I don’t know what’s happening to me — maybe it’s third trimester dwindling energy levels and an accompanying desire to get the most bang from my feeble bursts of productivity — but all of a sudden, I find myself saying that I don’t want to cook this thing or that because it’s not practical. Practical! Who am I? Certainly not the girl who baked a wedding cake last summer in her tiny, overheated kitchen. Certainly not a person who has [shh, can’t tell you]-making and a 12-layer cake on her summer cooking agenda.
Take this recipe, for example. It was originally a delicious-looking raspberry brown butter tart from this month’s Bon Appetit magazine. And although I usually associate brown butter with winter cooking — hazelnut brown butter cakes, brown butter shorties, pear crisps and brown butter with chestnuts and brussels sprouts, yes please. — and although I’ve never met a dessert tart I didn’t like, all I could think was “these would be so much more practical as a bar cookie!” Practical, there’s that word again. It’s all over for me, isn’t it?
But really, at least for the kinds of summers I have — lots of rooftop barbecues and pot-luck parties — finger food always trumps things that need to be sliced and plated in the ease-of-use department. So I hacked the lovely tart and turned it into bar cookies, and then instead of raspberries, which were nowhere to be found at my market, I used sweet South Jersey cherries. The end result surprised me — it both looked and tasted vaguely of a cherry clafoutis, except with its pastry crust and brown butter depth, so much better. The only thing I’ve yet to pull off is getting it out of the apartment and into the hands of friends, though once you try them, you’ll understand why.
One year ago: Zucchini Strand Spaghetti
Two years ago: Everyday Yellow Dal
Cherry Brown Butter Bars
Adapted from Bon Appetit
The recipe I drew inspiration from is a 9-inch fluted tart with raspberries that if early commenters are any indication, is nothing short of delightful. What I’ve hacked it into is something a little more casual and finger-food friendly, or in our case, easier to pack up and share with friends, you know, if we’re feeling generous. As for the fruit you use, no need to limit yourself to either cherries or raspberries — use whatever looks best by you right now, or whatever you have on hand. I bet you could even carry this into fall with apple or pear slivers.
Special equipment: Although not a prerequisite to make these, if you’re the type of person who has cherry pitter or even a removable-bottom brownie pan, this recipe will be even more of a cinch.
Makes 16 2-inch square bars (pictured), or 32 2×1-inch bars, if you, like me, prefer baked goods bite-sized
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)
Make crust: Preheat over to 375°F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper 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. (It should look like this.) Congratulations! You’ve just faked a square tart pan.
Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl, or if you’re Deb, in the bottom of the small saucepan you used to melt the butter. 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.
Make the filling: 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.
Do ahead: Can be made at least a day ahead, and stored at room temperature. Any longer, keep them cool in the fridge.
291 comments on cherry brown butter bars
They look like dominoes!
If it has cherries in it…I like it.
The way you placed those cherries so perfectly makes my heart sing.
And I watched that video when Elise linked to it. I immediately thought: That chef is a little hottie.
Congrats. It’s a great site.
I’ve been meaning to make the raspberry version since I saw it in Bon Apetit. I’m especially excited with your modification because the bar cookie feature (which is what I bought the magazine for) was more than a little disappointing. But tart, bar cookie, whatever… as long as there’s pastry involved, I’m sold. (Though this summer’s bathing suit is still crumpled in the bottom of my lingerie drawer. Oh how I miss the summer of my pregnancy–lots of pastry, chips & dip, and ice cream, and not a swatch of Lycra in sight!)
I totally made that tart! I did it in the tart pan, and it is by far the best dessert I have ever made. Also my most popular post, ever. This cherry version/riff looks great… now I just have to find myself a cherry pitter :)
I swear by a chopstick.
Thanks for the great tip!
I love the paperclip method: unbending a paper clip, use the small “hook” to loosen and pull out the pit.
Try a straw and an empty bottle. You cut a small X at the bottom of a cherry, put it upside on the mouth of a bottle and punch in the center with a straw. The pit will fall in the bottle. I made a standard clafoutis this week and it worked perfectly. The thud in the bottle telling me the pit was not stuck inside the cherry.
I love how elegant this is, even though it’s a bar cookie. It’s pretty rare to find bars this photogenic!
This looks absolutely yummy…
yummy to the tummy.
Delicious. I will certainly give this a try.
lovely! what do you think about my using rhubarb in place of cherries? i’d roll the pieces in granulated sugar prior to placing them…
A cherry pitter! How extraordinary! My ex-boyfriend’s mother used to make a cherry clafouti with the cherries from their own tree. She didn’t pit the fruit, which made eating the desert all the more messy and fun!
Oh wow, that would be so good with raspberries. Blueberries even. Peaches!?!? Mmmmm.
