I just recently discovered browned butter and it is delicious! Browning butter gives it a nutty quality and a greater depth of flavor. When I learned how amazing browned butter was I immediately thought about applying it to my brownie recipe, but I decided to take this opportunity to improve my brownie recipe and take it to a whole new level. After a little experimentation I came up with this recipe for Browned Butter Brownies with cardamom and candied pecans.
The first thing you can do to elevate your brownies is to use high quality cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed. Dutch processed cocoa powder has had its acidity neutralized so it won’t react with basic leavenings like baking soda (which is why this recipe calls for baking powder). Dutch processed cocoa usually has a darker color and it dissolves in liquid more easily. This makes it the perfect choice for these Browned Butter Brownies.
The next tip is also cocoa powder related. I used to grease my brownie pan with butter and dust it with flour so the brownies don’t stick. But someone told me that I should dust it with cocoa powder instead to add just a tiny bit more chocolate flavor to my brownies. Absolutely genius! And it only takes about a teaspoon of cocoa powder to dust my 9″x9″ baking pan.
As you can tell from the name, browning the butter is key to the success of this recipe! When you brown butter it intensifies its flavor and adds a nutty note. Browning butter is easy! You just have to heat it over medium-low to medium heat until it turns brown. You can also expect to see what is called “browned butter solids” floating around on top, that is normal. It usually takes about ten minutes for me to brown butter and that means it is pretty hot by the time it is done. That means you should let it sit for at least 5 minutes before you add the eggs, otherwise you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. Which is gross.
While the butter is cooling, I get my candied pecans out of the way. I make these with cardamom because I love the way cardamom compliments chocolate. You just dump the sugar, cardamom, and water into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and bubbly. Add the pecans and stir while cooking for 2-3 more minutes. Pour onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and allow to cool.
The browned butter should be cool enough after you’re done with the candied pecans. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar and stir thoroughly. Then add the eggs one at a time stirring well after each.
The next tip is to sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder to make sure there are no lumps and that the different dry ingredients are mixed together before you add it to the wet mixture. This is important because you do not want to overdevelop the gluten when you mix in the flour. If you overmix the brownie batter your brownies will be tough and cakey.
Because of this, only mix the flour until just incorporated. Then you can gently fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 cup of the candied pecans. I like to roughly break up the pecans in my hand as I add them to the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared 9″x9″ pan. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ of cup of chocolate chips and the rest of the candied pecans on top. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until there is only a little jiggle in the center of the brownies when you gently shake the pan. Cool your Browned Butter Brownies for at least 15 minutes before you serve. If you try to cut and serve them before that they will be too warm and gooey to transfer from the pan to a plate.
Browned Butter Brownies
For the Brownies
- ½ cup butter
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cup chocolate chips (divided)
For the Candied Pecans
- 1½ cups pecans
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9"x9" pan with butter and dust with about 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Place the ½ cup of butter in a large saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until browned. You'll know it is done when it is a light brown color and has a nutty smell. It should take about 10 minutes. Add the two tablespoons of canola oil to the browned butter. Allow the browned butter to cool for at least 5 minutes.
- In the mean time, make the candied pecans. In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup of brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cardamom, and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and bubbly. Add the pecans and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet and separate the pecans with a spoon. Allow to cool.
- Add ½ cup of brown sugar, ¼ granulated sugar, and ½ cup powdered sugar to the saucepan with the browned butter. Mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add the cardamom, salt, and vanilla and mix.
- Sift together the baking powder, cocoa powder, and all-purpose flour and add to the butter mixture. Stir just until combined. Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1 cup of the candied pecans (you can leave them whole or break them up with your hands). Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips and the remaining candied pecans on top of of the brownies.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until there is just a tiny jiggle in the middle of your brownies when you shake the pan.
- Cool for at least 15 minutes before you cut and serve, otherwise they'll be too gooey to transition from the pan to a plate.