Brown Butter Apple Blondies

These soft and chewy brown butter apple blondies combine cinnamon-spiced apples, brown sugar, and flavorful brown butter. We’ll top them with brown butter icing, a reader favorite icing that I also use for peach Bundt cake and pistachio cookies. If you love apple desserts like I do, these are a must-make!

stack of 2 apple blondies

Alternate title for this recipe: Butter

Let’s celebrate apples with immensely buttery blondies. We’re using 2 sticks of butter in these brown butter apple blondies and we definitely shouldn’t think twice about it!! The good news is that this recipe makes a large 9×13 inch pan, so there’s plenty to share.

But the bad news is… you have to share them.

These Brown Butter Apple Blondies Are:

  • Cinnamon-spiced
  • Soft and sweet
  • Chewy, not cakey
  • Flavored with brown sugar and brown butter
  • Bursting with apples
  • Totally not diet food. Oh well!

apple blondies on a white plate

How to Make Brown Butter Apple Blondies

Listen up because there’s a few steps to conquer before we take that first bite.

  1. Brown the butter first. We’ll use brown butter in the blondies and in the icing. Pour the browned butter into a heat-proof bowl, then return the pan to the stove. No need to clean the pan because we’re using it in the next step.
  2. Peel, chop, and gently cook the apples. You *could* stir the apples right into the blondie batter, but the apples taste much better if they’re slightly softened first. Cook the chopped apples on the stove for only 3-5 minutes. We’ll cook them with a little maple syrup (or brown sugar) and cinnamon. IT’S ALL SO GOOD!
  3. Make the blondie batter. There’s no electric mixer required for this recipe! Whisk some of the brown butter with brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the apples, then spread into a 9×13 inch pan.
  4. Bake until lightly browned on top. The blondies take about 35 minutes.
  5. As the blondies cool, prepare the icing. Mix the remaining brown butter with confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.

Here are the gently cooked apples and the blondie batter:

sautéed cinnamon apples in a skillet

2 images of apple blondies batter in a glass bowl and spread in a baking pan

The Magic of Brown Butter

Let’s talk about brown butter. I actually created a landing page for all things brown butter including the quick process, success tips, and a video tutorial. Brown butter is a one ingredient wonder and vasty improves the flavor in any dish where it’s used, including these blondies. (By the way, I highly recommend browning butter for butterscotch blondies too!) Brown butter by gently cooking and stirring it on the stove until its milk solids toast and it has a nutty aroma. This takes anywhere between 5-8 minutes, so it’s a pretty quick step.

And well worth every single second. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll have liquid gold:

brown butter in a glass bowl

How to Brown Butter Video Tutorial

Brown Butter Icing

The blondies don’t *need* icing, just like we don’t *need* to binge watch Netflix on a Sunday night. But we want it, so we’ll do it.

This is the same brown butter icing we use for pistachio cookies, skillet cornmeal cake, and brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies. It’s remarkable and readers have been raving about it on my peach Bundt cake. Try it on scones and cinnamon rolls too. (You won’t regret this icing, unlike the 4 hours of Netflix binge watching.)

apple blondies with brown butter icing removed from baking pan

squares of brown butter apple blondies

More Apple Treats

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stack of apple blondies

Brown Butter Apple Blondies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 24 blondies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These soft and chewy brown butter apple blondies combine cinnamon-spiced apples, brown sugar, and flavorful brown butter. For extra flavor, top with brown butter icing. Read recipe notes prior to beginning.


Ingredients

Apples

  • 2 cups peeled chopped apples (about 2 medium apples)
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup (or brown sugar)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Blondies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces*
  • 2 and 1/3 cups (291g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 and 2/3 cups (330g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Brown Butter Icing

  • 1/4 cup (60gunsalted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180gconfectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Important before you begin! I recommend browning the butter for the blondies and icing first. You can brown the butter for both the blondies AND the icing together. Once it’s all browned, set 4 Tablespoons (2 liquid ounces) aside for the icing in step 8. The rest (8 liquid ounces) is for the blondie batter, used in step 6.
  2. Brown the butter: Slice the butter into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning and you’ll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. You will smell a nutty aroma. See photo and video above for a visual. Once browned, immediately remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof bowl, and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Prepare the apples: Meanwhile, return the pan to the stove. (No need to rinse out!) Add the apples, maple syrup/brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir and cook over medium heat until apples have slightly softened, about 3-5 minutes. Set apples aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished blondies out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
  5. Make the blondies: Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup browned butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the apples. Batter will be thick.
  7. Evenly spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out *mostly* clean. Remove from the oven and allow the blondies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
  8. Brown butter icing: Heat the remaining 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) of brown butter in the microwave for a few seconds since it has likely solidified by now. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. If needed, add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more milk to thin out. Drizzle over cooled blondies, then cut into squares.
  9. Cover and store leftover iced blondies at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Iced or plain blondies freeze well up to 3 months. Arrange in even layers in a large freezer container between sheets of parchment. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then allow to come to room temperature before icing and/or serving.
  2. Apples: Use your favorite variety of apples. I prefer tart Granny Smith apples since the blondies are pretty sweet. Peel and chop into bite-sized pieces before using.