I interrupt my regularly scheduled lurking to let you know how excited I get whenever my RSS reader tells me SmittenKitchen has a new post. Every time, I think “Yes! SmittenKitchen! I love Deb.” Whenever I’m asked where a recipe comes from, I pimp SK. I’m embarrassed to admit that today, for the first time, it occurred to me that you might like to know these things. As does almost everything on the site (Woman, because of you, I actually pickled! grapes!), this looks amazing. I can’t wait to give it a try. Thank you, many times over.
I saw this picture and thought, wow, makes me want to make cherry clafoutis. Then I read that this is even better?!? MUST MAKE NOW!
i agree– never met a tart i didn’t like!
You know something, Deb? You actually changed my life about a year ago when you lamented your lack of cherry pitter when making a cake (I think it was your cherry cornmeal cake). I had never thought of buying such a thing — a gadget to do only one thing. It seemed like blasphemy to me. But, we never used to buy cherries because I hated spitting out the cherry pits like an uncouth youth. And, then, I thought about it some more and decided that I must have one. And that cherry pitter (in fact the identical cherry pitter that you have) has changed my life slightly. I buy cherries gleefully now, excited about punching out those pesky little pits.
Anyway, this recipe sounds fantastic. Can’t wait to try it.
Those look heavenly! Also in my third trimester and experiencing an energy lag like nothing else… but these make me want to get back on that horse! Thank you!
Off to watch the video and make plans tonight for the chicken in my fridge…
Hey! That video was great!!! All three of you look good! ;) Which reminds me, I have to make more of that chicken salad…it rocks. and I’ll make the cherry bars for dessert…
I made that raspberry tart too and it was absolutely spectacular. Nice variation, I can’t wait to try it!
I love cherries (duh..who doesn’t) but I’ve been so leary of using sweet cherries in recipes. All my older recipes call for tart cherries and I’m never sure how much to adjust the sugar. Plus..sweet cherries bleed alot. I made that cherry cornmeal upside down thing you posted once..delicious, but it was a deep burgundy that bled through the cake quite a bit. Your bars here don’t appear to have, though. Did you rinse them well after pitting or were they just firm and a bit on the under ripe side?
Love your video series. You look cute so stop with the double-chinness and stuff. I’m totally with you for those wings!
Zomg you are the most adorable chicken-cutlet hater ever.
This is a fabulous looking dessert- anything with butter and fruit is going to be a winner!
I’ve watched a video of you, Elsie and Jaden; it’sgreat!
Oh no! Another reason to buy cherries! I am obsessed with them :) I can’t wait to try this one. And if I can wait until later in the summer, we’ll start getting yellow Hood River cherries here (Oregon)…which makes me want to re-tart-ify or cake-ify your bars and try the yellow cherries together with some yellow plum jam we have from last year, too. Ahh, brown butter, I can’t wait.
I’ve been thinking about that tart since the moment I saw the recipe. How genius of you to adapt it into bars!
Great tart, looks delicious. Kudos on the video post too! I like the chicken salad but I’m sorry to hear your views on Chicken cutlets… to each his or her own.
I can’t wait to make these. Buying cherries the next time I see them!
I have an old, very handy plastic cherry pitter and used it yesterday to pit a ton of cherries. And then made cherry clafouti which was delicious. Obviously, now we need to have cherry brown butter bars. Have fun with the videos!
I love that you turned the tart into bar cookies! I’m the exact same way, I actually rarely even make cookies because I’d rather just throw the batter in a pan and bake it. They look so good!
very timely, just picked twenty two pounds of bings.so thanks for the idea.
deb, you are terrific in the video- nice job!
Is it just me or do the bars not look baked enough in the middle? They look like they would be gummy. Is it all the moisture from the cherries?
Jess — Not just you! I thought they were very, very slightly underbaked. I’m still adjusting to my new oven.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe. I just made your sweet cherry pie over the weekend! (http://tr.im/qdpe) To be safe, I purchased WAY too many cherries and now you’ve given me another excuse to bake with the leftovers. You rock!
how nice! I m drooling!
I adore this recipe. Anything with brown butter, really. And the cherries? Oh my goodness, this looks amazing! Congratulations on your video projects. I checked a couple of them out and you look so good. The camera likes you. Yay!
As for the “practical,” I think it’s ok to seek it especially during the first few months of birth. It’s necessary and it can also be fun. Good luck!!
You have been making some absolutely delicious desserts lately. I want to try this one so badly! I also thought the strawberry dumplings looked amazing.
argh.. brown butter.. *drool*
Is that the Williams-Sonoma gold pan? I’m so in love with those at the moment … I’ve already dropped some (read, too many) bucks for the round cake pans and the loaf pans. As if I needed more bakeware. Wait, what am I saying … of course, I needed them….
This reminds me vaguely of a recipe my mom used to make–but with no flaky pastry crust, non-brown butter, and canned cherry pie filling. So basically the white trash version of this.
But in all it’s Midwestern church cookbook-esque glory, my mom’s recipe is dang tasty. So I can only imagine how good yours must be!
