Real talk for a moment? I struggled to hit publish on this post because…

of the quality of the photos. They’re not my best. Ever since moving into my new apartment (although I can hardly say new, as it was almost a year ago!), I’ve struggled with the lighting situation. My old space had massive windows with an expansive space to shoot. Now I’m dealing with an air shaft and very limited hours of actual sunlight. But I do have a Whoel Foods one block away, so no need to feel too sorry for me.

It pains me to put forth work that isn’t my best, but at times, we’ve got to. It’s natural to always be seeking that upward trajectory, but having our work plateau or even dip in quality is part of that process, too (got it, Clara?). So I’m doubling down and using this challenge as an opportunity to up my slapped together food photography skills, invest in some new props, and continue to work on that patience thing. Yeah…that thing.

Life lessons aside, these blondies are insane. I had to bring them to work to get them out of my apartment. Definitely make them for a crowd! And better yet, serve them warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. No one will care about the photos then. xx Clara


Brown Butter Blondies from Bon Appétit

Brown Butter Mixture:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • cup all-purpose flour


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more
  • cups all-purpose flour, plus more
  • cups pecans, coarsely chopped
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream (for serving)

Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, 5–8 minutes. Transfer brown butter to a medium bowl; let cool slightly. Add egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until mixture is light and falls back onto itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon, about 3 minutes. Fold in flour.

 Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 13×9” baking dish and dust with flour. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened and fragrant, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk baking powder, salt, and 2¼ cups flour in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar and 1 cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating between additions; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla.

Reduce speed to low and mix in dry ingredients. Fold in half of pecans. Scrape two-thirds of batter into prepared baking dish; smooth top, pushing batter to edges. Alternating, dollop brown butter mixture and remaining batter on top. Smooth and sprinkle remaining pecans over.

Bake until blondie is golden brown and firm (a tester will not come out clean), 30–35 minutes (Note: I would check around 27/28 minutes). Let cool before slicing. Serve with ice cream.

Blondies can be made 1 day ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
  1. Umm, photos look great to me and besides that, YUM! These look amazingly delicious, I wish I had one in front of me right now. I get what you’re saying though, I struggle with the same thing when I feel my photos aren’t my best, or surpassing my best. Sometimes I have to remind myself that “done is better than perfect,” or however the saying goes.

  2. thank you for saying what i’ve wanted to say so many times before publishing a new post. difficult lighting situations are so… difficult! but it’s nice to know that we are not defined by our “dips in quality” 😉 you do beautiful work.

    also, the blondies sound fantastic!

  3. Hi Clara,

    I’m completely with you on the whole perfection thing, but you’re right, sometimes we have to work with what we have : ) By the way, the brownies look absolutely delicious!

  4. Mara VG

    These look delish Clara!

  5. Lynn

    Really appreciate the recipe. Look, you can’t spend all your time doing a fantastic job of blogging, creating recipes, and having the perfect light for photography……your blog is great and we appreciate it!

  6. fariha

    the recipe is fantastic and the pictures look great.
    don’t be so hard on yourself!

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