cherry brown butter bars


To sum up these cherry brown butter bars in a single word, they are glorious. A vanilla shortbread crust is topped by a filling layer that incorporates browned butter and almond extract, which act as a nice counterpoint to the sweet cherries. I’m thankful local cherries abound near me because I suspect these bars will be in rotation until the end of cherry season… I also have visions of an upcoming version with small Italian plums.

I don’t have a cherry pitter, so I used a star pastry tip and a wooden skewer. It took a little time to pit the cherries that way, but the delicious results were worth the effort. The original recipe was intended for an 8-inch square baking dish, though I had no problems adapting it for a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

Cherry Brown Butter Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, diced
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
4 cups cherries, pitted, tossed with 2 tsp flour

Preheat oven to 375Β°F and line a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

Mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl with a spatula. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish. Bake until crust is golden and slightly puffed, about 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool crust in pan.

To prepare filling, cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown, about 6 minutes. Pour browned butter into a glass measuring cup to cool slightly. Whisk together eggs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add flour and extracts and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in browned butter; whisk mixture until completely blended.

Arrange cherries over cooled crust and carefully pour filling evenly over fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes, until filling is puffed and golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool bars completely in pan on a wire rack. Carefully lift parchment to remove bars from pan and place on a cutting board; cut into squares using a serrated knife. Store bars in an airtight container up to one day at room temperature, then store any remaining in the refrigerator.

Yield – 32 bars (serving size: 1 bar)
Calories – 178
Carbs – 19

  1. We were lucky enough to try these tasty treats. They are glorious! Laura, you have a real gift. We’ll be happy to sample for you any time. Thank you so much!

  2. I wish I’d found this recipe earlier (last summer, earlier)! At least now I’ll know what to do when it’s cherry season! These bars look amazing, and I love your pit-removal method…definitely something I’ll be attempting. πŸ˜€

    1. It does work, but I have to confess that I got so many requests to make these bars that I invested in a cherry pitter :).

    1. Hi Michelle, I’ve never tried making these with dried cherries. While I do like dried cherries and bake with them frequently, I wouldn’t use them in these bars because I don’t think the finished product would have quite the wow factor. But if you try it, let me know! If you do use dried cherries, I’d cut back on the sugar in the filling since dried fruit is usually sweetened.

    1. They are delicious, Paula! I’d remove the pits though (I love my OXO cherry pitter) so then you don’t have to remember to warn people to be careful ;).

  3. Hi. I found this recipe and I know it is from a while ago but I was was wondering how long I can store these in the refrigerator and also can they be frozen. I have a party a week from tomorrow and I was hoping to get an early start.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Susan, you can keep these bars up to 2 days in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend freezing them (it may affect the texture of the filling). Here’s an updated version from last year with a graham crust that I love too!

  4. Can you explain how you pitted the cherries with a star tip and skewer? Thank you. These bars sound delicious and I just picked 5 lbs of sweet cherries.

  5. I made these (with the original shortbread crust) for a cookout and then brought the leftovers to work. Everyone loved them. Great seasonal cherry recipe, thank you! I did buy a cherry pitter before making them. Bed Bath and Beyond was sold out of the OXO so I got one from Crate and Barrel that worked like a charm. I will make these again for sure.

    1. Hi Dawn, so glad you liked the bars – thanks for letting me know! Glad you found a cherry pitter – it makes baking with cherries much easier! πŸ™‚

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