Brown Butter Oatmeal Blondies

by kitchenarian on August 10, 2012

It won’t be easy.

Sending my second child off to college. It doesn’t matter that I have already been down that road with Sous Chef. My oldest child, and only daughter, left for college three years ago. I cried before she left, I sobbed when I had to tell her goodbye and I quietly wept for weeks afterwards. I expect this time will be the same.

Is he ready? Definitely. Am I ready? Definitely not.

Even though I know this is the natural course of events, it is difficult for me. I will get through it, but it might require a lot of baking. The upside is that my son will only be about 90 minutes from home unlike Sous Chef who chose a school ten hours away. But it was the perfect place for her, and I am certain my son is headed to a great school as well. Anyway, I will still have one child left at home. I know that the soon-to-be only child is a bit anxious about all this undivided parental attention that will soon be bestowed upon him.

For now, I bake.

You know how you read a recipe and you immediately think of making it a different way? I saw a recipe for oatmeal blondies, and thoughts of browned butter immediately took over my brain. I have seen recipes using brown butter and have been wanting to bake with this delectable ingredient for quite some time now. Actually, I would rather just drink it, but….maybe not. Not familiar with brown butter? Also known as beurre noisette, brown butter is created when you cook butter until the milk solids and salt turn brown and any excess water is reduced. It has a more complex, nutty flavor. Oh goodness, it is amazing.

This blondie is very dense. It surprised me when I bit into it. At first, I thought I had over-baked them, but I actually took them out of the oven early at 25 minutes. It’s not at all like a brownie, but dense and chewy like a granola bar with a nutty, buttery taste. This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.


½ cup (1 stick) salted butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking pan with butter. Line bottom and two sides with parchment paper. Leave a bit hanging over the edges. Butter the parchment paper, and set aside. Brown the butter in a saute pan and set aside to cool. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until well combined. Add the egg. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix until combined. Fold in 3/4 cup oats. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top evenly. (The batter is very thick, it really doesn’t pour.) Sprinkle with remaining oats, pressing gently. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Lift from pan with the edges of the parchment paper and cut. Makes 16 squares.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

thyme (sarah) August 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Oh, I’m here for you! I am readying to send my first (daughter) off to college in 2 weeks. It seems life has been centered on this one huge stage for a year now and I am actually eager to make the transition so I can either stop worrying or have something more concrete to worry about. That leaves my son who still has 3 more years of high school. And…we homeschool! He is thrilled at this point. I am actually excited to work with him academically for the next 3 years but I know it will be so different without his sister. Good luck to you!


kitchenarian August 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Thanks so much for your sweet comments. There is quite a build up to the whole senior year and college process. I am excited for my son because he is going to a great school, but it is very hard to say good-bye. What makes it all worth it is when you see how independent and happy they become. Good luck to your daughter and to your whole family.


Rachel @ Bakerita August 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Good luck with the send off! My parents are monopolizing all my time as I prepare for my second year at school. These blondies look phenomenal! I’m a known brown butter addict – there are few things I love more! Can’t wait to try this recipe.


kitchenarian August 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Rachel – I know just how your parents feel. We ate this entire batch of blondies in our house in one day and everyone has asked that I make them again tomorrow. The flavor of the browned butter really takes center stage in these dessert bars. I hope you enjoy them! Good luck to you in school this year!!


Deb August 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Your post touched my heart. My son, also our youngest, has finished college and moved away. I still miss him dearly and cherish our visits and phone calls. I was not really prepared for the “letting go” part of motherhood. The whole “empty nest” caught me by surprise. It is a bittersweet time; we raised our children to be independent, productive adults. When my heart is heavy with uncertainly I also busy my hands. Almost always my mind tags along. Which is why baking is sometimes the best therapy. And browned butter blondies most certainly are a scrumptious diversion!


kitchenarian August 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Thank you, Deb. Time moves way too quickly for us mothers. I remember when all my children were very young and all I wanted was a few minutes of alone time. Funny, I don’t seem to want that any longer. I will take your advice and busy my hands as I adjust to another child leaving the nest.


foodwanderings August 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

That is what it reminded me of, a granola bar when I saw the first photo. I love oat in anything and it makes such a healthy dessert and snack. I did too well up when my son was in his freshman year, now a junior this coming one. He is 8 hours away. I sympathize!


Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet August 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Wow…can we be neighbors? These look AWESOME!! Now for the commiserating portion of this comment… oldest is starting High School this year and all I can think about is that in the not so distant future she’ll be saying Goodbye to me and leaving for college. The thought of it makes me get squeamish. I don’t know how I’ll survive. Reading your words makes me have a bit of hope! My good thoughts are with you for sure. Stay strong!


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