Espresso Blondies with Browned Butter and Chocolate Chunks

In high school and college, I ate a peanut butter sandwich almost every single day. It was the perfect lunch or snack prior to track practice. After eight years of daily peanut butter intake, I developed an intolerance and have been unable to eat the stuff ever since. Luckily, almond butter doesn’t induce the same response so I can still get a creamy, nutty fix. While I usually stick to good ole plain almond butter, these blondies were inspired by one of my favorite flavored almond butters: Vanilla Espresso Almond Butter.

There is browned butter to add a caramelized flavor, but significantly less than most recipes would call for; I make up for it by including a few tablespoons of almond butter. I’ve also added espresso powder and vanilla, along with a healthy dose of chopped chocolate. Note- the espresso flavor is not subtle here, this is for coffee lovers!

Espresso blondies: spread in pan, bake, slice, enjoy!

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons almond butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can replace with all-purpose flour, if desired)
1 cup chopped chocolate chunks, varying sizes
flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 360 deg F.

Prepare an 8×8-inch pan by greasing it or lining with foil or parchment paper. Alternatively, bake in a greased, 8-inch round pan.

Brown butter in a small pan over medium heat. It will bubble and froth, then crackle, then brown. Watch it carefully and swirl the pan frequently so it doesn’t burn. It should smell nutty and carmely, and the solids at the bottom of the pan should be golden brown. Pour into large bowl and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

To the browned butter, add almond butter and brown sugar and whisk until well combined. Add the egg, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt and whisk until shiny. Gradually add in the flour and stir gently. While there are still streaks of flour throughout, add in chocolate chunks. Mix until evenly distributed.

Spread dough into prepared pan. Top with a pinch of flaked sea salt, if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges are just golden brown. Cool completely before removing from pan. Slice and enjoy. These keep for several days at room temp (if they last that long) or for several months in the freezer.


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