I’m about a month late with this recipe because I’ve been posting boring things like salads when clearly all we really needed was something dessert-y to get us to the weekend.
So with that out of the way, I will now turn my attention wholeheartedly to sweets made with the season’s bounty of beautiful produce (with a few digressions into the world of tomatoes because…I mean…have you seen them lately??)
We’ll start with these brown butter cherry bars from Smitten Kitchen which I 100% should not have eaten because they contain a whopping almost 2 sticks of butter. But I did and honestly, I don’t regret it.
My only regret is that I now burn 100% of everything I cook because I’m having a really hard time getting used to the oven in my teeny-tiny studio kitchen. It’s even teeny-tinier than my last oven, hence, very hot.
But I better figure it out quick because I have big plans to remake Deb’s perfect blueberry muffins sans dairy. I realize the name “perfect blueberry muffins” suggests that no changes need to be made. But given that they too call for a not insignificant amount of butter plus yogurt, something’s gotta give. I can’t let summer go by without a blueberry muffin for a dairy-free girl, ya know?
I also made a dairy-free riff on Ina’s strawberry muffins, which were fabulous, but I didn’t take any pictures. So it’s going to be a real hardship but I think I’m going to have to remake them, possibly with the adorable, miniature strawberries that have been showing up in the Union Square Greenmarket.
The things I do for you guys. I mean, really.
Ignore the crispy edges in my pictures – my cat is probably a more competent baker than I am. Just know that when you bake these, the result will be a mix between a cherry clafoutis and a buttery bar cookie.
You owe it to yourself to find out what that tastes like.
Brown butter cherry bars
(From Smitten Kitchen)
Oh, also! I forgot to mention that I bought my first ever cherry pitter for this recipe and I’m obsessed. It’s cherry red because, obviously. Also, important: this should be made in an 8×8 square baking pan not the round pan I used because it’s all I have. Finally, follow the directions about the parchment paper and don’t use foil like I did.
Basically, don’t listen to me.
For the crust:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus one tablespoon flour
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
1 pound sweet cherries which, when pitted, becomes 12 ounces
Preheat oven to 375.
Line an 8×8 pan by cutting two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trimming each to fit. Press one into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet. (See a picture of Deb’s handy work here.)
Mix melted butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until fully incorporated. Pat dough into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly across the bottom. Bake until crust is golden, about 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook butter in a small saucepan (best if it’s lighter colored so you can see the butter browning) over medium heat until a “nutty brown” (says Deb), stirring often and watching carefully so that it doesn’t burn. This takes about 6 minutes.
Pour butter into a measuring cup and let cool. Then, whisk sugar, eggs and salt in a medium bowl. Add flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in butter, whisking until blended.
Arrange cherries on top of the baked crust – you may not need them all. Pour filling evenly over the fruit. Bake about 40 minutes or until filling is puffed and golden.
Cool completely, then use the parchment lining to remove the bars. Slice into squares with a sharp knife – you’ll need to sort of “saw” into the cherries to slice cleanly through them.
Bars can be stored for a day at room temperature. After that (why haven’t you eaten them already??), store in the fridge.