Wow! My inlaws are coming over in – ack! – three days, and I’m planning on making pierogi (it’s has been a chilly and damp summer so far). This would be a nice homey dessert for afters!
I love this site so much. You have such a fun, positive “voice” in your writing – it cheers me up when I see a new post in my Google Reader!
This is a delicious recipe. I halved it, and used my mini-cheesecake pan (taking the baking time down from 40 min to 30 min) and used raspberries instead. Oh are they good!!!
Ooooo…wish I’d had this recipe for my pint of blackberries. Looks like they’ll be another pint of blackberries in my life soon. :-) Thanks for sharing…and I love the idea of making this a bar cookie recipe!
I like the idea of the bar and I totaly agree with your comment about how easy to pick food is the first one that is eaten and enjoyed at a party rather than one that has to be sliced. I have got some cherries i canned last year that I will try the tart with. Thanks for the recipe
I love the cherry cornmeal cake in your recipes, and now I’m gonna have to try this one while cherries are still relatively inexpensive. Yummmmmm.
A question, though – I saw above where you suspected the bars were very slightly underbaked. How would you describe the ideal texture of the filling? Is it cakey, or kind of a “fudgy” texture (but obviously minus the fudge)? This recipe is super-intriguing to me. Thanks Deb!
Lisa — Fudgy, I’d say. Slightly more custard-tasting than a frangipane but firm/soft like that. And my crust got pretty crisp.
JC — Yes. Sometimes they kinda hang off the end and I have to pull them out. But still, as someone who once pitted a pound of cherries with a paring knife, I can’t say enough good things about having a pitter now, as frivolous of a purchase as it had seemed last year when I caved and bought it.
Deb, I LOVED your lil video cast!!! It adds so much dimension to your recipe-tales that I simply ADORE reading. Thanks for posting and I am definitely staying tuned :D
I saw a recipe similar tothis that involved almond paste and as many berries as you can manage so I am just putting it out there – just a little, no marzipan here … but a bit of almond paste :D
These bars are so pretty, and I bet they’d work well with almost any seasonal fruit!
My 20 year old son was looking over my shoulder, and even he said they look delicious… why don’t you make those, Mom? Soon, soon… maybe tomorrow?
This is seriously one of the best looking ideas I’ve seen in a week. Yummy!
Is it me, or does your cherry pitter not work 100% of the time? I do not have the one pictured above with the little clear plastic hood (OXO, I think?), mine is all metal, and it causes me so much frustration I end up hand pitting. Messy. Time consuming.
My kids love cherries and can’t pit for themselves yet (too young!), so if the OXO one IS working for you pretty close to 100% of the time, I’d love to know!
I was just debating what my Canada Day dessert was going to be, but now I know!
Such a great treat these bars…love the way that you presented. I can only imagine the taste of it…yummie! Great pictures!
Those cherries look glorious, in the dessert and out. I tried making brown butter the other day for the first time but mucked it up. Now I’ll have to try again, although to me brown butter’s most natural fruit partner is apple, don’t know why, maybe too many tart tatins eaten in a lifetime. Someone tipped me off about a brown butter and apple cake in “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth” by Jill O’Connor.
I made these gluten free and they were AMAZING. I substituted Pamela’s Baking Mix. WOW! Thank you!
Hey did you use the baking mix or the gluten free flour, I bake a ton but my nephews are gluten free so trying to incoporate more of that. But the flours are hit or miss. Thank you!
I haven’t been paying much attention to my RSS feeds, because we’re expecting a baby and have been busy. And then I go and try to catch up and I see you’re expecting as well! So, I’m wishing you and Alex a very belated congratulations!
I too saw the tart in Bon Appétit magazine and made it. But I used Strawberries instead. Honestly, it was a long process and no one really liked it. It thought it tasted good but knowing all of that butter was in there made it really hard to enjoy. Plus it didn’t look pretty. So, I hope others have better luck with it than I did. You certainly did!
I’m thinking a combination of sweet cherries & blueberries would make a good ‘4th of July fireworks’ picnic dessert…
This looks delicious! Thank you for the recipe!
psssh who needs practical cooking anyway. i love cherries so much but rarely bake with them. i think they’re a fruit best served in a big bowl just the way they are.
Perfect! I just went cherry picking today. I will definitely be making this tomorrow!
My Mom used to make something very similar….cherries on sale here. Thanks!
What do you think about sour cherries (pie cherries)? I have a fabulous tree full of them in a couple weeks and am always looking for different recipes. This looks like a winner. Love your blog!
Just stopping by to say I’m excited about the video project. I’ve been a reader for a long time and I remember – back when it was smitten (sans kitchen) and you were unhappy at that awful job you had and you wanted to quit your job to ice cupcakes…well you’ve come a long way, no? It keeps me inspired that I too will eventually find my professional way….Oh and the cherry brown butter bars look divine – but that goes without saying.
These look yummy and beautiful…the perfect package:)
OMG! Gotta have that. In love with cherries right now. We may split later, but now… totally smitten.
In the process of baking this as I am typing this. I decided to go with the tart pan, just because I wanted a more formal presentation, as this is a dessert for my Dad since his favorite is cherries (and I didn’t get to see him on Father’s Day. oops!) My first experience with the tart pan! And browning butter! I also threw in a little almond extract into the filling mix since I will be serving this with toasted almond gelato.
I saw your video on Serious Eats, and before it even started, I thought, “wait, Deb’s going to talk about a chicken breast recipe?! That she likes?!” You were so cute though.
This sounds and looks delicious! Cherries should be ripe for picking around here in a week or two and this will definitely be on the “todo” list :) Thanks!
Mom’s cherries are ripening fast and this looks like something yummy to do with them once we’ve gorged ourselves on them plain. I ought to take a picture of my cherry pitter sometime, if I can find it again. Some handmade thing my grandpa made. Small round wooden handle with a curved wire loop on the end.
Tell you what, though. This is *not* going into a tart pan! Small bar cookies > tarts.
this looks yummy.
i am away with lousy internet access and i cannot tell you how much i miss checking out your wonderful site as soon as they reach my feed reader!
These look delicious. I have been feasting on the latest cherries from the market here in Alberta and definitely don’t have energy yet to turn them into anything more … but this is seriously inspiring.
I love the idea of videos of you and other bloggers! Sounds like fun.
I HAVE to try this. It looks amazing! And raspberries are so expensive. Cherries are yummier too. :)
my grandmother pitted cherries with the non-opening end of a safety pin. easier than using a knife i assume, but probably not as good as a cherry pitter.
What’s this? Better than clafoutis? You have my attention. I just picked up another bursting bag of cherries from the farm stand today. Now I know just what to do with them.
ohhh. this looks so good. i am planning on doing clafoutis but then this changed my mind. now i am confused. i saw your videos on good bite. they were so much fun. keep it up.
I just had to speak up and tell you that your practical side coming through won’t last forever – it sounds like you are ‘nesting’ as they call it. In the meantime, be glad that it leads to lovely creations like this!
There’s no shame in practical.
I made your wedding cake recipes in cupcake form for a party this weekend and they were a huge hit! The chocolate cake is chocolatier than anything I’ve had before.
i had a bag of cherries in the fridge that was going to go bad if i let them sit another day, so this recipe came at just the right time. i whipped this up last night and i have to say: it is DELICIOUS. i’d never made or cooked with brown butter before, but i am loving the depth of its flavor. thank you so much for yet another great recipe! :)
These look amazing! I think I might just have to make these this weekend.
beautiful dessert! love love the new project you’re in and you’re so freaking adorable and you and alex are going to have the CUTEST baby ever :) get tons of rest momma!
This looks a lot like a clafouti, right? Yum! I’m imagining it w/ fruit from all seasons: peaches, plums, then pears.
1) Deb, you look adorable!
2) The cherry bars look fantastic. If only I’ve got good cherries to make them with…
I am SO making this!
What a fabulous recipe! I love that it could be adapted to almost any fruit. You bloggers are doing a fantastic job on the Good Bites site. Well done!
So I almost threw my laptop on the floor in my haste to run out and buy a cherry pitter (the one kitchen gadget I don’t own). Brown butter=life-changing.
Thanks so much for such consistently wonderful recipes and posts- I do a little squealy dance of glee when you show up on Google Reader.
What a fabulous idea! I actually used that recipe and another brown butter tart recipe (from Food & Wine) to make little tartlets with raspberries (I want to use necatarines too but for some reason the ones I got were all mushy). This would have been so much less time-consuming!
I agree about finger foods trumping anything that needs to be sliced, etc.
These look crazy good and living in a WA state where we ship 747s full of cherries all over the world, I shall snag a few for my own devices, one being making these brownies. My own orchard is young and produces enough for a month of handfuls (and ‘beakfuls’ if you’re a crow or robin).
Wow, they look simply scrumptious!
Deb — I LOVE the videos. You look adorable. What a great idea. I’ve always wanted to see you on TV. You and The Pioneer Woman, and Elsie and Orangette and . . . Wouldn’t that be a great Food Network show?
I think I’ve eaten 10 pounds of Bing cherries all by myself in the past two-three weeks. Just wish the cherry season was a tad bit longer. I love them cold from the fridge. Oh, and Cherries Jubilee. Easy-peasy.
Amazing ! These beautiful Cherries will put me on cloud nine!
Thanks for sharing your recipe.
Rest assured, any recipe that involves pitting cherries can never be called practical.
That said, I lost my cooking mojo in the 3rd trimester and it returned when bebe was about 2 months old.
Dang- I just used my sour cherries up in muffins this morning- oh, if I had only visited your site sooner…
Deb, I hope you take this in the best way possible, but seeing this and reading the rest of the site for like a year now and watching that video makes me really want to be you when I grow up!
