped toffee and browned butter which makes for a sweet and very butterscotchy bar. Browning the butter is a technique that tips these bars to sublime. It’s easy to brown butter: Simply melt and simmer the butter until it turns a deep amber color and has a toasty, nutty aroma. This step takes minutes, so it’s important to keep an eye on the butter while it browns, as it can change quickly from light to dark. It’s a step worth doing, and a wonderful addition to your favorite cookies and bars. You’re welcome.

Brown Butter Toffee Bars

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes about 25 (1 1/2-inch) bars

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melt and brown, cool
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toffee bars, about 5 ounces
1/2 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, about 2 ounces
Sea salt for sprinkling, optional

1. Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bodied saucepan over medium heat, whisking frequently. Continue to heat the melted butter until it begins to foam and then subsides, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue to cook until the butter has a deep amber color with a nutty, toasted aroma. (Keep a careful eye on the butter, since it can quickly go from brown to burnt.) When the butter has browned, remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter into a heat-resistant bowl to stop the cooking process. Cool completely. (At this point, you can use the butter as-is, or strain the butter through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer to remove the brown bits. I like to keep the brown bits for extra flavor.)

2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking ban and line with parchment.

3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl

4. Whisk the sugars, egg, and yolk in a large bowl until light, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the cooled butter and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour and stir to combine. Stir in the toffee and chocolate.

5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with sea salt, if using. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted comes clean, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. Cut into squares.

Salted Caramel Blondie Bars

Salted Caramel Blondie Bars

You might call these “everything but the kitchen sink bars” but Salted Caramel Blondie Bars (with chocolate and oats) pretty much sums up these rich and chewy nuggets. What prompted this recipe was my discovery of a forgotten jar of homemade salted caramel sauce in the back of the refrigerator. I know: You are thinking, how could anyone forget caramel? Good question, and I admit I’m not proud. To rectify my oversight, I quickly whipped up these blondies today to satisfy a sweet craving, and to start building our sugar tolerance in the lead up to Halloween at the end of the month. To balance out all of the sweet ingredients, a sprinkling of sea salt over the top of the bars helps to tame the excess – which (naturally) enables us to eat more.

Salted Caramel Blondie Bars with Chocolate and Oats

The addition of oats is optional. If oats are omitted, then increase the amount of flour to 2 cups. Makes 36 small squares.

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan. Line with parchment and butter the parchment. Whisk the brown sugar and butter together in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add to the sugar and butter, stirring to incorporate. Stir in the oats and chocolate. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Drop spoonfuls of the caramel over the batter. Using a sharp knife, swirl the caramel through the batter to evenly distribute. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt. Bake in oven until top begins to turn golden brown and bars are set, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack.