Wedding Season | Browned Butter Espresso Blondies, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pie Bars

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Telluride, CO – Three years ago, 30 or so of my husband’s and my “near and dear” converged upon this little mountain town to celebrate our wedding. Telluride is remote, tiny, magical – and seeing the people we love most all together in that place was truly remarkable. With our guests, we were able to share a few of our favorite things: cherry danish and ham & cheese croissants at Baked in Telluride, cool mountain breezes whispering through quaking aspens, high country brews, Colorado’s breathtaking splendor. It was a beautiful moment in time.

Recently, I was asked to make a few batches of bars fit for a post-wedding brunch. These Browned Butter Espresso Blondies are rich and caramel-y, set off by lightly bitter coffee. The Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pie Bars combine the sweet-tart of the fruit with deep, dark chocolate. My Ruby Red Grapefruit Bars rounded out the collection, which I hope contributed to happy bride-and-groom beginnings.

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Browned Butter Espresso Blondies

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups lightly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1/8 – 1/4 c. ground espresso beans, plus whole beans for decoration

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment (or foil) and spray with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.

Place the butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Stir constantly until foam has cooked off and butter solids in the bottom of the pan are brown and nutty. (Take care not to burn the butter, though!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add in the egg, vanilla, and salt and mix well. Stir in the flour until well incorporated. Add the ground espresso, checking for taste. 

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the blondies cool completely on a wire rack.

Browned Butter Frosting

12 T. unsalted butter
1+ c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 t. vanilla

Brown the butter with the same technique as given for the blondies. COOL completely.

When cool, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add hot water for consistency and/or more powdered sugar for volume.

Spread or pipe the frosting onto the blondies. Makes 24-36 bars.

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Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pie Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup high-quality dark chocolate chips
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
12 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment (or foil) and spray with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric or stand mixer, mix butter until creamy. Mix in brown sugar, flour and salt continue mixing until crumbly. Press 1 3/4 cups of crumb mixture into prepared baking pan. Set remaining crumbs aside. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden.

While the crust is baking, pour sweetened condensed milk in small sauce pan and add one cup of dark chocolate chips. Stir over low heat until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. 

Remove crust from oven and pour chocolate mixture over warm crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbs evenly over chocolate layer. Spoon raspberries over crumb mixture and top with mini chocolate chips.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars. Makes 24-36 bars.