I love browned butter everything.
So when I saw this recipe for cherry brown butter bars on smitten kitchen, I was immediately hooked. Brown butter adds a gorgeous depth of flavor to anything it’s in, and can transform a mediocre dessert into a fabulous one. Something about cooking the milk solids in butter creates an ingredient that’s incomparable to anything else. However, I knew I had to add my own spin on these bars for them to be worthy of Just Ash Eats. I try not to repost other bloggers’ recipes word for word, choosing to alter them to my own tastes.
First, I decided to replace some of the flour in the original recipe with coarsely ground cornmeal, or polenta. The rough grains add an addicting crunch to the crust, contrasting nicely with the soft, custardy filling. You can’t really taste the polenta in the final result, it’s mostly just there for texture.
Next, I thought that changing up the fruit type would be a welcome alteration. Instead of cherries, I used a blend of fresh, in-season black plums and yellow peaches. After all, it is summer! Any member of the stone fruit family would work well here, and probably even other fruits like berries! A version of these bars with strawberries and blackberries would be delicious, I bet.
Try these bars for your next summer cookout! They’re pretty dang addicting, and I bet nobody will be able to stop at just one square.
stone fruit brown butter cornmeal bars
adapted from smitten kitchen
- 7 tbsp (99 g) unsalted butter melted
- 1/3 cup (66 g) sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (63 g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (83 g) coarse cornmeal/polenta
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup (31 g) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 stick (113 g) unsalted butter diced
- 12 oz stone fruit slices (plums, peaches, apricots, etc.) or enough to cover the pan bottom
to make the crust
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 or 8 inch square baking pan with two pieces of parchment, crossed over each other.
Mix together melted butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until combined. Press into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and bake for about 18 minutes, until golden. Take out to cool, but keep the oven on.
to make the filling
Cook butter in a medium saucepan, swirling until a deep golden color and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Alternatively, place butter in a deep bowl, and stack a plate on top. Microwave for 1 minute at a time until brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Pour the finished brown butter into a bowl to cool.
Whisk eggs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the flour and vanilla and whisk until combined. Gently stir browned butter into the mixture gradually until combined.
Arrange the stone fruit slices along the bottom of the pan. Pour the browned butter mixture over the fruit, and bake for about 40 minutes until the filling is puffed and golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the bars completely before cutting.
Remove the bars from the pan and cut into 16 - 25 squares, depending on how large you would like them to be.