Hiya! Just wanted to say you have great camera presence. I look forward to watching more!
Yum! The photos make me want to eat the screen…
I LOVE the video!!!! awesome idea. :)
practical is a mothers middle name …I’m just saying…these look so beautiful …and messy good!
Now I wish I hadn’t eaten all of my cherries from the farmer’s market on Sunday! Drats!
PS–The video is great!
I made these tonight and took them to my bible study–they were quickly devoured! Thanks for the delicious recipe!
I’ve got a batch that is 1/2 cherry and 1/2 blueberry in the oven right now. This so easy and the batter is excellent! Thanks for the inspiration, Deb.
Thanks for sharing that recipe. Looks very good! You’re so pretty in the video, too!
Perfect! I have some Rainier (white cherries) & Bing Cherries on the counter, just freshly picked yesterday! I’m also gonna pick up some blueberries and make it a Red/White/Blue Butter Bar for 4th of July! Thanks for sharing your recipe=)
This looks divine, do you think I could use sour cherries & increase the sugar? My MIL has lots on her tree and we’ll be picking them soon. Do you think a little almond extract would work in this recipe if I used the sour cherries? Thanks!
Your photos are so beautiful… these “bars” are calling and enticing….
Can you use frozen (thawed) cherries?
If you used Sour Cherries, would you increase the sugar? If so, how much?
Love the photo demonstration! Recipe looks delicioius!
OK, I have to confess – I made these yesterday since i had a few left from my weekend farmer’s market fruit binge (few=exactly the amount called for in this recipe.) Yum. These are fantastic!
Any recipe with brown butter in the title has my name all over it. Looking forward to trying these.
Any idea how these would freeze? My husband is not a cherry fan, but I love them.
Sharon — I have mine in the freezer. They freeze just fine.
Those that have asked about sour cherries — I definitely think they could work, but it’s hard for me to guess how you should adjust the sugar, or if you have to adjust the sugar at all, without trying it at home. And I’ve had no luck finding sour cherries (yet) (sniffle). If you’re not fearful of undersweetened desserts — I, for one, am not — try the recipe just as is. If you can leave a comment letting others know how it worked, I am sure they’d appreciate it, as would I.
These bars look so yummy and gorgeous, you have inspired me to bake them this weekend. Hurry, weekend!!
This looks delicious, as does the chicken salad. I plan on making both this weekend. And, you look great on the video. Please don’t get camera shy and quit making them. . .
This looks delicious – now I just have to rework the recipe to make it sugar and gluten free, and I can put it on my weekend menu…
Awesome! I saw this recipe in BA this month too, but raspberries are so pricey! Cherries, while still pricy, are simply BIGGER. And I love that top photo. What a mod, polka dot effect you’ve accomplished with the cherries!
Thanks! Looking at these pictures makes me hungry, I have to try this recipe sometime.
I saw the video earlier this week and was so very excited for you! I’m looking forward to trying the bars. I need to catch up on my summer fruit baking.
Loved these! I too saw the recipe in Bon Apetite, used your recipe for bar cookies but kept the raspberries. These were unbelievably delicious!! And as a mother of four–I am totally into the practicality of this recipe. Kudos Deb!
But I really want them to be cherry chocolate brown butter bars… yes, chocoate seems like it would be lovely here… only then will I drool over the picture!
Can you tell me about how many cups 12 oz of cherries is? a cup and a half? two cups? I bought cherries today, but I am not sure how much, and I don’t have a scale.
So, I was craving something baked and decadent, and had a container of fresh blueberries in the fridge, along with some frozen ones. I also only had dark brown sugar, so I winged it. 6 oz of frozen wild berries and 6 oz of fresh berries were sort of overload when I put them in the pan, but I went with it. And I cut the brown sugar down in the filling; probably 1/3 cup.
The only thing it feels like it’s missing? Probably some lemon or something to freshen up the flavor in the filling. I think if the berries had been all fresh, it would have been tastier.
Lots of criticisms later, I still find it incredibly good, buttery, and unfortunately probably all ending up in my tummy!
I have to agree with your opinion of chicken breasts in the Good Bite snippet! That was fun to watch.
amazing!!! the hubby LOVES cherries and anything containing them so i had to make these…. the only(minor)change i made was putting a vanilla bean in while browning the butter.
Hi Deb! I was wondering what your thought is on pan type for bar cookies. I have seen people recommend metal a lot lately. I was wondering what your thought was on metal square pan vs. glass. Do I have to adjust the baking time if I use glass instead?
Hi! Made these last night with blackberries instead of cherries, because that’s what I had. I also substituted a little bit of the vanilla with almond extract. They got rave reviews from everyone fast enough to get one. Thanks!
I made these with a slightly tart cherry from the farmer’s market and just cut into them… they are GREAT! I had to remind my 15 year old son that they were not dinner… and stop eating or they would be gone in 25 minutes… Thank you for a great treat!!! I wonder if they will last the night?
