Friday, February 18, 2011

Browned Butter and Brown Sugar "Brownies"

 (Why yes, this is a lame photo. Trust me, tastes better then this photo would have you believe!)

Browned butter cookies is a household (family-wide) favorite cookie. I try to keep a bag of this dough frozen at all times, so when the need for a cookie strikes we are just minutes away from a fix. Sadly, this stash has been used up. Levi, as lovely as he is, isn't condusive to making a huge batch of rolled cookie dough. We needed a faster way to get our browned butter, brown sugar fix.

I started thinking about the ease of one-bowl brownies (which we modify by using less butter and eggs for a fudgier end product.) This recipe is all made up in a sauce pan, instead of a bowl, and is in the oven in 10 minutes or less. The key is to under cook the "brownie" slightly and let it cool before digging in. If you bake until the center is completely set the end product is just too dry.

In these photos I swirled in a square of bittersweet chocolate I had broken up. It added a lovely swirl and changed the flavor a bit - closer to a chocolate chip cookie. Either way, these get gobbled up!

The key to the flavor of these bars is the browned butter. It isn't too hard, but you do have to pay attention to the butter. After the butter melts, swirl it with a wooden spoon, watching carefully. My butter always develops a foam of butter on top of the melted butter. These are the milk fats. I have found that just about the time the bubbles die down the butter begins to brown and take on a delicious nutty smell. As soon as this happens turn off the heat. That is the key, the smell. So keep your nose close to the pan.

This makes a small pan of sweets. I use a 6x8 Pyrex pan. You can double it for a larger amount.

Browned Butter and Brown Sugar "Brownies"
3 tablespoons butter (divided)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or less of table salt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup flour
(optional: 1 square finely chopped chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Put a medium sauce pan over med-high heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in pan. Brown butter following directions above.
2. Turn off heat once butter is nutty smelling and browned. Add additional 1 tablespoon of butter and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
3. Let this mixture cool for a few minutes, then stir in egg, vanilla, and salt.
4. Then stir in baking powder and flour.
5. Pour into a greased baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until edges are set, but middle slightly gooey.

Let rest at least 20 minutes before eating.

Oh, if you are feeling creative you could make these and the brownies and do this!

I feel like these would be great with dried fruit in them. May try that next time the sugar cravings hit!
Do you have a go to easy sweet?


  1. O my that looks so yummy! I see you are from Portland-I am a fellow Oregonian, down here in Springfield. I hope you check out my blog and see something you might like. Have a great day.

  2. Hi Jo,
    I enjoy your blog very much. Your food looks so delicious! My husband and I (and two babies and a dog) are thinking of relocating to Portland in a few years. We now live in Chicago. Both of us (I just resigned) work for Chicago Public Schools, and we want to do some research on working situations first. Is there any way I can ask you a few questions about teaching in Portland? Here is my email address: It'll be great if you can email me. Hope you don't mind me asking on your blog. Thank you! Yuki