Blonde Brownies are soft and chewy blondies with Heath Toffee Bits to add a little crunch. They are topped with a fail-proof Cheaters Caramel Icing. It tastes like the old-fashioned caramel frosting but no candy thermometer needed!
These decadent blonde brownies don't even NEED the icing. They're that good alone! But, you know me, I'm going to "gild the lily" and make something yummy even yummier!
Luckily, you won't need a candy thermometer to make my "cheater's version" of caramel icing.
What is the difference in blondies and brownies?
Blondies or blonde brownies are a delicious bar cookie alternative to chocolate brownies. Brownies are made with chocolate or cocoa powder and blondies get their caramelized flavor from brown sugar, butter and vanilla. Both are soft and chewy.
What is Cheater's Caramel Icing?
The Cheaters Caramel Icing secret revealed: It is basically a simple caramel sauce made with brown sugar and butter then powdered sugar is stirred in at the end to make it spreadable!
The old-fashioned caramel icing used to frost a 3 layer cake has to be quickly spread after reaching the exact temperature on a candy thermometer or it will set up like concrete.
Often, it will crystalize and harden before you can get the entire cake frosted because you have to get the time and temperature on the candy thermometer just right.
If you are looking for something that's easy to put together but looks and tastes like you were in the kitchen for hours for your Christmas cookie swap or office party, these chewy toffee bars are your answer!
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Large eggs
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Heath English Toffee Bits (also called Bits O' Brickle Toffee Bits)
Cheater's Caramel Icing:
How to make Blonde Brownies
- Light or dark brown sugar
- Evaporated milk
- Light corn syrup
- Powdered sugar (Confectioners)
- Vanilla extract
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the detailed, printable recipe. Pictures below will help guide you as you read the recipe.
- Beat butter and sugars together.
- Add eggs, one at a time until blended. Add vanilla.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt. Add to sugar mixture with Heath bits.
- Dollop batter onto prepared pan.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out almost clean.
How to make Caramel Cheater's Icing
- Cook brown sugar, evaporated milk, butter and corn syrup according to printable recipe below.
- After boiling and cooling, add powdered sugar and vanilla.
- Beat with an electric stand mixer according to detailed printable recipe below.
- Pour the frosting on the baked brownies and let cool completely.
Why are these blonde brownies are good for cookie swaps?
I love the fact that they are simple to make, serves a crowd, and I don't have to cut them out and decorate them.
The icing easily spreads to the edge of the brownies and settles into every nook and cranny, then magically turns into this caramel-flavored icing that will remind you of the old-fashioned frosting without all the work-another Southern shortcut!
How can I serve these easy bar cookies?
These are also perfect for back to school lunches or potlucks. Get out of your comfort zone and go meet the new neighbors with a plate of these sweet treats or share with the ones that have lived on your street and you've never met!
Other shortcut cookies and candy recipes
If you make this recipe I'd love to see it! Tag me on social media with #gritsandgouda or @gritsandgouda. Leave a comment below the printable recipe if you have questions or tell me how you liked the recipe. Don't forget to give the recipe a rating of 5 stars if you love it!
Blonde Brownies with Cheater Caramel Icing (Blondies)
- 1/2 cup salted butter softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 8-oz package Heath English Toffee Bits* (Also called Bits o’ Brickle Toffee Bits found near chocolate chips.)
Cheater Caramel Icing:
- 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 2 cups powder sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing edges to overhang 2 inches on the end. This will help remove the brownies for easy cutting. Coat the foil with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil.
- Beat butter and sugars together with an electric mixer in a large mixing bowl 3 minutes at medium speed or until light in color. Set a timer; this step is important. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until each one is incorporated. Add vanilla and beat at low speed just until incorporated.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium size bowl. I like to use a large paper plate so I don’t have to wash another bowl. Add flour mixture and toffee bits to mixing bowl; beat just until flour is incorporated.
- Dollop batter in lined pan, then spread the batter evenly to the edges of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Don’t over bake them. You want them to be a little soft and gooey. Let cool in pan 20 minutes on a wire rack.
Cheater's Caramel Icing
- Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Combine brown sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Boil 5 minutes without stirring. Set a timer. Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla.
- Beat caramel mixture in the saucepan with a handheld electric mixer about 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken. It will still be pourable but will thicken as it cools.
- Pour icing over brownies in pan, spreading it to the edges. Let the brownies and icing cool completely and icing is firm, about 1 to 2 hours, before cutting.
Nutrition analysis on GritsAndGouda.com recipes are mostly calculated on an online nutrition calculator. I am not a dietitian and nutritional information is an estimate and can vary based on products used.
Updated February 2023