I made these tonight with blueberries (um, because I ate all the farmer’s market cherries before I had time to bake…) and it’s delish, although I think I went a bit heavy with the berries, and they aren’t nearly as pretty as yours, Deb. I added about 1 tbsp. of lemon juice and the zest of one lemon to the filling. Can’t wait to make them again with cherries!
Practical or not, these bars looks delicious! I’m sure I would prefer these over the original tart! So much easier!!
These were a really quick desert. They are so good! I didnt have nonsalted butter, so I used the salted stuff and reduced the amount of salt in the recipe by half. Worked perfect! I actually added a bit of fresh ground nutmeg (Just because I love fresh nutmeg). YUM-O!
Practical is important if you are toting baked goods all over town (say, up to the Bronx and back to Brooklyn by subway). Crumbles, cobblers, all those juicy things meant to be served warm: not good. Bars that can be sliced up, plopped into muffin papers (genius idea I nabbed from my friend Bonnie), and boxed efficiently, later to be picked up neatly by buffet grazers: super. Plus you can steal a bar for yourself and no one will know, but don’t let on I told you.
I made the blueberry bars last week. These cherry ones are calling to me, but louder still shout the four bananas browning on my counter. (I think I’ll use Molly Wizenberg’s banana bread recipe as cited by Luisa at the Wednesday Chef this week.)
I made the original recipe of this (I had used my cherries in a clafoutis the other day) as all I had were the raspberries. This is an excellent recipe. I just love the crust, it’s so easy to put together and so crisp, sweet and buttery. The filling is also wonderful with the browned butter, what a great flavor. Who’d have thought browned butter would work with raspberries? Next time, I’ll use the cherries, as I loved their flavor when baked. You were right, this is like a clafoutis in a crust. Excellent! Thanks, Deb.
i just made these for our fourth of july lunch and i am blown away! brown butter, where have you been all my life?
Wow. I made these yesterday and they were FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC. Thank you so much. A huge hit at the bbq I was at as well. thank you. LOVE. My previous favorite baked good may have been displaced (cherry oatmeal cookies).
Congrats on the new project!!! That’s quite a lineup:) The cherry brown butter bars sound great – I think I would prefer the cherries to raspberries, too.
Made these this weekend and brought them to a party. I kept seeing an Argentine man sneak back to the plate…eating a total of about 12 of them (1″x1″ bite-sized pieces). A huge hit. They smell unbelievable when baking.
Amazing. I made two batches this weekend for the 4th; one blueberry the other raspberry. My baking skills our lacking and people still loved them and they looked gorgeous!
These were delicious…definitely a “keeper”
Made these this weekend, using blackberries to fill out the strawberry/blueberry combo left over from Independence Day pancakes. Absolutely delicious, thanks so much! This was the first time I’ve used brown butter in sweet concoctions, and definitely won’t be the last.
And it worked just fine doubled in a 9×13, for future reference. I probably could have polished off a single recipe on my own. ;)
Seriously awesome. I served them with Haggen Daaz Five brand Brown Sugar ice cream and it was amazing.
I made these for a 5th of July party (yes, 5th, not 4th, long story…). The crust came out crisp and buttery and packed with flavor, the cherries were delicious, but the filling was not up to the level of the rest of this recipe – it tasted too much like egg. I suspect I messed up the brown butter somehow. I cooked it until medium brown and while transferring to a measuring cup to cool noticed that the brown color came from tiny little specks (solids?) that floated to the top. Any idea what I did wrong and how to correct it? I should note that the rest of the people did not share my disappointment and finished the (doubled!) recipe in no time. Deb, you are getting many admirers in Tucson, AZ every time I make one of your recipes, I feel like I should put a little pile of cards with your website URL next to the plate to bypass all the requests for recipes.
It’s me again, the gal who never has the right equipment. This time I didn’t have a cherry pitter, so I did it the old fashioned way with a tiny paring knife. This took quite awhile, but it was worth it. I used Bing cherries from Eastern Washington which were truly divine, and home made vanilla. I definitely will make these again, but I think leaving it the oven a bit longer would be best. Mine too, were a little undercooked at 40 minutes even though the tester came out clean. Sour cherries would be really good too, especially if serving with ice cream. I served mine with a scoop of vanilla cherry ice cream. Dangerously delicious!
WOW! I don’t remember how I found your site/blog but, I’m really glad I did. I bought a bag of Cherries at a farmstand off 101N near San Jose with no real purpose for them (other than eating nealry half a pound on the way up to Sonoma). I found your site and decided to give the recipe a try. Im not the best baker and they didn’t look as pretty as yours but, they were a HUGE success! Thank you!
These bars keep really well. After 3 days in a sealed container at room temperature they were better than out of the oven, and after a week they were still moist and tasty.
