Redolent with brown butter and bourbon, moist and chock full of fruit, these bars are the best of butterscotch blondies and apple pie rolled in one–and would be delicious a la mode, I’m just saying.
Makes 9 good-sized blondies
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium apple (preferably a variety good for baking like granny smith)
- 1 tsp neutral vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- a pinch of cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt + a pinch
- 1 cup white flour (I used unbleached)
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp bourbon
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
Peel the apple and dice into small cubes around 1/4-1/3 inch (7 mm). Butter or line with parchment a 8×8 square pan (a 9-inch cake pan will also work in a pinch).
To brown the butter, melt it in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, swirling occasionally, until the butter is a nice medium-brown color (detailed instructions here). Remove from heat, transfer to a heat-proof container, and set aside to cool in the refrigerator or freezer.
Add the oil to the now empty pan and return it to the heat. Then add the diced apple, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt and stir, scraping the bottom to get any remaining brown butter solids mixed in. Saute for 3-5 minutes, stirring periodically. Then reduce to low heat and add the lemon juice, scraping the bottom of the pan really well. Continue cooking until the excess liquid has cooked away and then remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and remaining 1/4 tsp of salt. Add egg, vanilla, bourbon, and brown butter (make sure it’s cooled enough to avoid cooking the egg) and use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix until the flour is mostly incorporated. Add the apples and mix well.
Bake for about 25 minutes. Until dry to the touch in the center and golden brown at the edge of the pan. They will be paler than regular blondies. Let cool completely in the pan (or at least 15 minutes), and then cut into squares. These are best eaten within a couple days.