When I look at the words in the title of this post, I see so many of my favorite things. All the ingredients in this blondie recipe are some of my absolutely favorite baking ingredients, and it’s wonderful that they all play so nicely together. Browned butter, caramel, pecans, and chocolate chips just must be the best of friends, because they seriously love each other in this recipe, and each element works so nicely with the others to create a RICH, but totally delicious and sinful dessert bar.
These blondies use the same base blondie recipe as these Browned Butter Butterscotch Bars (also awesome), which is easy to make and doesn’t require a whole lot of ingredients. The result is a rich, dark, almost chocolate-y looking base because of how deep and dark the browned butter and dark brown sugar make the bars. The taste is buttery and caramelized and everything that caramel lovers appreciate in a good blondie. They get about as “fudgy” as a blondie can manage to be, and the words dry and crumbly will never ever be associated with these babies.
Of course, in my world, adding chocolate chips, caramel sauce, caramel bits, and pecans to anything improves them 10 fold. If you’re not a pecan fan, replace them with your favorite nut or just leave them out all together, but I loooove the crunch that they add.
I’m a major pecan person, but I get it. We’re not all nutzo about nutz (like me). Do what you like. Do what makes you happy (you’re welcome for the innovative life advice).
The caramel makes the blondie base taste even more caramelized and buttery and rich and yummy, and the caramel bits give a lil’ bit of chew that adds a nice texture contrast to the crunchy pecans. And chocolate chips…well, they do what chocolate chips do: make everything chocolatey and melty and heaven-like. Can you tell I like chocolate chips?
Dessert bars are just too easy, so I really do recommend you try these guys out. Your family, friends, and co-workers will thank you. Mine sure did. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup caramel bits (or caramel squares cut into quarters)
- 1/2 cup pre-made caramel sauce
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- Place butter in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium-low to medium heat. Butter will melt, then begin to bubble and foam. Brown specks will begin to form in the bottom of the pan, with a white foam will appear on top of the melted butter. Stir the butter very frequently to prevent burning. It should smell very nutty and the butter in the bottom of the pan should have brown flecks in it. This process should take 2-4 minutes. Butter can go from being browned and nutty-smelling to burnt and inedible in less than one minute. Watch for the brown specks and once you see them, remove the pan from the burner, continuing to whisk for another 30 seconds. Transfer butter into large mixing bowl and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- Add the brown sugar to the browned butter and whisk to combine. Add the egg, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix. Fold in the chocolate chips, pecans, and caramel bits. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife. Drizzle half of the caramel over over the batter. Cover with remaining batter, and drizzle rest of the caramel sauce on top.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bars are set. The edges will be slightly pulling away from sides of pan. Allow bars to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving into 16 squares. I like to refrigerate them before cutting to make them easier to cut.
Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.