YOU GUYS HAVE TO MAKE THESE. Seriously, please go get cherries right now and whip them up. These brown butter cherry bars are one of the best things I’ve eaten this year.
The crust is a buttery shortbread-like crust, the filling is packed with cherries and a rich, soft brown butter custard and the edges get crisp and caramelized from the cherry juices and butter. It’s the most perfect combination of flavors!
Smitten Kitchen took a recipe from Epicurious for a highly-rated Brown Butter Raspberry Tart and converted it into bars with cherries and I’m so glad that this happened. Tarts are delicious dessert albeit slightly more work and definitely fancier. These bars are a cinch to make and just fancy enough for any occasion…a backyard BBQ, a dinner party, a work potluck or tonight, for dessert.
The crust comes together with just five ingredients and one bowl; press it into the bottom of a 8 x 8-inch pan and parbake. After browning the butter for the filling, everything comes together in one bowl. The browned butter adds a layer of complexity to these and the aroma alone will make your mouth water. The only (slightly) tedious part is pitting the cherries, but you’ll get a rhythm down and be done before you know it. A cherry pitter is the best tool for the job; this is the one I use. It’s easy to use and very efficient…and it even pits olives if you’re into those!
After laying the cherries into the parbaked crust, the brown butter filling gets poured on top and baked. You’re only 40 minutes away from some of the most decadent and delicious bars you’ve ever eaten (okay, so you do need to let them cool a bit). I cut these into somewhat small squares because they are quite rich, but I kept going back for more so cut them into whatever size that will make you feel okay about eating a couple.
These are a showstopper and welcome at any party/get-together/dinner/I’m-home-alone-and-want-dessert. Make sure to snag one for yourself before you serve them because they fly off the plate!
These brown butter cherry bars are a sight to behold! The crust is a buttery shortbread-like crust, the filling is packed with cherries and a rich, soft brown butter custard and the edges get crisp and caramelized from the cherry juices and butter. It’s the most perfect combination of flavors!
- 7 tablespoons (99 grams) butter, melted
- 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoons (128 grams) all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 stick (113 grams) butter
- 1 pound (16 ounces) sweet dark red cherries (12 ounces pitted plus a few extra for you!)
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly spray an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Prepare two handles of parchment with slight overhang to fit into the pan; place them perpendicular to each other so you can lift the bars out of the pan when cooled.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar and vanilla and stir together. Add the flour and salt and stir until a sticky dough forms. Place the dough in the prepared baking pan and press down into an even layer with your fingers. Transfer to the oven and bake until lightly golden, about 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Melt 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. It will melt, separate into milk solids and clear butter, foam and then start browning. It will take a lot longer than you think it will, but do not venture far and stir often, because once it starts to brown, it will go quickly. Once the butter is browned and smells nutty, it is ready. Transfer to a small bowl and cool slightly.
- Whisk the sugar, eggs and salt together in a medium bowl until combined. Add the flour, vanilla and almond extracts and whisk until smooth. Once the browned butter has cooled slightly, slowly whisk it into the filling until well-blended.
- Arrange the pitted cherries in the bottom of the parbaked crust. Carefully pour the filling mixture over the top; do this slowly and use to a spoon to help ensure the mixture is evenly dispersed all the way tot the edges over the cherries.
- Transfer the bars to the preheated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the bars completely in the pan before using the handles to remove. Cut into squares of your desired size (use a sharp knife to keep the cherries intact!).
Inspiration: Cherry Brown Butter Bars on smittenkitchen.com