Chef Emerson’s Brown Butter Blondie Bites

Blondie Bites Emme

If you love brownies you will love its vanilla forward cousin, the “blondie”. The texture and chewiness of a blondie resembles a traditional, fudgy brownie however, the cocoa is substituted for vanilla and brown sugar replaces the granulated sugar. Being a bonafide vanilla lover myself, I really enjoy the delicious flavor of a well executed blondie.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it’s super kid friendly so you can get your little chefs in the kitchen and let them have it! The recipe comes from a great, easy to follow cookbook for kids entitled, The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen which in my opinion, is one of the BEST cookbook publishers out there. Their recipes are always easy to follow, delicious and fail proof.

My daughter made these beauties all on her own and except for a few very minor substitutions, she followed the recipe as written.

Emme Blondie Baker

The nice thing about this recipe is that because the blondies are baked in individual muffin cups they both bake and cool much more quickly. To enhance the flavor and give the blondies a more complex, nutty flavor she decided to first brown the butter which turned out to be an excellent idea. It really added to the richness and overall flavor. She also substituted the white chocolate chips that were called for and instead used Heath® Bit o’ Brickle pieces. Needless to say, these were a big hit in our home. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed (light or dark) brown sugar
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbs pure vanilla extract or paste
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or Heath® Bit o’ Brickle pieces

Instructions

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cooled melted butter until nice and smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Add to the wet ingredients the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to stir gently until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips or toffee pieces.

Using a spoon or cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups filling them up about halfway.

Bake for about 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven, place the blondie bites on a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

*To brown butter – In a light colored pan*, melt the desired amount of butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After 4-5 minutes the butter will begin to foam and bubble, keep stirring and watching it closely at this point. As the foaming begins to subside watch the color of the butter, once it looks slightly golden brown remove it from the heat and pour it into a bowl to cool. You will know the butter is browned and ready by the aroma, it should smell nutty and fragrant at this point.*

Oreo Cheesecake Brownie Bars

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Oh. My. God. These were absolutely one of the most divine treats that I’ve ever had! I made them for the first time a few months ago and they’ve since become a favorite in my house. It’s hard to decide which part of this decadent treat is best, the chewy ooey gooey brownie layer, the creamy cheesecake layer, or the crushed up Oreos on the top. Individually they are all delicious but when combined together in one bite, it’s out of this world!

I just happened to put on the “Today Show” one morning, which I usually don’t get to do anymore thanks to my TV hogging children, and I discovered this insanely awesome recipe. Elise Strachan of “My Cupcake Addiction” fame was on doing a cooking segment for summer treats and she made these Oreo Cheesecake Brownie Bars that the Today Show crew went nuts over. Not even kidding, I made these the next day and they were every bit as awesome as she promised they would be! I did not deviate from the original recipe at all, I followed her instructions to the letter and they turned out absolutely perfect. Bring a batch of these to your next get together and you will be a rock star!

Ingredients

For the brownie batter

  • 13 tablespoons (185 g or 6½ ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 7 ounces (200 g) good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups (270 g or 9½ ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (90 g or 3.2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (40 g or 1½ ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For the cheesecake batter 

  • 16 ounces (2 bricks) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping 

  • 48 Oreo cookies, broken into chunks
  • 1 package mini Oreo cookies

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 320°F.

Make the brownie batterIn a saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat OFF and then add the dark chocolate, stirring intermittently until the chocolate has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until they have almost doubled in size and are super light and fluffy, at least 7 minutes.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and gently fold the two together using big round figure-8 movements. Stop mixing as soon as you no longer see white streaks through the chocolate batter.

In another bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together. Sift the cocoa flour mix directly over the top of the chocolate mixture so it falls evenly. Fold together, again using big round figure-8 movements.

Spray a 9-inch x 13-inch pan with the cooking spray and line the base with parchment paper. Pour half of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and par-bake* for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cheesecake batterIn a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between each addition.

Stir in the cream, vanilla and 1½ cups of the crushed Oreo cookies.

Remove the partially cooked brownie from the oven. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the par-cooked brownie and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven and gently spread the remaining brownie batter over the cheesecake layer. Cover the brownie with chunks of crushed Oreo, adding some whole and halved mini Oreos throughout before returning to the oven for a further 20 minutes. The top should start to look a little flaky and the middle should spring back lightly when touched.

Cool completely in the pan (or preferably, chill overnight) before cutting into bars. Store the cut bars in the fridge, sealed tightly.

*Par-bake means to partially bake

Chewy Fudgy Brownies

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Brownies are a huge favorite in our house, especially dark, fudgy, super chewy ones. Those cake like brownies can take a hike! I adapted this recipe from the Sally’s Baking Addiction website and they are as good, if not better, than the box mix.

The key to good brownies is the chocolate. The higher quality chocolate you use, the better your brownie will be. I used semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate baking bars in this recipe but if you prefer a darker chocolate brownie, you can use a combination of semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate as well.

The recipes calls for a 9X9 square pan but I used an 8X8 because I prefer a thicker brownie, I just adjusted the cooking time to account for the smaller pan and thicker brownie. In addition, I increased the amount of chocolate called for in the recipe from 8 oz to 12 oz, I added 2 tbs of “Hershey’s Simply 5” chocolate syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, and a 1/4 cup of “Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips” to the batter.  I lightly sprinkled the brownies with a pinch of Fleur de Sel Salt as well. I love that sweet and salty combination in my desserts. Once the brownies were cooled, I covered them in dark chocolate frosting that I had leftover from a cake that I made the other day. (**You can find the frosting recipe HERE under Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake**)

Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting and serving. They will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a week.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 8 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs all purpose flour (spoon and leveled)
  • 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

**NOTE** – To exactly replicate my adapted version, you will also need:

  • 2 tbs Hershey Simply 5 Chocolate Syrup
  • 4 oz of additional chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips
  • Pinch of Fleur de Sel salt

Instructions

Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stir constantly. Remove from heat and cool for about 10 minutes.

Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 9X9 square pan with foil or parchment paper, leave an overhang on all sides.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. Whisk the granulated and brown sugars into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Once combined, add the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for about 35-36 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull from the side of the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with only a few moist crumbs on it. Because oven temps vary, keep an eye on the brownies after 30 minutes.

Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan on top of a wire rack. Once cooled, lift them from the pan using the overhang. If you plan on frosting them, do that before you begin your cuts. For very neat cut squares, use a sharp knife and wipe clean with a paper towel after every cut. Enjoy!