brown butter-candy cookie bars

November 23, 2012

in Bars & Bites

For those of you that celebrated, I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends! With the day behind us, it’s time to look ahead to Christmas and five weeks of holiday baking. I don’t think my pantry has ever been so full – I just bought my first box of candy canes, and baking chips plus other candy seems to lurk on every shelf. Willpower is an absolute must this time of year – I try to open the pantry as little as possible, only pulling out chocolate and candy as needed for baking, and not just for an afternoon snack!

First up, I’m sharing brown butter-candy cookie bars. The recipe calls for two rounds of brown butter – one for the cookie dough base layer and one for the filling, but the work is worth it. Imagine a toasted oatmeal-pecan cookie topped with a brown butter filling studded with Rolo caramels in milk chocolate. The combination of oatmeal, pecans, brown butter, and Rolo candies is pure decadence!

Thanks for your entries to my OXO giveaway celebrating two years of blogging; if you haven’t entered yet, there’s still time – the giveaway ends Sunday afternoon.

Brown Butter-Candy Cookie Bars
Base Layer
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup low-fat milk
3 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup Rolo mini caramels, halved

For the base layer, cook 1/4 cup 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 and chill in the freezer until solid, about 30 minutes. Remove from freezer to soften slightly. Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 11 x 7-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; place on a plate lined with paper towel to cool slightly. In the same skillet, toast pecans over medium heat until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly, then pulse 1/4 cup pecans in a food processor until coarsely ground; add oil and process until a paste forms. Coarsely chop remaining 1/4 cup pecans.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat solidified brown butter and sugars in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined, then beat in pecan butter. Reduce speed to low and mix in toasted oats and pecans. Gradually add flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Scrape dough into prepared baking dish; use a piece of parchment to press dough into an even layer. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the 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 egg, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add flour and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in browned butter; whisk mixture until completely blended.

Pour filling over cooled crust; top with Rolo caramels. Bake for 15 to 16 minutes, until set and golden. Cool bars completely in pan on a wire rack, then freeze pan for 20 minutes. Carefully lift parchment to remove bars from pan and place on a cutting board; cut into squares using a sharp knife. Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.

Yield – 16 bars (serving size: 1 bar)
Calories – 170
Carbs – 19

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43 Comments

1 Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet November 23, 2012

The brown butter will always get me :) These look scrumptious, Laura!

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2 Alyssa (Everyday Maven) November 23, 2012

As soon as I saw the picture, I was like, “omg rolos!”. those used to be one of my favorites. these look amazing!

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3 Valerie November 23, 2012

“…two rounds of brown butter.” What a delicious sentence! These bars look amazing!! My will powder vanished the second I saw the word brown butter. ;)

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4 Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet November 23, 2012

Oh my goodness. These bars are speaking words of love to me right now. Rolos make my world go around and in these bars? HEAVEN.

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5 The Café Sucré Farine November 23, 2012

These look over-the-top yummy Laura! The brown butter, caramel and chocolate combination sounds amazing and it would take more than will-power to have these hanging around!

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6 Liz November 23, 2012

Oh, my. I LOVE Rolos and Rolos with brown butter in cookie bars sounds incredible!!!! These will go on my must make list! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, Laura!!!

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7 Rosa November 23, 2012

Amazing bars! They look so pretty and tempting. Definitely my kind of treat.

Cheers,

Rosa

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8 Amy (Savory Moments) November 23, 2012

Wow – these are quite the decadent, rich, and delicious looking treat!

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9 Patty November 23, 2012

Wow, these look good!! Brown butter always gets me;-) I wish I had one right now;-)

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10 Lora @cakeduchess November 23, 2012

Brown butter, chocolate and caramel-oh my! This would have to be baked and hidden as it would disappear before I could get a bite:)xx

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11 Jen @ Savory Simple November 23, 2012

These look SO good, Laura!

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12 Terra November 23, 2012

You had me at browned butter! The cookie bars must be AMAZING…..because browned butter is beyond wonderful in sweet treats. They sound heavenly, Hugs, Terra

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13 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef November 23, 2012

Perfect cookie/candy bars if I ever saw one. Yum.

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14 Cassie @ Bake Your Day November 24, 2012

These look so good Laura. I love the texture! Brown butter gets me every time!