Having a recipe using fresh cherries, without drowning them in sugar, is great. But what I like best about this recipe is the bottom layer. It’s thinner and sturdier than a typical shortbread-like base for bars, but not so stiff it’s hard to cut through. I pre-baked it to golden brown the first time (which was too much after full baking). For later batches I found that pre-baking to blond gold yielded perfect results. It’s a component worth using in many other desserts.
My husband keeps urging me to make things that are more practical. And this pregnancy I’m ready to think practical is a good idea!
A friend of mine just brought me some cherries.
But I don’t have a pitter; you must have cherries a lot since you remarked that you limit your kitchen supplies because of the small kitchens there.
I was thinking of making a cherry clafoutis but this looks yummy, too!
I made this for my family today. I loved it, with a few reservations. I used a tart pan, since my 8″ square does not have straight sides. It did not release easily from the pan, but I got it out in one piece. My cherries must have been extra juicy, as they bled signigicantly more than in yours. Still tasty, but not as pretty. I would make this again, in bar form. I think I preferred the clafoutis presentation-wise. Thanks for the great recipe, yet again!
The only person disappointed with these at a housewarming party I brought them to was the guy who thought it was pizza (the room was dimly lit). Can’t wait to make these again!
Just made these for a barbeque and everyone loved them! I’ve turned several of the guests at this bbq onto your site, so they knew exactly what they were!
These were a joy. I nearly ate half the pan by myself, don’t think I’ll be taking these into work.
I made these yesterday and they were a huge hit. I halved the cherries though, and layered them significantly more, so that it was less of a domino look. I figured it would be easier for my two year old to enjoy the cherries. I served it with vanilla ice cream and it was heavenly. Thanks so much!!
i just made this with fresh blackberries and it’s un-friggin-believable! i had to pack the bars up so i wouldn’t eat them all before my husband even sees them. also, i used foil to create the tart pan effect and it peeled right off — easy breezy! thanks for posting this recipe. i’ll be trying different versions in the near future!
Thanks as always for a fun recipe. I loved the ease of the crust, and its flaky and crunchy texture (I’ll need to think of how I can use this with another baked good). Like your oven, mine also seems to bake a little quicker than the time calls for. These bars remind me of Gooey Butter Cake (Ever had it? It seems to be the cake of choice in St. Louis. Paula Deen does a version using a cake mix, which I don’t love.) Since I adore cherries, I was hoping for more cherry flavor (then again, maybe my cherries weren’t the most flavorful). I wonder if almond extract would be good in this? And, I also wonder if a chocolate/cocoa version would be feasible? So many things to ponder… Thanks again!
I think almond extract would be great in here, or anything with cherries.
Thanks for the recipe! I had a perfect bag of cherries for this. I didn’t line them up as nicely as you – because I had spent 20 minutes pitting my bastard cherries by hand, argh! So I ran out of culinary steam there.
Will. Get. Pitter. Can a cherry pitter also pit olives?
Illustrative picture from my attempt:
These are so so yummy.
I made them as written with all sour cherries and thought they were great (I made them yesterday, note past tense :), they certainly have tang but it is a good balance I think and the guys at work devoured the amount alloted them in no time at all.
also — I weighed my cherries in just under one pound but was solid cherries in the pan -no arranging needed! maybe they were just smaller so more little bobbles to line up? who knows but solid cherries is certainly not a bad thing!
I made these today, but used self-raising flour by accident. The bad news is, they didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to. he good news is, it make a delicious light, yellow sponge! I used raspberries and some homemade raspberry jam instead of all fruit!
I just made these for my daughter and her boyfriend to take to the beach tomorrow.
They are sooooo good. Delicious and brown buttery…mmmm. I added 1/4 tsp. almond extract to accent the cherries.
Thanks for this simple, tasty recipe.
I was a little nervous about the texture/consistency of these, looking at the photos and reading the comments. I was pleasantly surprised! The crust and filling turned out amazing! The crust has a wonderful flakiness to it. The filling has a very unusual texture, but amazing depth of flavor. The brown butter does the trick. I used 1/2 t of vanilla extract and 1/2 t of almond extract in mine, which went well with the cherries and gives it a great aroma.
No cherry pitter here, but using the paring knife was not bad at all. I was able to pit and make the filling while the crust baked. I used 36 cherries and cut the pieces with one cherry in each piece, which worked great.
I’m not completely sold on the use of cherries in this. They were a little too firm for my tastes. I think next time I may use blackberries, which would give you a similar size as the cherries, but not as firm.
I made these one or two weeks ago. I used plums instead of cherries. They worked fine.
And I’m quite sure sour cherries would work just as well. We here in Hungary have many sweets recipes with sour cherries, actually, it is more common to use sour cherries in sweets than sweet ones. And we don’t add an additional amount of sugar. I guess the tartness of the cherries makes the dough or batter taste even more sweet, and they somehow complement each other.
