brown butter bars

April 5th, 2011

brown butter bars

The spring rain in these parts has been turning to snow more often than not. And I’ve been trying to celebrate the good bits of winter before they are gone for good. Granted sometimes it’s done with gritted teeth, like when I’m putting on my coat and hat and scarf and mittens for the bajillionth time, but hot chocolate is still delicious even if it is April. Baking a batch of these nutty, jammy bars warms up the house, makes it smell delicious and they are just right with coffee.  All the good, cozy things about winter and they taste pretty damn good too.

browning the butter

I combined a few different recipes to make these bars–one called them breakfast another dessert, so feel free to eat them all day. The biggest change I made was to brown the butter before I added it to the rest of the ingredients. If you’ve never done this before you will soon find yourself searching out ways to add brown butter to everything. Seriously, it’s like butter only better. To make it, put the butter in a light colored pan (so you can see it brown) and wait, stirring now and then, until it melts, then stops spitting and sputtering and turns a lovely dark shade of brown–about the color of maple syrup. Then take it off the heat right away so your lovely butter doesn’t turn black.

brown butter bars

You can have your kids mix up all the dry ingredients while you cook the butter, then pour the butter in, scraping all those good browned bits off the bottom of the pan and into the bowl.  Actually your kids could probably do most everything. It’s dead easy: press two thirds of the dough in a pan, slap some jam on top and crumble the rest of the dough on top. It’s the perfect recipe to play around with too. You could use apricot jam and a little cardamom, or grind up pecans instead of almond flour and maybe even find some peach jam. Whatever you have in your cupboard is going to make these delicious, so you don’t really have much of an excuse to not make them right now. Unless it’s summer where you are right now, in which case poo on you.

brown butter bars

brown butter bars

  • 1 1/4 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup almond flour (or whichever nut you’d like, ground up fine)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tea salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, browned
  • 1 cup jam

Combine all of the ingredients except the butter and jam in a large bowl. Brown the butter: cut butter in pieces and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the milk solids (the little bits at the bottom) turn a deep brown color.  Quickly take it off the heat and pour it into the dry ingredients, scraping the pan into the bowl. Mix. Press two thirds of the dough into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the jam on top and crumble the rest of the dough over it. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool and cut into squares.

This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 13×9 cake pan. It’s pretty much my go to “shit! I need to bring a snack for preschool tomorrow!” recipe.

Posted in food/recipes.

17 Responses to brown butter bars

  1. julia says:

    these look amazing! and super easy! (and easily adaptable to be vegan). totally making these this weekend. and it’s a good way to use up some jam from last summer!

  2. Lucy says:

    Brown butter in baking, that’s genius! I’ve just discovered using it in bread and frankly, almost want to dip into it with a spoon (is that bad?) Delicious, thanks!
    PS, did you ever find a copy of Frankie? Let me know…

  3. Erin says:

    these sound amazing. i love brown butter anything! brown butter frosting is especially delish. :)

  4. joni says:

    these could help me forget its snowing outside today…

  5. Jacki says:

    These sound lovely! I have recently made cardamom-grape jelly, orange marmalade, and blue berry preserves…..oh how to choose! I may have to make this three times!

  6. I will definitely be making these! Thanks!

  7. Talley says:

    I make a version of these. Using mom trickery, I add spinach puree to the jam before spreading it onto the base. This way when Wyatt eats them I know that at least he’s gotten something green for the day.

  8. 'Trie says:

    My mother-in-law makes these with plum jam (omg, so good), but I’m sure she’ll be jazzed to hear this variation. \o/

  9. Caroline says:

    Ohhh, you just made me hungry…. These look very very very nice!

  10. ~Heather says:

    You inspired me to brown some butter and slop it over butternut squash ravioli with chard. I’ll be making these bars soon though, they are most definitely on my To Do list!

  11. Karin says:

    Any suggestion for a substitution for the nut flour? We’re sans nuts until 4 y.o. thanks!

  12. molly says:

    oh, hot damn! (pardon my french). have loved (and lost) a v. similar bar, years ago, but it didn’t have the genius to brown the butter first. these are so making it onto my roster this week.

    my new favorite b.b. addiction? taking that little pat of butter that precedes scrambled eggs all the way to hazlenut, maybe a nudge past. hello, scrambled eggs, i never knew you.

  13. k a t y says:

    made these last night with some homemade strawberry jam and pecan flour. so yum. thanks.

  14. julie says:

    mmmmhhh, I like the look of these !

  15. [...] am always happy to find recipes like this one that are almost gluten-free. Head on over to Elsie Marley for the original and you’ll see what I mean. The base is mostly almond flour and oats (of [...]