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15 Angela @AnotherBitePlease November 24, 2012

i love how that base layer looks – I love that in bars!

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16 Jean (Lemons & Anchovies) November 24, 2012

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Laura. I bet your dessert table was full of tasty treats you made. :)

These cookie bars look outstanding–love the double dose of brown butter in them. :)

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17 Mercedes November 24, 2012

Loving the double browned butter pleasure from these bars! And they look cute enough to sell!

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18 Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking November 24, 2012

two rounds of brown butter – oh boy, oh boy bye bye willpower and the rolos, my favorite candy <3

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19 Deb November 24, 2012

At my houseI would need to hide the candy! Brown butter paired with Rolo’s is just spectacular! The Rolo’s peeking through the icing are such a tease! A most seductive cookie bar!

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20 Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet} November 24, 2012

I love this time of year and all of the baking to be done. I am sure you will be busy making more divine treats. These bar cookies are making my mouth water!!!! You had me at brown butter. Smile.

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21 Magic of Spice November 24, 2012

These are just delightful…love brown butter!
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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22 Cookin' Canuck November 24, 2012

Willpower would definitely be a problem if these were sitting in front of me. What a dessert!

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23 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious November 25, 2012

2 rounds of brown butter? How can I resist?!

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24 Carol | a cup of mascarpone November 25, 2012

These look incredible, Laura!!! So creative!!!

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25 Anne@FromMySweetHeart November 25, 2012

Holy cow, Laura! How sensational are these!!! I mean, if brown butter doesn’t immediately reel you in….just combine that with caramel candy and wrap it into a cookie bar! Your photos are VERY enticing! : )

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26 Suzanne November 25, 2012

Another lovely bar recipe that looks totally irresistible! This would be gobbled up in a hurry at my house and dangerous to have alone with me lol! Hope your Thanksgiving was blessed as well Laura!

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27 Averie @ Averie Cooks November 25, 2012

These are amazing!! looking and sound. The browned butter and oatmeal base and then the creamy top with the candy bars – pinning! :)

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28 Jennifer @ Delicieux November 25, 2012

Oh wow Laura, these bars look SO good!! You had me at brown butter.

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29 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 25, 2012

You never fail to tempt me Laura!! :D And brown butter is such a delicious, aromatic addition to cookies and cookie bars!

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30 Jen L | Tartine ans Apron Strings November 26, 2012

This looks straight out of a Williams-Sonoma catalogue – the perfectly cut candy bars…I’d buy these if I saw them at a store! Nice work, Laura!

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31 Nancy/SpicieFoodie November 26, 2012

Congrats on the 2 years of blogging Laura, and cheers to many more:) You’re such a talented baker and I love everything you post. These cookie bars look great.

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32 sara November 26, 2012

These look fantastic! Love the flavors, yum! :)

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33 claire @ the realistic nutritionist November 26, 2012

Anything with brown butter is like heaven to me.

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34 Suzanne Perazzini November 26, 2012

I haven’t had rolos for years. This would be an excellent way to eat them.

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35 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts November 26, 2012

I just made brown butter cookies the other day, so good! These look so good, which I had one now!

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36 Barbara | Creative Culinary November 26, 2012

It’s all been said so I can just say ditto, ditto and ditto.

Brown butter was enough; rolos took it over the top…the one candy I love!

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37 Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel November 26, 2012

Okay, you had me at brown butter.. and then it kept getting better + better! I think brown butter is marvelous, so I can only imagine how tasty these candy cookie bars are. And what a genius idea to gift them! Talk about an awesome, fool-proof present.

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38 Lola @dressupwithlola.com November 26, 2012

These look delicious! definitely trying x

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39 Jenn and Seth November 26, 2012

oh my gosh! two rounds of brown butter? you are an evil genius! and this is definitely going on my christmas cookie list, i mean, with all that brown butter, how can it not?

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40 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective November 27, 2012

Cute AND Irresistible. I’m in!

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41 Ashley - Baker by Nature November 27, 2012

Browned butter might as well be my life weakness! I want!!!

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42 Baker Street December 6, 2012

Holy heavens! What a rich and decadent combination! These bars look fantastic! :)

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43 Jessica | Portuguese Girl Cooks December 6, 2012

These bars are seriously calling my name! I love brown butter, and rolo is my candy weakness. Yum!

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