posted in Cookbook Reviews

Brown Butter- Toffee Pecan Blondies

Are you as in love with Seattle as I am? I’ve been there several times, but I feel like I need another 42 1/2 days to explore and really get the lay of the land. Though it might be a fact that it rains a fair amount in Seattle, they do get 48 sunny days on average per year, it’s truly beautiful country and a fun city… and the FOOD opportunities are endless.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today comes directly from the Volunteer Park Cafe in the North Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle. It’s a happenin’ place serving coffee, pastries, soups, sandwiches, and dinner too. VPC is committed to using locally sourced food. Pastry Chef Heather Earnhardt contributed her recipe for Brown Butter Bars to the recently published Food Lover’s Guide to Seattle. I’ve renamed them Brown Butter Toffee- Pecan Blondies.

These are brown butter blondies in the best way… with added toffee bits and pecan pieces. Everything about them is perfect. They are moist and tender with a slight crunch from those added goodies.

These are just a few of the fun food places that have been highly recommended that I check out on my next visit to Seattle. My son and I are headed there in June for the BlogHer Food Conference (yep, I’m taking RecipeBoy – age 10- to his 1st food conference! He’s very excited!)  My son plans to visit a zillion of Seattle’s bakeries.  I guess I can go along with that plan (twist my arm…)

If you have plans to go to Seattle, you’ll want The Food Lover’s Guide to Seattle to keep handy. It was written by Keren Brown, who is an expert in putting together events that educate and connect Seattle’s food world.

Inside The Food Lover’s Guide to Seattle, you’ll find favorite restaurants and landmark eateries, specialty food stores and markets, farmers’ markets, food festivals and culinary events, recipes from top Seattle chefs, the city’s best cafes, taverns, and wine bars, cooking classes, and complete coverage of the infamous Pike Place Market. It’s definitely a useful guide (easily fits in your purse/ camera bag/ backpack/ man purse) if you live in or near Seattle or if you ever intend to visit.

Author Keren Brown is offering 2 copies of The Food Lover’s Guide to Seattle to two Recipe Girl readers. This giveaway is open to anyone who has a mailing address in the USA. Two winners will be chosen via on Sunday, April 29th and will be contacted via email. The winners will each receive one copy of The Food Lover’s Guide to Seattle.

This giveaway is now closed.  The randomly selected winners are commenters #36 Lacey and #78 Erin.  Thanks to all for entering!

The Food Lover’s Guide to Seattle is available for purchase on Amazon, and it’s in bookstores too. You can visit author Keren Brown on her blog: Frantic Foodie, and on Twitter and Facebook.

Yield: 25 blondies

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 40 min

Brown Butter Toffee- Pecan Blondies


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup toffee bits


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with a strip of parchment paper so that it covers the bottom and comes up two sides of the pan. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and continue to simmer until it turns a deep golden brown (3 to 4 minutes- watch it closely and keep stirring every so often so it does not burn); remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the eggs and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and browned butter, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients, as needed. Add the dry ingredients, pecans and toffee. Mix just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (don't over bake- start checking on it at 45 minutes... it should feel pretty firm in the center). And it may take up to 60 minutes to get these baked to the right consistency, depending on your oven and the pan you use. Let the bars cool to room temperature before cutting.

Source: (adapted slightly and re-printed with permission from the Food Lover's Guide to Seattle- recipe comes from Pastry Chef Heather Earnhardt of Volunteer Park Cafe)

104 Responses to “Brown Butter- Toffee Pecan Blondies”

  1. postedApr 25, 2012 3:55 AM

    Love how this these are! Delish!

  2. postedApr 25, 2012 4:22 AM

    I wish I was going to BlogHer Food, so jealous. Sounds like it will be a great experience for Recipe Boy:-)

  3. postedApr 25, 2012 4:24 AM

    These sound so chewy and delicious! I love it!

  4. postedApr 25, 2012 6:17 AM

    I LOOOOVE Seattle!! My husband and I went there on our honeymoon, and a couple of times since. Such a fun atmosphere. Can’t wait to see you there!!

