I have a hazy memory of a Saturday afternoon with my father and little sister, standing in line at Dairy Queen. It’s one of those memories that has a cloudy, golden overlay - the kind that makes it impossible to see the fine details of the day, leaving only the general picture for reminiscing. I am pretty sure we were wearing bathing suits, which means that a day of fishing had likely taken place beforehand. There we stood, waiting in line for free ice-cream cones that were being handed out to all of us very hot, dairy-loving Virginians.
For some reason, I must have been feeling adventurous that day because I forsook my beloved chocolate-dipped cone for a butterscotch encased cone of fluffy ice cream.
Looking back, I am sure that this once-heavenly cone was not as revolutionary as my eight-year-old mind imagined it to be, but at that time, on that hot day - it was perfect.
Aside from its role in that singularly perfect cone and its nostalgic qualities, butterscotch does not often cross my mind.
However, after a request from my fiancé, I figured it was time for butterscotch to reenter my life.
Of course, I could have simply poured this sweet butterscotch sauce over vanilla ice cream and called it a day, but this is the weekend and we have time to be a little fancy.
Blondies need baking makeup. Unlike their chocolatey cousin, blondies just don’t do it for me on their own, so I poured a pan of butterscotch and a handful of smokey, salty almonds on top. It seemed like the right thing to do.
I’ve been wondering what my eight-year-old self would have thought of smoked almonds. She likely would have been unimpressed and asked for the honey-glazed peanuts instead. The things I didn’t know…
Something about the combination of smoked almonds and butterscotch is magical. The geek in me is seriously thinking about trying to smoke cream for a smoked vanilla ice cream that I could pair with this sauce. Hmm. Definitely putting that one on the list.
These blondies are super easy. Like, you could make them with your five year old, and you should…unless they have tendencies to eat flour like my little cousins used to, then maybe you should just bake during nap time.
What do I know about kids? Not much. But, I’m good at feeding them sugary things, which makes up for all other shortcomings -- at least that’s what I tell myself.
Melted butter and brown sugar gives these blondies a rich, buttery foundation that keeps them soft and chewy. I tested these little darlings twice. The first time I used baking powder, and bleh. They were cakey and crumbly and just…really bad. For the second batch, I used baking soda and they were perfect! That, my friends, is the powering of leavening.
No beating required, just a wooden spoon and a strong arm.
Drizzled with butterscotch, sprinkled with almonds and we are almost done! Pour yourself a glass of milk and set the oven timer.
Simple and sophisticated, salty and sweet - and there you have it, blondies have more fun.
Butterscotch Blondies with Smoked Almonds & Sea Salt
makes 9 / butterscotch recipe adapted from Deb Perelman
for the butterscotch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Once the butter has melted, whisk in brown sugar, salt, and heavy cream. Bring to a slow boil and cook for five minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Allow to cool while you prepare the blondie batter.
for the blondies
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup smoked almonds
- sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk to combine egg and brown sugar. Whisk in melted butter.
Sift to combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
Grease an 8-inch baking pan and spread the batter evenly into the pan. Drizzle with prepared butterscotch sauce and use a small spatula to swirl the sauce through the top of the batter. Sprinkle smoked almonds on top of the blondies and press the almonds gently into the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the center looks almost set, but still slightly underdone.
Allow the blondies to cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!