The crumb bar may seem humble at first glance, but I believe it’s an absolute must in any baking repertoire. Far easier and infinitely more forgiving than pie (though not lacking in buttery bliss), the crumb bar is almost universally adored by fruit dessert lovers and a breeze to throw together at short notice.
Here I’m layering farm stand strawberries with rich brown butter crumbs; a quick blast of heat turns the berries into an irresistible jammy layer. At the last minute, I jazzed up the bars with a brown butter-vanilla drizzle in a nod to last year’s cake – heavenly!
Crust & Crumbs
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
- 3 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 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 into a glass measuring cup and chill in the freezer until solid, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a 7 x 11-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Dice and sprinkle solidified brown butter over flour mixture and use a pastry cutter to cut in evenly until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk together egg, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl; add to flour mixture and fold in until combined. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of dough for topping (keep chilled); press remaining dough evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish. Bake crust for 10 to 11 minutes, until lightly golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
- For the filling, combine sugar, salt, and arrowroot starch in a medium bowl; add strawberries and toss gently to combine. Spoon filling over crust and sprinkle with remaining topping. Bake for an additional 26 to 27 minutes, until golden and filling is bubbling. Cool completely in baking dish on a wire rack. Just before cutting, chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Carefully lift parchment to remove bars from pan and place on a cutting board; cut into squares with a sharp knife.
- For the glaze, 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 (or microwave, see note below). Whisk together brown butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl; transfer to a small piping bag. Drizzle glaze over bars and let set before serving.
To brown butter in the microwave, place butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes, or until butter is brown.
- Calories: 210
- Carbohydrates: 33