  5. postedApr 25, 2012 6:18 AM

    Oh Seattle in on our list of places to visit!

  6. postedApr 25, 2012 6:38 AM

    Seattle is probably my favorite city. I love how inviting it is.. one of the only cities I really feel comfortable walking around! I love all the pigs throughout the city, haha! The food is definitely amazing. Hope you and RecipeBoy enjoy it this summer!

  7. postedApr 25, 2012 6:46 AM

    Oh my! I am drooling over those blondies! Can’t wait to cruise around Seattle girl!

  8. postedApr 25, 2012 6:50 AM

    Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is GREAT! Plus the yummy food. Life is Good 🙂

  9. postedApr 25, 2012 6:52 AM

    i’ve never been there but want to!

  10. postedApr 25, 2012 6:53 AM

    I would looove to go there!

  11. postedApr 25, 2012 7:05 AM

    My husband used to play baseball in the Seattle area, so we took a trip there a few years ago so he could show me around. I immediately fell in love. In fact, if I were to choose where I lived, I’d choose Seattle!!

    How fun that RecipeBoy is going to BlogHer Food with you. It’s sure to be a memorable trip!

  12. postedApr 25, 2012 7:12 AM

    I’ve always wanted to go there solely because of the variety of bakeries and eateries in that city! it’s near the top of my list!

  13. postedApr 25, 2012 7:21 AM
    Maria in NJ

    Lori at this point I would be happy to get out of Jerzee…but I would love to visit Seattle one day so the book would be a big help ;)…

  14. postedApr 25, 2012 7:54 AM

    We just moved to Washington and went to Seattle for the first time last week! We spent the day at the Seattle Center and took our kids to the Children’s Museum for hours. So…so far that’s our favorite thing there! Now we need to go a lot more because I know there is so much to explore there. And I can’t wait. I’d LOVE a copy of this book! Thanks!

  15. postedApr 25, 2012 8:05 AM

    After spending one weekend in Seattle I went back home to MN and announced I was moving! That was 18 months ago and every day I am still in awe of the beauty around me. I highly recommend anyone come to visit – but beware, it may make you stay!
    How exciting that the conference will be here this year…see you there!

  16. postedApr 25, 2012 8:06 AM
    Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables

    I’ve never been but it’s on my list!

  17. postedApr 25, 2012 8:07 AM

    Just returned from my first trip to Seattle last week. I absolutely LOVED it. We had 4 gorgeous sunny days and got to explore many bakeries, restaurants, and the amazing tulip festival. My favorite part of Seattle was strolling past the public market by all the delicious bakeries and coffee houses. The smell was overwhelmingly amazing. Was pleasantly surprised by this beautiful city!

  18. postedApr 25, 2012 8:14 AM

    I was in Seattle about 10 years ago and I love it’s eclectic and hipster vibe and natural beauty.

    GREAT blondies, Lori!

  19. postedApr 25, 2012 8:21 AM

    This is my kind of recipe. I am loving all the flavors in this!

  20. postedApr 25, 2012 8:54 AM

    Drooling, Lori, seriously drooling over these. I’m a big fan of blondies!!

  21. postedApr 25, 2012 8:54 AM
    Catalina @ Cake with Love

    wow these look great so dense , so moist and I love desserts that involve pecan!!

  22. postedApr 25, 2012 9:01 AM

    Should these be baked in 9×13 or at a higher temp? They are still quite wet and have been in almost 50 minutes.

    • postedApr 25, 2012 10:49 AM

      Please let me know how long you ended up baking them for. I baked at 325 in a 9×9-inch pan. They came out to be nice, thick blondies. I suppose you could use a 10×10 if you had it.

  23. postedApr 25, 2012 9:14 AM

    My husband and I spent a long weekend in Seattle a couple years ago. We had a great visit and would love to go back.

