Browning butter may be one of the most amazing smells in kitchendom. Toasted, nutty and caramelized, so very different from plain-old melted butter, but with same intrinsic deliciousness, the smell is nothing less than saliva-inducing and the flavor is just as delicious as the smell. Brown butter is a horse of many colors and can be used in almost any recipe that calls for regular butter. Cookies, check. Cakes, check. Pan sauces for fish, check. Sauce for pasta, check. Sauce for asparagus, zucchini, anything…check, check, check. Cherry brown butter bars? Sigh, if you insist.
If the most difficult part of this dish is browning the butter, which takes little more than medium-low heat and some patience, then you know how easy it must be. It comes together in a flash and is just simple summer perfection.
I think you could probably substitute any summer berry here, but the cherries and the brown butter are just such happy partners, I’d be hesitant to separate them. Let them have a summer fling, they deserve it.
Cherry Brown Butter Bars
Adapted a tiny bit from Smitten Kitchen. Makes 16 bars.
8 T unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c sugar
1/4 t vanilla extract
1 c plus 2 T all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1/2 c sugar
2 lg eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 c all purpose flour
1 t vanilla extract
1 lb sweet cherries, pitted
- Heat oven to 375°F
- Line a 8×8″ square baking pan with two lengths of parchment paper (see photos above)
- In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour and salt and stir until thoroughly incorporated
- Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake ~15 min, or until lightly browned. Cool on rack. Maintin oven temperature
While the crust cools, make the filling:
- In a small light-colored saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the butter, stirring frequently. Watch it carefully (don’t walk away or it’s sure to burn), stirring until it’s a deep brown color and smells nutty. Immediately remove from heat and pour into another vessel to cool
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and salt. Add the flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
- Gradually whisk in the browned butter, until well-blended
- Arrange the cherries on the cooled crust (or, if you’re me, just dump them in there, no arrangement necessary)
- Poor the brown-butter custard over the cherries
- Bake ~30-40 min or until browned, puffed, and a tester comes out clean