[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

The French are old hands at incorporating the nutty, toasted flavor of beurre noisette (i.e. brown butter) into their pastries. It's a simple trick, but one that can totally change the nature of your dessert. By heating butter over low heat, you separate the butter into butterfat and milk solids. The milk solids begin to brown and gives the butter a toffee-like flavor.

I recently brought this technique to an all-American treat: the blondie. It made perfect sense as blondies already have a butterscotch-y, caramel-y flavor thanks to ample amounts of brown sugar and some vanilla. Adding browned butter simply takes that same flavor profile up a notch.

These are great cut into 1-inch squares and served as dessert at a cocktail party or with coffee after a low key dinner. A few bites gives you a ton of flavor, and for those who care, it's on trend with the whole "childhood treats given an adult spin" that's sweeping pastry departments these days. Of course if you want to eat a whole big blondie straight from the pan, you won't get any judgment from me.

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios


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