Apple cider blondies are dense and chewy in all of the best ways. Richly flavored with apple cider, brown butter, and apple pie spice, these blondie bars are bound to be your new favorite fall dessert.
Do you ever see a post on social media, scroll past without saving it, and then keep thinking about it without being able to find it later?
That’s what happened with these apple cider blondies. I originally saw them on social media, probably TikTok, but kept on scrolling and didn’t think much about it at the time.
After coming home with way too much cider from a local orchard, I remembered the post. Of course, then I couldn’t find it and had to google a recipe instead.
I landed on a recipe from The Kitchn, which I ended up tweaking until my family felt they were juuust right.
I’ve already made these apple cider blondies several times and they are possibly Elle’s new favorite fall dessert. And based on the feedback from my other taste testers, I bet you’ll end up feeling the same.
WHAT ARE APPLE CIDER BLONDIES?
Apple cider blondie bars are a little bit different than chocolate chip blondies, which are gooey and best when they’re a bit underbaked.
The bars are flavored with apple cider, which is cooked down to become super syrupy and rich. The apple cider is complemented with tons of apple pie spice, both in the batter and in a spiced sugar topping.
Oh, and did I mention that there’s nutty brown butter in there, too? Because there is, and it is the perfect thing to round out the flavor of these bars.
HOW TO MAKE APPLE CIDER BLONDIES?
There are a few preparation steps involved in making these apple cider blondies, but I promise they are easy. And these blondies are totally worth it!
Ingredients you’ll need
The ingredients for this recipe are pretty straightforward. You will need:
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups apple cider
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple pie spice, divided
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
The only ingredient that you might not keep on hand is the apple cider. Unlike some recipes where you can get away with using unfiltered apple juice, I do recommend using apple cider here.
- You will need to know how to brown butter for this recipe.
- Before you start mixing the dough, make sure you know how to measure flour correctly so these blondies turn out perfect every time.
- If you struggle with your brown sugar hardening in the pantry, I have several tips for softening brown sugar. You can also make a simple brown sugar substitute if you run out.
Making this recipe
You will need to do two things before you start mixing the apple cider blondie batter: brown the butter and reduce the apple cider.
Brown the butter in a light-colored, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring or swirling frequently, until the butter is deeply golden and smells nutty.
Immediately pour the browned butter into a large mixing bowl and set it aside.
Next, reduce the cider. Add all of the apple cider to the same pan that you used for the butter. Since the pan is hot, be careful when adding the cider because it may sizzle.
Place the pan over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until the cider has reduced to ½ cup. This will take around 30-40 minutes.
The best way to measure the reduced cider is to pour it into a heat-proof measuring cup as you get closer to the ½-cup mark. If you over-reduce the cider and end up with a bit less than ½ cup, just add a bit more cider to equal ½ cup.
Add the reduced cider to the same bowl as the brown butter and set it aside to cool for about 30 minutes.
While the cider and butter are cooling, preheat the oven and line a 13×9-inch pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of the apple pie spice. This is similar to making cinnamon sugar and will be used for the topping.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, the rest of the apple pie spice, the salt, and the baking soda.
Once the butter and cider have cooled, add the brown sugar and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then use a rubber spatula to add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients just until the flour is completely incorporated.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter and sprinkle the spiced sugar evenly over the top. I like to press it in gently so it sticks.
Bake the apple cider blondies for 35-40 minutes. They’re done when the top is browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Let the blondies cool in the pan for at least 1 hour before serving.
Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Store apple cider blondies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you’d like to freeze any leftovers, wrap each blondie in plastic wrap and store them in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to a month.
To enjoy, unwrap an apple cider blondie and microwave it for 30-60 seconds to thaw and warm it through.
Apple Cider Blondies
- Brown the Butter: In a medium, light-colored, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Once melted, allow the butter to continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly. As it cooks, the butter will begin to foam and then subside. Brown specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan and the butter will take on a nutty aroma.
- Once the butter starts to brown, watch it very carefully – it will go from brown to burnt very quickly. As soon as the butter reaches your desired color, immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into a large heatproof bowl to stop the browning process.
- Add apple cider to the same empty pan. Take care when pouring the cider into the pan as it may sizzle a bit.
- Cook the cider over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the cider has reduced to ½ cup. This process will take about 35 minutes. The best way to measure your reduced cider is to simply pour it into a glass, liquid measuring cup. If you over-reduced the cider, just add a little more cider to equal ½ cup.
- Immediately pour the reduced apple cider into the bowl of browned butter and let cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- While the butter and cider mixture is cooling, preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment with an overhang on the two long sides – this will allow you to remove the bars from the pan with ease. Spray the interior of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of the apple pie spice. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining apple pie spice, kosher salt and baking soda. When the butter and cider are cooled to room temperature, add in the brown sugar and mix until it is fully incorporated and the sugar is mostly dissolved. Add in the eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until the batter is smooth and the flour is completely incorporated.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth into an even layer with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle evenly with the apple pie spice-sugar mixture and press it in gently so it sticks.
- Bake until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour in the pan before slicing.
- Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.