Chewy, buttery blondies are the perfect dessert for potluck parties and holiday gatherings. They’re easy to make, easy to transport, and most importantly, a seriously delicious crowd-pleaser. If you’re looking to see your crowd really go wild this holiday season, you cannot go wrong with a decadent batch of Butter Pecan Blondies, rich and nutty with brown butter, topped off with a Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
If you find yourself short on time, both browning the butter and adding the frosting are optional, but don’t worry — the Butter Pecan Blondies are enough in-and-of their own to send raving reviews in your direction! In addition to a soft and gooey batch of Southern-inspired blondies, we’ll also cover the basics for browning butter, some time-saving recipe tips, and the secrets to a perfectly fluffy Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
BUTTER PECAN BLONDIES JUST MAKE SENSE
The Southern region of the U.S. is known for pecan groves, and it’s safe to say that pecans are a favorite amongst Southerners. They’re put to good use in all kinds of dishes, but they shine particularly bright in desserts.
Butter Pecan became a signature flavor for cakes, cookies, and ice creams alike. You’ll find any dessert boasting the “Butter Pecan” name possesses all of the following flavor components: Vanilla, nutty, buttery, and sweet, with just a hint of salt. It only made sense for Butter Pecan to lend its name to the blondie as well.
As the vanilla cousin of the brownie, blondies proved the perfect vessel for Butter Pecan to truly shine…especially when you incorporate brown butter into the mix. Once butter is browned, it takes on sort of a nutty quality, pairing extremely well with the pecans. While taking a few extra minutes to brown the butter is not necessary, it certainly doesn’t hurt.
BUTTER PECAN BLONDIE RECIPE OVERVIEW
Bar cookies are extremely easy to make and they require very few steps. There are plenty of ways to spruce up this recipe to make it extra decadent, but even at its most basic form, you’ll find these Butter Pecan Blondies extremely delicious.
- Melt the butter (and brown if you’d like).
- Mix dry ingredients.
- Mix butter, sugar, egg, yolk, and vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients to wet, and add pecans.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AND MAKING YOUR OWN MODIFICATIONS
You can either melt the butter in a microwave-safe dish or on the stovetop. If you are melting the butter on the stovetop, you’re pretty much half-way done making brown butter. As mentioned earlier, this is certainly not necessary, but it does add a lovely component to the Butter Pecan Blondies.
MAKING BROWN BUTTER
To make brown butter, you simply allow butter to sit over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until it begins to take on a caramel color and a nutty aroma. You may notice a collection of black specs forming at the bottom of the saucepan. These are “burnt” milk solids, and they can be strained out by simply using a fine-mesh sieve.
Once the butter has cooled slightly, it is combined with a combination of both granulated sugar and brown sugar. The combination of the sugars offers a nice balance, with just a hint of molasses from the brown sugar.
And, of course, we can’t have Butter Pecan Blondies without the pecans. Chopped pecans go in the batter before baking, and if you’re feeling extra decadent, throw in a handful of butterscotch chips as well.
And while we’re on the subject of decadent, let’s talk about that topping, shall we?
THE MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (OPTIONAL)
Once the blondies are baked and completely cooled, this recipe gives you the option to top them off with a fluffy Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, chopped pecans, crunchy toffee bits, and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce. But really, when is cream cheese frosting ever truly optional?
SECRETS TO A FLUFFY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
The secret to an extra fluffy cream cheese frosting is room temperature cream cheese and room temperature butter. If these ingredients are too cold, the sugar does not disperse properly. If the butter and/or cream cheese are too warm, you’d end up with a very wet frosting rather than a fluffy one.
Cream cheese will typically come to room temperature within a couple of hours on the countertop. Butter, however, takes a bit longer. To bring butter to room temperature, I put it on the counter the night before I intend to do my baking, and it keeps just fine.
However, if you forget to put out your ingredients or you happen to be an impulsive blondie eater, place on a microwave safe dish and microwave at 10-second intervals, turning the stick over after each interval. But, be sure to remove as soon as it starts to feel like it’s hit room temperature.
The cream cheese frosting adds a note of tang to the blondies, and the crunchy topping of toffee bits and pecans add an extra dimension of texture to the bars. As for the salted caramel on top? Well, that’s just a little drizzle of extra decadence.
They’re rich and nutty, soft and gooey, and everything you could want in a Southern-inspired dessert and more. Please, enjoy.
5 MORE DESSERT BAR RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Peanut Butter Butterfinger Blondies are decked out with peanut butter, crushed Butterfinger candy, and a drizzle of dark chocolate. They’re perfect for Halloween (or any day of the year, really)!
- Homemade Brownies with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting and Fresh Berries are as tasty as they are beautiful!
- Egg Hunt Blondies are an adorable, easy treat featuring chewy, vanilla blondies and a buttercream frosting. The icing looks like grass and the M&M’s across the top look like little eggs. The cutest Easter dessert ever!
- Fudgy Brownies with Walnuts are an easy and simple with bite-sized brownies and a quick-fix topping consisting of melted chocolate and chopped walnuts. A perfect chocolate treat for snacking, potluck parties, and giving as gifts!
- Classic Chocolate Brownies are soft, chewy, loaded with big chocolate flavor, and guaranteed to be the best you’ve ever had! They’re quick and easy to make and require only simple baking ingredients.
Blondies loaded with pecans and topped with a Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoon light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup butterscotch chips (optional)
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 3 tablespoons chopped toffee bits (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons store-bought salted caramel topping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° and have ready a greased 8"x8" baking dish.
To brown the butter (optional step), add butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring often. The butter is ready when it becomes caramel-like color and has a nutty fragrance. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and strain the butter. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
Add 3/4 cup of melted, browned butter to a large mixing bowl, along with the brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, yolk, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Add pecans and butterscotch chips (if using) and stir until evenly incorporated.
Bake for 25 minutes and allow to cool.
Allow the blondies to cool completely before icing.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. If you do not have a stand mixer, use a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer. Begin mixing on low speed, until most of the powdered sugar is mixed in, then increase the speed to medium-high. Mix until well-combined.
Add the salt, extract and desired amount of food coloring (if using), and mix once more.
Spread the icing evenly across the blondies, and sprinkle with pecans and toffee, then drizzle with caramel sauce. Cut into squares, serve, and enjoy.
Note, the amount of butter in the ingredient list does not match the amount of butter called for in the instructions. This is because if you are making brown butter, the butter is likely to reduce while simmering on the stovetop, so starting out with a higher quantity than needed is necessary.
MORE BROWN BUTTER RECIPES TO TRY
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Browned Butter Cauliflower
Cashew Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter
Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
Apple Blueberry Bliss
Snickers Cheesecake Bars with Brown Butter
Brown Butter Parmesan Corn
Brown Butter Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
Brown Butter Carrots
Dark Chocolate Brown Butter Brownies
Browned Butter Salted Caramel Sauce