Well, I guess not just on top, but rather all over and with every bite. I’m a little bit of a compulsive shopper and it is especially evident when it comes to grocery shopping. It’s horrible, I’m always tempted by seasonal sales and specials and I always find ways to justify my purchases. These cherries, for instance, I felt unusually adamant about buying. Why? Because I was absolutely sure I could find a way to incorporate them significantly into my daily life someway, somehow. “I promise! I’ll make something good,” I pleaded as the BF looked at me with a fleeting twinge of annoyance before he (as expected) gave in to my puppy dog eyes and my somewhat comical ardor for gastronomy.
Let’s just say, I think I kept my word.
Anything with butter in its name is definitely hard to resist, I must say. Usually, I tend to think that butter can make anything and everything taste better. I told you, I’m bad. At least what I make usually turns out good, or maybe everyone’s lying to me. Either way, at least they all say it’s good.
I know this recipe is quite fool-proof, regardless of whether or not cherries are your cup of tea. As many recipes are though, this one is also flexible and you can substitute raspberries or whatnot for the cherries. However, the plump cherries release a non-overwhelming sweetness that is perfect with the buttery-flakiness of the browned butter layer and crust. The smell and the flavor was temptingly tantalizing.
Even the BF didn’t regret acquiescing to my persistence about buying the cherries after I had used them to create this finger-friendly dessert. I can almost guarantee that yours won’t mind either.
Cherry Browned Butter Bars
From Smitten Kitchen
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 pound sweet cherries, which will yield 12 ounces of pitted cherries, which yielded some leftovers, perfect for snacking (alternately, you can use 12 ounces of the berry of your choice)
Preheat over to 375°F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper (I used aluminum foil) and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet. You’ve just faked a square tart pan.
Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to your prepared pan, and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until golden, about 18 minutes (it will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.
Cook butter in heavy small saucepan (a lighter-colored one will make it easier to see the color changing, which happens quickly) over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often and watching carefully, about six minutes. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup to cool slightly.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.
Arrange pitted cherries, or the berries of your choice, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake bars until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (though, of course, this took less time in my hyperactive oven so please watch your baking times carefully). Cool bars completely in pan on rack.
Use the parchment paper overhang to carefully remove cooled bars from pan and place them on a cutting board and cut them into squares with a very sharp knife. The cherries, if they fall over your slicing lines, will want to give you trouble but if you saw a sharp knife into them slowly before pressing down, they’ll cut neatly and with minimum carnage.
You can do these ahead and it keeps for a day out, but you’ll want to store it in the fridge afterward.