Keywords: apples, bars

apple blondies with brown butter icing

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149 Comments

  1. These turned out great! They are very sweet though, even with just half the icing. I would cut down the sugar slightly if I were baking for people with less of a sweet tooth. My one issue is that the bars fell apart quite easily. Is that normal? Any advice?

  2. I made these for Halloween and they were so delicious! Very sweet and decadent but will definitely make again for special occasions I halved the recipe and they turned out great!

  3. I made this last night and it’s so sweet, till i got toothache lol,so I decided not to frost it at all, it’s so chewy like you can’t stop when you began to eat it, I add sour raisin to balance the sweetness but it’s still that sweet, maybe next time I’ll reduce the sugar, but overall this blonde is really something, love it,Thanks Sally

  4. Could these be baked in a muffin tin?!?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Grace, We haven’t tested it so I’m unsure of the bake time they would need, but I don’t see why not!

  5. JoAnn Delwiche says:

    They’re a bit more labor intensive than I like which for our family did not translate to the rave reviews. Sally is correct-they’ve quite decadent. Good but not great. Nonetheless we tried them. Sally has great recipes

  6. Hallelujur these are good!!! I’ve been a little meh about some of the recipes. This one is AMAZING!!!! oh man. That browned butter just makes it amazing! Thank you!! Im going to wow my dad with this at Thanksgiving!

  7. Sally, these look great and I plan to make them this week, however I have a question. Whenever I have made blondies, the edges cook much quicker and become hard. I find I have to trim all the edges away before serving. Is there a technique to avoid this issue or do you suggest using cake pan wraps? Thanks.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jay, Any chance you are using a convection/fan oven? In our experience the flow of air causes baked goods to bake unevenly and also pulls moisture out of the air. If using convection the general rule of thumb is to lower your oven by 25 degrees F. But either way you can definitely cover the top (or even just the edges) of the pan partway through the bake time if you notice the edges browning before the center is baked through.

  8. These were delicious! I didn’t have Granny Smith apples, so I a added a splash of lemon juice to the apple mixture. I also the followed the suggestion of using reduced apple cider in the icing, as well as a dash of heavy cream. The texture was cakier than I anticipated, but was still moist. We loved them so much that I’m making them again for Thanksgiving. Thanks for a new family favorite!

  9. I was a little disappointed. After reading reviews I had high expectations but found these to be “just ok.” These definitely don’t taste like blondies, but more like an apple cake or muffin. I also would use foil instead of parchment paper to avoid sticking.

  10. I am a follower of your website and use many of your recipes. Yesterday I made two of your items…these Apple Blondies and the Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins. The Pumpkin Cheesecake muffins were amazing, and everyone loved them…especially the streusel topping. Unfortunately the Apple Blondies did not go over well at all. Two main issues… 1. They were unbelievably sweet. In fact, my teeth hurt after trying one small square. 2. It wasn’t a Blondie, and instead came out as a cake. I think of a blondie as a dessert bar, similar to a brownie but not with chocolate. These were cakey. I believe I followed the recipe exactly. Was disappointed, as I had high hope for a great Blondie.

  11. Mine also came out more like a snack cake than a blondie – not chewy or cookie like but tasty…I can’t figure out what I did wrong!

  12. These were awesome, the brown butter is incredible. Made twice in the last month – def more apple-ly than blondie but we loved it!

  13. I’ve made these blondies four times now, and they are FABULOUS every time! Everyone that’s tried them raves about them!
    These are thick and chewy just like a brownie, and are perfectly flavored with just the right amount of spices. They are sweet enough by themselves, but the brown butter icing is JUST SO GOOD! When I make a batch, I leave some without the icing, drizzle some with a little, and some with extra so that everyone can enjoy them based on how sweet they like their treats!
    Not sure why other reviewers had texture issues with their batches, but I’m guessing their measurements were off. I ALWAYS weigh my ingredients now vs. using measuring cups – an important skill learned from Sally! 🙂
    Thank you, Sally, for your awesome recipes, videos, tips and tricks. You’ve rekindled my love for baking, bringing me (and everyone I share my baking with) lots of joy in a not so joyous time. Much love!