  24. postedApr 25, 2012 11:35 AM

    I baked them for 60 min. and rechecked the pan size which was more like 8 1/2 x 8 1/2. After cooling and cutting, the center was perfectly moist and the edges were chewy (I’ll be saving that part for me =)). They are so yummy! BTW, I love your website!!

    • postedApr 25, 2012 12:31 PM

      Good to know… I’ll add to the instructions that it could take as long as 60 minutes, depending on your oven!

  25. postedApr 25, 2012 11:35 AM

    A few friend and I will be spending a long weekend in Seattle this summer to attend a friend’s wedding. We are all so excited to go out west (from New York)!!

  26. postedApr 25, 2012 12:36 PM

    I have never been to Seattle but it is in my top five cities that I wish to live in – go figure.

  27. postedApr 25, 2012 12:40 PM
    Kelly Wright

    My husband, our two little girls, and I are moving to Seattle for the summer for an internship! Neither of us have ever been so we know absolutely nothing, haha! This book would be super helpful!

  28. postedApr 25, 2012 12:50 PM

    No, I haven’t been to Seattle, but I am planning to go this year!! Looks like a great city!

  29. postedApr 25, 2012 12:52 PM

    I lived in Seattle for several years and LOVE the city (except for the 10 months of rain). To me, the best things about Seattle are the amazingly fresh seafood, Lake Washington/Lake Union on a sunny day with Mt. Rainier in full view, the coffee shops on every corner, and the laid back vibe.

  30. postedApr 25, 2012 12:58 PM

    I’ve been. I loved. I seriously loved. How to choose one thing?! The LUSH outdoors (a fellow San Diegan here), the amazing eateries (Delancey, Pike Market!), the seafood! Yes. The seafood.

  31. postedApr 25, 2012 1:04 PM

    I’m going to Seattle for the first time in September! This would be so awesome!

  32. postedApr 25, 2012 1:57 PM

    I’ve grown up in the Seattle area my whole life. I’m glad you like it too!! You should definitely check out Beth’s Cafe when you visit. The food is AMAZING and the serving sizes are huge, so you’ll want to share or get a to go box. <–There's the website if you want to check it out.

  33. postedApr 25, 2012 2:15 PM
    Nancy S

    I would love to have this book. I just moved up here from Southern Orange County 2 weeks ago. It would be great to have this fun book to help me get to know the area better and not homesick. The blongies look like a perfect rainy day treat.????

  34. postedApr 25, 2012 2:33 PM

    I love Seattle!! I will be there next month to show my family around. I love all te fruits and veggies I can find at Pike’s. The variety is always fun and inspiring!

  35. postedApr 25, 2012 2:33 PM

    I’m in Seattle – best city ever! Found you via Twitter. Great blog! Look forward to reading more.

  36. postedApr 25, 2012 2:41 PM

    I live in Oregon and I have been to Seattle! In fact, I drove through Seattle yesterday on my way to The Pioneer Woman’s book signing in Lake Forest Park. My favorite thing about Seattle would have to be just how beautiful it is.

  37. postedApr 25, 2012 3:54 PM
    Kimi Street

    Love, love, love Seattle!!! Beautiful waters and best seafood ever!!! Too many yummy places to eat to narrow it down to one.

  38. postedApr 25, 2012 4:01 PM

    I’ve never been, but would LOVE to visit!

  39. postedApr 25, 2012 5:54 PM

    I’ll be heading to seattle for blogher food also and i couldn’t be more excited! these blondies sound amazing. With brown butter and toffee…how could they not be?

  40. postedApr 25, 2012 8:04 PM

    I’ve never been to Seattle, but would love to go. I’ve been to Portland and Eugene, though, and had a blast out there!

  41. postedApr 25, 2012 8:57 PM
    Valerie @ The Year of Living Healthfully

    I’ve never been but would love to go and enjoy some great food!

  42. postedApr 25, 2012 9:30 PM

    So far my favorite part about Seattle is these blondies because they are FANTASTIC! I’ve never actually been, but it’s going on my to-do list!

