It’s officially autumn. There, I said it. Someone had to, before we start leaving the house without bike lights, trying to pair our floaty skirts with un-matching woolly tights and continuing to buy nectarines that might as well be labelled ‘apples’. I’m sorry, I tried to break the news gently.
I have a certain image of what autumn should be filled with. It includes long walks kicking leaves, crisp air on sunny mornings, snuggling on the sofa with pumpkin soup, collecting conkers on evenings with long shadows, smores and toffee apples by log fires. You know, the kind of autumn that American mothers on Pinterest portray.
Then reality hits. It’s filled with cycling in the rain, UCAS deadlines, runny noses and wishing it was Christmas already.
But all is not lost! These blondies will bring you all the crunchy leaves, pumpkin carving, crisp air, scarf knitting and apple picking you could need. They’re autumn in a mouthful, and truly delicious with it.
And please do not be freaked by the rosemary. Its addition MAKES these blondies. I sort of nicked the flavour combination from a long standing idol Lily Vanilli whose inspired apple and rosemary cake transformed the way I use this herb. I never would have thought of adding it to sweet dishes but it totally, 100%, most definitely works.
So whip out those windfall apples your neighbours keep bringing round, brown that butter and bless your tastebuds with slice of awesome. Sorry, I meant AUTUMN.
Apple, rosemary and brown butter blondies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
190g unsalted butter
100g dark brown sugar
100g light brown sugar
110g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped (about 3 sprigs)
100g dark chocolate, cut into chunks
2 apples, chopped into 1cm-ish chunks (I use granny smiths)
Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/180°C and grease and line a 18 x18 cm baking tin with baking paper.
Place your butter in a small saucepan and heat until it’s melted. Once melted, turn up the heat and watch it like a hawk, it can easily go past ‘brown’ and onto black. It will start to bubble and spit; don’t be alarmed, just be careful. At a certain point it will start to foam and you will be unable to see below the very thick froth. Keep heating until it smells fragrant and the butter’s turned an amber colour. Take it off the heat and pour into the bowl to cool for about 5 minutes. Make sure you scrape any little brown bits into the bowl as well; they’re what give it its flavour.
Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla to the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Next sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and fold into the mixture. Mix in the chocolate and apple chunks and chopped rosemary. Once combined, pour the batter into your baking tin and bake for 50-55 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean. I’ve undercooked these beauties too many times, note to self: you don’t want a wobble like you want with brownies, they should be reasonably firm.
Allow the blondies to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack. Remove the baking paper, cut into 16 pieces or as desired and sprinkle with light brown sugar. Eat within a couple of days.