  14. Loved them!

  15. Just tried it. Amazing texture. Fantastic taste. I used frozen blueberries instead of apples (simmered in maple syrup to evaporate some of the liquid), kids live it.

  16. Delicious blondies, thank you!

  17. For anyone looking for a denser blondie: I’ve made these twice and first time I followed the recipe exactly using Pink Lady (sweet) apples which Resulted in a cake-like, intensely sweet cake that would work well as a coffee cake of sorts. The second time I used Granny Smith and reduced baking powder to 1 tsp which had a more balanced flavor and had a more dense texture. I preferred the texture of the bars with less baking powder.

  18. Tastes delicious. Though I think I got the brown butter icing wrong. I mixed and mixed and mixed but it seems as though the mixture split. What did I do wrong?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Wendy, for next time, you can try adding a bit more confectioners’ sugar to help thicken and bring the icing together. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

  19. This is by far the best apple recipe ever, possibly even my new favorite dessert! The bars are the perfect amount of sweet and taste like fall as a bar. I am in love with the flavor of the brown butter! Thank you Sally!

    1. When I took them out of the oven, it seemed like the top apples “sunk” down a bit and left little air pockets. Not a big deal but not quite the aesthetic I was going for. Any ideas as to what I did wrong? My baking powder and flour are fresh.

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Tamara! That’s completely normal as the apples will shrink a bit when baked. Nothing a little brown butter icing can’t fix! You can also try cutting the apples lightly smaller next time.

  20. When my husband goes on his fall fishing trip, his buddies always ask for these. They love them!! Quick question – when I brown the butter, I always end up with less (not the 10 liquid ounces). I’m not sure why this happens, maybe evaporation? I just brown more butter. What am I doing wrong? There is some pressure to make these right since they guys love them so much.

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mickie, Some of the liquid evaporates during the cooking process, so always measure the brown butter after you cook it. We have some great tips in our post, How to Brown Butter.

  21. I hesitated making these after ready reviews but was super curious. I under-baked them and rushed the cooling and icing and then we tried them slightly warm and while the flavors were awesome we weren’t super impressed. The next day we decided they were too sweet and I cut them up and put them in the fridge. The next try was a whole new experience… so good! To summarize, these are awesome cold!

  22. No exaggeration, I do believe this is the best thing I have ever baked. Sweet, tangy, warm. The perfect Fall dessert! I will make this again and again.

  23. Let me first say that I thought these were delicious!! I made them for my husband to bring to work, and he received multiple comments that included the phrase “the best thing I have ever tasted.” That being said, I was wondering if you have ever reduced the amount of APF and added some portion of whole wheat/white whole wheat flour. Always looking for ways to make delicious desserts feel even the tiniest bit less guilty!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sara, We are so happy these were a hit! We have not tested these with whole wheat flour, but if you do decide to swap out some of the all purpose for the same amount of whole wheat, expect a more dense and hearty texture. Let us know if you give it a try!

      1. I just made these again with 1 cup APF and 1 and 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour, and I still think they were delicious!!

  24. After making and trying these I immediately texted the people that went apple picking with us that they had to make these as well!
    More appley than blondie as another commenter said, but delicious! I reduced the sugar just a bit and I would half the icing recipe because it came as too much icing. Delicious!!

  25. These are so delicious! They are worth every calorie! 🙂

  26. Made today for first time, flavor was great however were very dry. I used brown sugar instead of maple syrup, would that have made them dry. I even cooked them 5 minutes less then recommended baking time.
    Any suggestions appreciated.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi David, how did you measure your flour? Be sure to spoon and level, otherwise there could be too much flour in the batter which contributes to a dry product. Also, it’s possible the blondies were just slightly over baked (it’s possible your oven may run hotter than it reads). Even an extra minute or two can dry out baked goods. Hope this helps for next time!

  27. So tasty, they were gone in 1 day! Do you think these would work if you removed the apple? Or could I sub with something else? Just in case we aren’t feeling the apple part. Thanks for yet another awesome recipe!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leslie, You can leave the apples out without making other changes. We do have a few other flavors your family may also enjoy. Just type “blondies” into the search bar at the top of this page for more options!

  28. Made these today for a get together tomorrow. They look like yours but they are dry, super disappointed will probably not serve them.

  29. These are wonderful and relatively easy. I used Northern Spy apples ftom Michigan, which are very crispy and tart. I think they taste best after being at room temp for a couple days.

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