  43. postedApr 25, 2012 9:57 PM
    J Langley

    I love Seattle. I live in Oregon and we visit a couple times a year. I love eating at one of the places on the water front and watching the ferries come and go.

  44. postedApr 25, 2012 10:05 PM

    There could never be enough brown butter recipes in this world 🙂

  45. postedApr 25, 2012 10:41 PM

    You are killing me! I have a serious weakness for brown butter!

    P.S. Super excited for my first trip to Seattle in June. Hopefully I get to try some of the good places to eat 😉

  46. postedApr 26, 2012 1:26 AM
    Tracy Paul

    I would love to live in Seattle. I’ve never been there, but a number of friends have moved to your beautiful land of the falling rain. I love seafood and rain. would love to live near Pikes Market. It’s so great your involving your son in what interest you. It’s so good to start them young. All your great cafes, bakeries, and the seafood……oh, I am so jealous of all you Seattle residents. I would also love to win a copy of the book. I am so impressed with all your responses. I’ve never looked at the comment section before, so don’t know if this is an average or huge response to the contest.

  47. postedApr 26, 2012 3:41 AM

    These are mouth watering! Yum!

  48. postedApr 26, 2012 4:11 AM

    I’ve been to Seattle several times ~ I’m Pacific Northwest born and bred ~ Still live here ~ I would get lots of use out of the book!

  49. postedApr 26, 2012 4:16 AM

    I love blondes! They can be so under appreciated. These have some of my favorite ingredients! Thanks for the recipe.

  50. postedApr 26, 2012 4:39 AM
    dianne nanney

    in 2008 my son & I enjoyed 6 days in Seattle and it wasn’t enough! new at the time was a walking food tour/sightseeing of Farmer’s Market and nearby restuarants known as the Taste of Seattle:) was the perfect introduction for 2 Tennesseeans! my son passed away the following year at age 28 from cystic fibrosis. in 2004 following the death of my husband/his father, my son & I traveled to Hawaii. the sweet memories from Seattle far outshine Hawaii and linger still…

  51. postedApr 26, 2012 4:46 AM
    Celeste B.

    I will be in Seattle before a cruise in early September. Can’t wait.

  52. postedApr 26, 2012 5:03 AM

    Very interested in visiting….
    For now will try this blondie recipe…sounds wonderful..
    Thank you

  53. postedApr 26, 2012 5:34 AM
    Tracey Alvernaz

    I love Pikes Place!

  54. postedApr 26, 2012 6:36 AM

    Love Seattle – all of the fresh seafood and a lot of wonderful farmers markets!

  55. postedApr 26, 2012 6:37 AM

    I’m a glutton for anything and everything brown butter. These look amazing and I love the simplicity of baking bars, thanks for sharing.

  56. postedApr 26, 2012 6:42 AM
    Amy S

    I live in the Seattle area and I love Pike Place Market!

  57. postedApr 26, 2012 6:47 AM
    Stephanie Lindsay

    I would love to go to Seattle. It is on my bucket list! I can’t wait to try these Brown Butter Blondies!

  58. postedApr 26, 2012 6:58 AM
    Bridget Bodoh

    “Sleepless in Seattle”…..took the boat tour when we visited! Loved the movie….loved the tour…..loved Pike Place Market….and would love to go back for more!!! Also love blonde brownies….but these sound awesome!! Definitely on my list to bake! 🙂

  59. postedApr 26, 2012 7:05 AM
    Debbie Seldon

    We haven’t been to Seattle and would love to check this off our bucket list of places to visit.

  60. postedApr 26, 2012 7:17 AM

    Have been to Seattle many times and love it. Two of my children went to U of W so spent lots of time exploring the city. Would be fun to find some new places.

  61. postedApr 26, 2012 7:32 AM
    Michelle Robinson

    I live in Portland, but I love to visit Seattle. Take a hike through the beautiful and scenic Discovery Park just a few minutes from the Space Needle, and burn the calories necessary to enjoy all the great food Seattle has to offer. Enjoy.

