Brown Butter Butterscotch Brownies

Treating yourself to a warm, decadent brownie fresh from the oven is about as good as life gets. Or is it? These Brown Butter Butterscotch Brownies might be a little bit better (ok, maybe a lot better.) With their rich, nutty flavor, chewy texture, and just a hint of salt, these sweet squares of perfection are certain to earn their way into your regular baking rotation.

Call them blondies. Call them blond brownies. Call them butterscotch brownies. Just be sure to call me when you've made a batch. I'll be right over.

Stack of four brown butter butterscotch brownies.

Why these butterscotch brownies will disappear in minutes

Brown butter is a baking game changer!

If you've never tasted anything with brown butter in it, I'm really, really sorry. Also called beurre noisette, brown butter is made by cooking butter for a long enough time so that the milk particles turn brown and the water cooks out.  The resulting flavor is much nuttier and more complex than regular melted butter.  Originally, brown butter was served over fish, but after the delicious word got out, chefs use it for everything from drizzling over brussels sprouts to flavoring cookies.  In other words, it transforms everyday recipes from ho-hum to woo-hoo!  In these blonde butterscotch brownies, brown butter blends beautifully with warm cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar and butterscotch.

Butterscotch brownies are tried and true crowd pleasers

These treats were best sellers when I owned my bakery/cafe. Customers were known to buy one for an after-salad sweet (you know, balance), and then return for half a dozen more to bring home.

You have endless mix-in options

As if the brown butter wasn't enough, the addition of butterscotch takes the flavor profile of these brownies even further. That said, If you don't particularly care for butterscotch chips, you can substitute toffee chips, white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips.....even dried fruit or shredded coconut. Substitute chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds for the pecans.

Minimum effort. Maximum reward.

While the taste of these brownies may seem sophisticated, the recipe is surprisingly simple, with a batter comes together in 10-15 minutes, depending on how long your butter takes to brown (see FAQs, below.) Simply spread the batter in the prepared pan, bake, and serve! Easy-peasy.

Tray of brown butter butterscotch brownies.

Video tutorial: See my Brown Butter Butterscotch Brownies in action!

Ingredients

Ingredients for butterscotch brownies.
  • Unsalted butter: You will be using your butter to make brown butter, a fragrant, nutty and, as the name implies, rich brown version of melted butter. I've included step by step photos, just below, to help you along the way if you've never made brown butter before.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder: If you're at altitude, decrease the baking powder by ⅓.
  • Kosher salt: Adds a nice salty contrast to the other sweet flavors.
  • Ground cinnamon: This is optional, but I like the little bit of warm spice that cinnamon brings to the brownies. If you're not a cinnamon fan, then omit it.
  • Light brown sugar: Also called golden brown sugar. For this recipe, measure the brown sugar so that it is lightly packed into the measuring cups.
  • Eggs: Large, room temperature. If your eggs are fresh from the refrigerator, simply submerge them in warm water for a few minutes to bring them to room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract: Try to use pure vanilla extract whenever possible. It delivers a more authentic vanilla flavor than the imitation variety.
  • Butterscotch chips: Because these are butterscotch brownies, butterscotch chips are recommended, but if you cannot find them, toffee chips (like the Heath variety) or even white/semisweet chocolate chips may be substituted.
  • Chopped pecans: Chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds are all good substitutes. Or you can omit the nuts altogether.

Step by step photos and instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.  Spray a 9X13 inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray and line it with parchment or foil so that there is a 2-inch overhang. This will help you lift the brownies out of the pan once they are baked.  Spray the foil or parchment.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.

3. Continue to cook the butter, swirling occasionally, until it becomes foamy, turns dark brown, and has a nutty aroma. Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. 

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix brown butter and brown sugar until well combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time and then beat on medium-high speed until the batter is creamy, 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and beat to combine.  

6. Add the flour mixture, pecans, and butterscotch pieces.  Mix the batter until thoroughly combined and then spread it into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

7. Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean, 25-35 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before lifting the brownies out onto a cutting board.  Cut into squares and serve.

