Butterscotch may conjure up images of hard, toffee-like candies, but the building blocks of butterscotch are just brown sugar, butter and vanilla and it is easy to infuse a butterscotch flavor into many different recipes by using these elements. These Butterscotch and Walnut Blondies are a perfect example. The blondies use a generous amount of brown sugar that melds well with the flavor of the butter in the blondie batter and delivers a rich and not-too-sweet butterscotch flavor to these satisfyingly chewy bar cookies.
The blondies are easy to make and only require a few ingredients, all of which you probably have in your pantry if you bake on a regular basis. The most important element of these brownies is the brown sugar, which is what really gives them their butterscotch flavor. Light brown or golden brown sugar is the best choice for this recipe, as dark brown sugar will give the brownies a stronger molasses note that will dominate the butterscotch. Like my basic brownie recipe, these don’t use any leavening. This ensures that they keep a chewy texture, a very tight crumb and don’t become cakey or dry when they’re in the oven.
My favorite part of these blondies is the contrast between the chewiness of the blondies themselves and the crispness of the walnuts. I use untoasted walnuts, which still have a nice crunch but seem to have a more pronounced buttery flavor to them than toasted walnuts. You could use other nuts in these, though the walnuts work so well that they’re bound to win you over even if you’re not a big walnut fan.
Butterscotch and Walnut Blondies
1/2 cup butter
1 cup + 1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in salt, egg and vanilla extract until well combined. Add in flour and stir just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in walnuts. Pour batter – it will be very thick – into prepared baking dish and press it into an even layer with a spatula.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until bars are set and the edges are lightly browned. Cool in the pan before slicing.