This gorgeous recipe comes from our friend Bebe Carminito from Champagne and Cookies.
"I love blondies and especially this recipe studded with moreish shards of cherry halva, dried cherries, pistachios, browned butter and tahini. These are caramel like, scented with cinnamon and bursting with flavor. These blondies are a bit gooey so don’t over-bake them."
¼ c unsalted butter, preferably European-style, cubed
1 c light brown sugar, packed
¼ c Seed + Mill Organic Tahini, well stirred until incorporated if needed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 c all purpose flour
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal
1½ c Seed + Mill Halva, preferably tart cherry, broken into shards, divided
½ c shelled, unsalted toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
⅓ c dried cherries
¼ c + 1 tbsp lightly toasted white sesame seeds, divided
Flaky salt, to finish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and arrange a rack in the middle. Grease and line the bottom and sides of an 8x8 inch metal pan with parchment paper on all sides leaving an overhang for easy removal, set aside.
2. Place the cubes of butter in a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Melt the butter by swirling the pan gently and using a small spatula stir as it melts. Once the butter is completely melted, you will see a foamy surface and hear it sizzle. As you stir the butter it will turn an amber shade of brown which will take in approximately 4 to 5 minutes. The foam will slightly dissipate and the milk solids on the bottom of the pan will toast and the butter will smell nutty and fragrant. Watch it carefully as it can quickly burn at this stage. Immediately, remove from the heat and pour the browned butter it into a large bowl. Using your spatula also scrape in all the browned bits, these add loads of flavor. Let cool for about 1 to 2 minutes and when still warm to the touch, add and whisk in the sugar, tahini and eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla.
3. To the browned butter mixture, sift in the flour and add the cinnamon and salt incorporating with a spatula until the last traces of flour disappear. Be sure to check the bottom of the bowl to gather any remaining dry ingredients. The batter will be slightly stiff and the texture of thick peanut butter. Fold in 1 cup of the halva, cherries, pistachios and ¼ cup of the sesame seeds, reserving the remainder of the halva and seeds for the top. Transfer to the prepared pan and using an offset spatula, smooth down the batter on all of the sides until evenly distributed. Dot and place the remaining halva and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Add the flaky salt gingerly if using.
4. Bake until the edges are golden brown, slightly pulled away from the pan and slightly cracked and puffed in the center, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack completely before removing the blondies from the pan, about 30 minutes.
5. Lift the blondies out of the pan with the parchment sling. To portion, slice 1 ¾ x 1 ¾ inches with a warm knife wiping clean every time between each cut and serve as desired. To store, the blondies will stay in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days. They can also be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 6 days.