  62. postedApr 26, 2012 7:38 AM

    These blondies will definitely be on my list for Sunday’s desert! Will be going to Seattle for the first time in late October……this guide would be so helpful!

  63. postedApr 26, 2012 7:56 AM

    Ooh Ooh Ooh!!!! I’m from SF but will be going to Seattle for a Wedding at the end of May. We are taking a few extra days to….eat!!

  64. postedApr 26, 2012 9:04 AM

    I am going to Seattle this June!

  65. postedApr 26, 2012 9:34 AM

    Seattle is on the top of my list of places to visit!! That would be amazing.

  66. postedApr 26, 2012 9:59 AM

    years ago(I’m now 77), my daughter & I flew to Portland to visit my mom, but since this was our first time flying we thought at the first lay-over that we had to tranfer our own luggage, so we waited at the ramp so long & MISSED our plane & had to get another that went to Seattle first…we had to pay more,(not too much because we were both crying) and got to Portland hours later. Just got to see the space needle form the plane. Anyway, we each said “we are never going to make great cross continental flyers”. am going to try the recipe..sounds yummy! SallyRan

  67. postedApr 26, 2012 10:22 AM
    Melissa Demas

    Ive never been to Seattle, but iy is next in line on our vacation list. Can’t wait!

  68. postedApr 26, 2012 10:33 AM

    Never been but my friends moved out there from the midwest….they absolutely love it there….they never want to leave!!

  69. postedApr 26, 2012 11:25 AM

    i’ve been and i love the market…especially the mini cheesecakes!

  70. postedApr 26, 2012 11:42 AM

    I NEED this book! We have lived in Seattle for a couple years and I still have no idea as to some of the best food places!! This would be such a great book to have! I love Pike Place Market. One of my favorite places anywhere!

  71. postedApr 26, 2012 11:49 AM
    Margie Buckley

    I have been to Seattle many times, have dreamed of living there. Oh how I wish! I would LOVE to have a copy of your book. Please!!!!!!!!!!

  72. postedApr 26, 2012 12:12 PM

    These look amazing! What a great combination. I have never been to Seattle but would love to get there sometime. I would love to go BlogHer Food but I don’t know if I can leave my little twinkies yet for a few days.

  73. postedApr 26, 2012 1:35 PM

    I would love to go to Seattle!

  74. postedApr 26, 2012 1:56 PM

    I’m drooling over these blondies, Lori! They look fantastic!

  75. postedApr 26, 2012 2:34 PM
    Carol in the OC

    Went to Seattle for the first time last September. LOVED it, especially Pikes Place Market. Favorite place for a quick snack: Piroshky-Piroshky in the Marketplace. Can’t wait to go back and explore more!

  76. postedApr 26, 2012 3:11 PM

    I haven’t been yet but I am interested in going soon.

  77. postedApr 26, 2012 5:38 PM

    I’ve lived in Seattle for about 14 years & can’t imagine living anywhere else. There’s so much to love here! I love the ocean, the lakes, the Olympics & Cascade mountains, the rhodies & cherry blossoms, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, the food, all the dog-lovers,…..I can go on & on!

  78. postedApr 26, 2012 6:53 PM
    erin l.

    I went to Seattle this past August for a wedding up in Orcas Island. My husband, baby and I stayed in Seattle for a few days before the wedding and it was beautiful. We loved how walkable the city was and how stroller friendly it was as well. We ate some great food including Top Pot Donuts and Pike Place Chowder, just to name a few. It was a Beautiful city that I would love to get back to someday.

  79. postedApr 26, 2012 7:44 PM

    I’ve never been, but I’d love to go!

  80. postedApr 26, 2012 8:36 PM

    Im dying to visit Seattle…now more than ever!!!