Stack of two butterscotch brownies.

Frequently asked questions

How is brown butter different from regular butter?

Brown butter differs from regular butter in it's flavor, aroma and, as the name implies, its color. To make brown butter, you melt regular butter over medium heat until it foams and the the milk solids in the butter begin to brown. At this point, you will notice a rich and nutty aroma, which also translates to its distinctive taste. Brown butter is often used to enhance the flavor profile of both sweet and savory recipes, including pasta, sauces and baked goods.

How long does it take to brown butter?

Browning butter typically takes anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the amount of butter, the heat level used, and the water content of the butter that you are using. The process of making brown butter starts by melting the butter over medium heat. You then continuing to cook it until it bubbles and clarifies and then starts to foam. At this point, the milk solids in the butter start to brown, accompanied by a pleasantly nutty aroma. At this point, it's important to watch the browned butter carefully, as it can go from browned to burned in a matter of seconds.

What's the difference between a blondie and a brownie?

Blondies and brownies are very similar desserts as far as their methods of preparation and baking processes, but they do have some differences:
A blondie is typically light or golden in color, while a brownie is typically brown. Many people alternatively refer to blondies as "blond brownies."
Brownies tend to have a rich chocolate flavor and are traditionally made with chocolate or cocoa powder. Blondies have a butterscotch or caramel-like flavor, due to ingredients like brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Brownies tend to have a dense, fudgy texture, while blondies are chewier are more cake-like.

Craving some more recipes for your cookie jar? Here are some more of my favorites!

Tried this recipe and loved it? Take a photo and tag me on Instagram or give it a review!

Stack of four butterscotch brownies.

Brown Butter Butterscotch Brownies

Julie Hession
Brown butter butterscotch brownies: a mouthful to say and a rich, chewy and slightly salty mouthful to eat! Cut them into squares and serve them as a lunchbox treat, a bake sale scene-stealer, or as an afternoon snack.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 24 brownies
Calories 278 kcal
5 from 9 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Equipment

  • 1 9X13 baking pan

Ingredients
 
 

  • sticks unsalted butter (10 ounces)
  • cups flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • cups light brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350℉.  Spray a 9X13 inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray and line it with parchment or foil so that there is a 2-inch overhang. This will help you lift the brownies out of the pan once they are baked.  Spray the foil or parchment.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook the butter, swirling occasionally, until it becomes foamy, turns dark brown, and has a nutty aroma. Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool. 
  •  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix brown butter and brown sugar until well combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time and then beat on medium-high speed until the batter is creamy, 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and beat to combine.  
  • Add the flour mixture, pecans, and butterscotch pieces.  Mix the batter until thoroughly combined and then spread it into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  • Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean, 25-35 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before lifting the brownies out onto a cutting board.  Cut into squares and serve.

Video

Notes

  • Baked butterscotch brownies will keep at room temperature, covered, for up to five days.
  • To freeze, wrap the cut bars in plastic wrap or parchment paper, then transfer to an airtight container or a zip-top bag. Freeze for up to three months.  Thaw them overnight at room temperature. 
  • If you can't find butterscotch chips or simply aren't a fan, substitute and equal amount of toffee chips, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or peanut butter chips. 

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 349IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    How cool that you went to Blog Her - it sounded like a lot of fun! These blondies look amazing, especially with that ganache.

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you, Laura!! Yes, I finished baking the blondies and then thought, "they need something else...." That's how the ganache came about!

  2. 5 stars
    Yum. Yum. Yum. These look so delicious! And I think your food photography is pretty darn good! But new tips are always helpful I am sure. Hope you had a good trip!

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you, Kristin!! Yes, it was a fun trip--very busy and I did learn quite a bit. Now, the practicing begins 🙂

    1. 5 stars
      Thanks so much, Patsy! He doesn't have a huge sweet tooth (wish I could say the same.)

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