I’m one of those people that will make a pained expression at the notion of blondies, or non-chocolate brownies, devoted as I am to simple deep chocolate “real” brownies. I’ve never even made a batch of blondies. My understanding is that blondies are not so much non-chocolate brownies as brownies which contain butterscotch instead of chocolate, otherwise I probably would have called these a variation of blondie. So in my choice between misnomers, I went with apple brownies instead of apple blondies, my thought being that two wrongs don’t make a right.
But two apples do make a fantastic brownie, even if it isn’t a brownie at all. In fact, it is slightly more sheet cake than brownie. But, it is to be picked up and popped in the mouth…so brownie is still the family. Food semantics. And count on me to add a streusel topping where none is really necessary. Consider it optional, but strongly suggested.
There are three apples in these photos because I was prepared to pack them all in there, but as you will see, this batter is extraordinarily thick with apples at two cups of chopped apples, and I didn’t dare go on with the third. I used one Granny Smith and one Braeburn, I think. And I ate the Fuji.
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 medium apples, peeled and diced
⅔ cup chopped pecans
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2) For the brownies, in a medium bowl, combine the butter and the sugar. Whisk for 3 minutes. Add the egg and whisk until it is fully incorporated. Fold in the diced apples and the chopped pecans.
3) In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the apple mixture. Mix gently to combine. This creates a very thick batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it around the pan with a spatula or the backside of a spoon.
4) To prepare the streusel, mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. The streusel will have the consistency of sand. Distribute the topping evenly on top of the brownie batter.
5) Place the brownies in the oven and bake for 42 to 45 minutes.
6) Remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to rest for 30 minutes before cutting them into squares.
For brownies and desserts like this one that I plan to remove from the pan to serve, I will create a “sling” made out of parchment paper. Simply place the pan on top of the parchment paper and mark the width of the bottom of the pan with a pencil. Then fold the sides of the parchment so that there is a strip of parchment that fits snugly in the bottom of the pan. Let the long edges hang out of the pan by two or three inches. Spray the parchment and the inside walls of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. When the brownies come out of the oven and have cooled a little, simply lift the dessert out of the pan by lifting with the parchment edges. Hold the parchment taut so that the dessert doesn’t crack and fold in the middle as you lift. Move the brownies to a cutting surface or a serving dish.