  81. postedApr 27, 2012 6:33 AM

    Have had several friends live there over the past years and was never able to visit, but thru pics and videos they shared I know that is a place I will travel to with in the next two years…

  82. postedApr 27, 2012 6:42 AM

    We work overseas but Seattle is our homebase. We literally countdown the days, running tally on the refrigerator, until we can get on the plane to go home! It was a wonderful place to grow up and even more wonderful to return to every summer. I’ll have to buy a copy of the book and compare my favorite places to the authors:) And how could I forget to mention that both the cafe and the blondies are GREAT.
    54 days BTW.

  83. postedApr 27, 2012 9:45 AM

    I live here in the beautiful Pacific NW. Such a wonderful place, great weather, great people. I went to Seattle once while in high school and loved Pike Place Market!

  84. postedApr 27, 2012 10:58 AM

    What I love best about the Northwest is that three of my nephews, a niece, and all their families live there! I enjoy the mild temperatures, clear days when one can see the mountains in all their glory, and all the sites to see. As a New York girl myself, it is fun to visit Seattle. It has a funky feel to it.

  85. postedApr 27, 2012 11:03 AM
    Valerie Endicott

    I live in the NW and LOVE LOVE being a foodie in this fantastic city. A new chef weekly…who to choose?!

  86. postedApr 27, 2012 11:22 AM
    Kara D

    I would love to visit Seattle someday soon! It seems like such a fun town.

  87. postedApr 27, 2012 11:34 AM
    Barb W.

    I’ve been to Seattle once several years ago. It was one of the BEST weeks of my life! Our hotel was within walking distance of the Farmers Market. I DO want to go back again…..and again!!!!

  88. postedApr 27, 2012 2:35 PM
    Mary O

    Can you believe? I’m going next Thursday, May 3rd! I’ve added the Volunteer Park Cafe to my list for my long weekend as well as Pikes Place Market.

  89. postedApr 27, 2012 5:26 PM

    I’ve never been there but have heard wonderful accounts of the city. Looks like a food lovers

  90. postedApr 27, 2012 6:59 PM
    Tracy A

    I would love to visit Seattle, but haven’t made it there – yet! My husband and I are huge coffee fans (I would say snob, but my hubby doesn’t care for that term!) and would love to try lots of yummy coffee with lots of other yummies in Seattle!

  91. postedApr 27, 2012 7:30 PM

    never been to seattle, but it’s on my bucket list!

  92. postedApr 27, 2012 8:23 PM

    I’ve never made it to Seattle but I’m dying to try these blondies, the browned butter has me mesmerized!

  93. postedApr 28, 2012 6:36 AM
    Cynthia Meyer

    Seattle is my favorite city in the u.s. I love elliot bay, the market, macrina bakery, salmon, and the original starbuck’s store. I hope to go back this summer. Thanks for the recipe. I will try it today.

  94. postedApr 28, 2012 2:07 PM
    Laura in Texas

    I’ve been to Seattle multiple times. Best part I’d it is usually cool when it is so hot here!

  95. postedApr 28, 2012 9:20 PM

    LOVE Seattle and it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from Idaho! Great food in Seattle!!

  96. postedApr 29, 2012 1:01 PM
    Angel Gladden

    Nope, never been. Would love to look around though!

  97. postedApr 29, 2012 2:14 PM

    I love Seattle and it’s great food scene!

  98. postedApr 30, 2012 9:10 AM

    These blondies look awesome Lori! I think it’s adorable that you’re taking your son to his first conference!! I like that your plans include visiting a zillion bakeries, sounds like my type of trip 🙂

  99. postedApr 30, 2012 10:16 AM

    I’ve only been to Seattle once, thought I would love it, and did. 🙂 The lush greenness everywhere reminded me that indeed, it is a rainforest (just not a tropical one), and the beauty of everything in bloom was astounding. Luckily, I get to go out there this May, so I’m looking forward to it! Also, looking forward to eating WELL while there. 🙂

  100. postedMay 1, 2012 12:30 PM

    I love Seattle!! I have so many favorite places but I like the Children’s Museum the best!

Leave a Comment