Brown Butter Blondies with Cherry Jam

brown butter bondies with cherry jam

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I was sent a copy of Sqirl Jam Cookbook by Jessica Koslow from Abrams Books through my participation in the Abrams Dinner Party. All opinions are my own.

I will admit to knowing nothing about Sqirl Jam prior to receiving this cookbook for review. I guess I am not up on all things. There is a small restaurant and they make jam from fresh fruits without using packaged pecting, rather relying on the natural pectins in fruit. The recipes also call for less sugar than in traditional jam recipes. I will note that I did not try any of the jam recipes as the needs of my life as I can a LOT of jam over the course of a season and doing it in the oven is just not going to work for me. That being written, I do can low sugar jam using a pectin designed for just that purpose – in fact the recipes I use end up adding far less sugar than those in the book. So instead of sharing a jam recipe I am offering you a brown butter blondies recipe. I did use some of my homemade strawberry cherry jam in the recipe.

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brown butter blondies with cherry jam

Brown Butter Blondies with Cherry Jam

makes 24 – 32 depending on how small you would like to cut

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you buy from my link I might make a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. See the full affiliate disclosure here.

  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups plus 1 TBS all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup jam
  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Line a 9 x 13″ pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray

Make the brown butter

  • put the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
  • when the butter starts foaming start whisking.
  • cook the butter, continuing to whisk, until dark amber and nutty – be careful not to burn. It will turn very quickly.
  • Reserve 3/4 cup for the recipe and put the rest in a jar or container in the refrigerator for another use.

mix the brown butter, sugar, vanilla and salt

Make the Blondies

  • Mix the warm brown butter with the brown sugar, salt, vanilla and eggs. Mix until smooth and glossy.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  • Fold the liquid ingredients into the dry, just until mixed.

add batter to pan, add jam and swirl

  • Add the batter to the prepared pan, smooth with an offset spatula.
  • Drop the jam in 6 even dollops on top of the batter.
  • Swirl the jam into the batter with a butter knife
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 55 – 60 minutes until a tester comes out clean

cool blondies on a wire rack

  • Cool on a wire rack, then remove from the pan.

brown butter bondies with cherry jam

How Was the Brown Butter Blondies Recipe?

The brown butter blondies were very tasty. But to be honest the recipe was a touch trying. As I noted the instructions said to use an 8 x 8″ pan and I knew this was going to be bad and it was. My first try at this recipe produced a too thick, overbaked at the edges, underdone in the center dessert. Then I tried putting the batter in the pan pictured in the cookbook and as I also knew, it was far too much for the pan. I pulled it all out and went with what I knew was right from the start – a 9 x 13″ pan and it was, as Goldilocks would say, just right.

The second issue was the amount of jam to add. 1/4 cup would be perfect for the brownie pan but not for the 9 x 13. I doubled it and a delicious blondie was made. The third issue was the baking time listed. Either the baking time at 325 was insufficient or the temp had to be upped to 35o. But 35 – 40 minutes listed was not enough baking time by about 20 minutes.

I KNEW this when I read the recipe but I still tried it as written ’cause that is what you do when testing a recipe. Someone who doesn’t bake near as much as I do would be super frustrated with trying to make these.

sqirl jam cookbook

About The Sqirl Jam Cookbook:

A recipe collection of the James Beard–nominated chef Jessica Koslow’s famed jams, preserves, jellies, and breads

“This is food whose time has come,” declared Mark Bittman about Sqirl, the much-beloved Los Angeles restaurant that locals, tourists, and critics alike all flock to. Sqirl all began with jam—organic, local, made from unusual combinations of fruits, fragrant, and not overly sweet—the kind of jam you eat with a spoon. The Sqirl Jam Book collects Jessica Koslow’s signature recipes into a cookbook that looks and feels like no other preserving book out there, inspiring makers to try their own hands at canning and creating. With photography and a design bound to inspire imitators, The Sqirl Jam Book will make you fall in love with jam.

About the Author:

Jessica Koslow is the chef and owner of Sqirl, a preserves company and restaurant in Los Angeles. Since its opening in 2011, Sqirl has been featured in the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Vogue, and Koslow has been nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef: West. Her first book, Everything I Want to Eat, was nominated for a James Beard Award and was named Eater’s Cookbook of the Year.

My Opinion:

I am a bit torn with this book. The jam recipes are very interesting and harken back in some ways to the days before commercial pectins. Some of the jam combinations are very intriguing. Canning jam has been part of my summers for a long time – even before moving to Montana. I have been through no pectin jam, full sugar jam/jelly and low sugar jam/jelly. So many batches of jam every year – it does make a great gift. I have been inspired looking through this book as to some combinations I would like to try and I learned about a new berry I had never heard of – a tayberry. The methods in the book are just not for me -far more sugar is used than I do now and it takes  more time. Plus I am not comfortable with oven canning for a number of reasons. I have canners and I am going to use them. For someone who doesn’t can like a crazed woman – these recipes would be great to put up a batch of jam.

I wrote above about my frustration with trying a dessert recipe from the book. This has left me a little disinclined to look further but I probably will after I get through the season. Which leads to my other main frustration with the book; there is no index. Seriously – no index. If you want to find a recipe you have to page through the section. It’s broken down by fruit. This is annoying as all get out.



Sqirl Jam Controversy:

Earlier this week I became aware of a controversy blowing up about Sqirl Jam and moldy jam. If you google you can read all about it. It’s not pleasant and at least at this time most of the issues have been addressed. Abrams Books sent this statement:

  • Following our author Jessica Koslow’s recent statement regarding controversies surrounding her restaurant, Sqirl, ABRAMS will publish The Sqirl Jam Book on July 21 as planned. We are confident that the jam-making methods are safe and reliable for home cooks, and that readers will find this book to be a beautiful, hardworking and instructive resource.
  • You can also read a response on Sqirl’s Twitter
  • You are in control of how you make and store the jam if you make the recipes in the book and you won’t be making it in commercial quantities.

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