But in making these I made the mistake of using some butter of inferior quality. It was somehow watery, and small particles separated from it, that burned, so in the end I had to sieve it before using it. Or maybe I just tried to brown it too quick, don’t know. The end result was pretty okay, though, I liked it a lot, and it was gone too soon.
I made these last night for the first time — boy, were they delicious. I was tempted to just eat the brown butter filling by itself, but I’m glad I held out for the finished product. These would be great for a picnic/bbq/anything that needs food to be transported because they stack nicely and aren’t messy.
Deb – Do you have any photos showing what the “brown” butter looks like. My butter had little brown bits that settled at the bottom while cooling it. Should I strain it before adding it to the filling?
Hi Deb! Made this, looks nothing like yours, but tastes FANTASTIC! The brown butter really plays up a toasty note that is, well, the cherry on top ;)
I made these last night and was met with limited success due to my total ignorance of brown butter. However, even with “dark yellow” butter, they turned out fairly tasty. After googling brown butter (uhhh – why did I not think of this before hand???) I am going to make them again tonight, I am determined!
i passed this recipe along to a friend who was looking for something to do with cherries. he actually made it and shared with me. it was very good – buttery and not overly sweet.
I finally got around to making these today with my kids. I don’t have a cherry pitter, but even the cheap little PLASTIC star tip from my 4-yr-old’s baking set worked fine for pitting the cherries. OK, they got a little bashed up but it’s not like you’re going to complain about it with a mouthful of one of these babies. Scrumptious! even with not enough vanilla (I ran out).
I’ve been lurking here for months, but trying several of the recipes along the way. I’m smitten with you, Deb! I love everything I’ve made and you’re so fun to read.
Made these today and oh my gosh….why was I so afraid of fruit desserts before? :)
I gave these a shot, double batch for a party. I had a pound of cherries and no cherry pitter, so I used a paring knife and pitted them like tiny peaches, cutting them in half; also, thinking that my one pound (which was just on the edge of overripe, so I threw out a good portion) wouldn’t be enough for two batches, I bought a pound of strawberries. I also added the handful of 60% cacao chips left over from the brownies I did last week–which totally worked. All the elements were delicious in themselves, but I think the baking time/temp was wrong for my oven; it was overdone and less yummy than it could have been; I’ll have to try it again differently. I actually preferred the strawberries to the sweet cherries. Brown butter is a revelation.
Oh My Gawd!!! Made them tonight with little Italian plums (the really dark purple with greenish flesh. So incredibly good. Made two pans to take to a potluck tomorrow and have a little for dessert tonight. Big test of will power not to have more than the 1 I had tonight!
Deb, would it be OK to use frozen cherries for this recipe?
I don’t see why not, but I have only tested it with fresh ones. It looks like other commenters have tried it with frozen, however.
I made these tonight with frozen raspberries and haven’t been able to stop eating them. The sweet brown butter, tart raspberries, and flaky crust are amazing together.
oh my this is my favorite thing… CHERRIES!! when i saw this i wanted it so bad i am hoping my mom is going to make it soon but keep dong what u do bc u have very good ideas.
Hey deb-made these last night with leftover cherries from making your sweet cherry pie (with your crust, which was AMAZING. a dream to work with). These were fantastic and i dont even particularly like cherries. brought them to work and they were gone in record time. i’m going to do it up again with peaches this weekend. can’t wait! thanks as always!
oh ps. also making the peanut butter crispy bars this weekend. those are delicious as well. and trying out the raspberry breakfast bars next week! what would i do without you?
Yeah…so I entered these in the Ramsey County Fair Honey divison….yeah…substituted some honey…less competition? Well, we’ll see…gave you credit for the recipe though…no worries there!! I gave some of my testing leftovers to my mom and apparently the librarians in Rochester, MN think I’m (well, you…) am a total cooking genius…
I brought this to a dinner party and everyone enjoyed it. (I wanted a more formal presentation, and lacking a tart pan I used a springform; worked nicely)
I thought the filling was a bit ho-hum, possibly because I failed to properly brown the butter, but the slice I had the next day was so good!
I agree with an above commenter that the crust needs to be cooked to a pale gold; I cooked mine golden brown and it burned a tiny bit before the filling was done.
I made these tonight, subbing almond extract for the vanilla, and the two bites I just had are TO. DIE. FOR. Except for one teensy thing: the crust got burnt, but the filling was just cooked correctly. Do you think this may be because I didn’t let the crust cool all the way before I added the cherries and baked?
This was beyond tasty. I used jarred tart cherries from Door County, WI. What a treat! Yum!
Ok, I waited a full year for cherries to come back into season to make this. I even bought a cherry pitter months ago in anticiapation. Of course June rolled past and I almost missed cherry season this year. Oy. I managed to grab some of the last of the crop at the farmer’s market this weekend and these were well worth the wait. Yum.
Pit cherries. Check. Bake crust. Check. Prepare filling. Check.
But I’m not confident I’m going to get much further. Took a bite of the filling and tasted browned butter for the first time, and now I can’t stop eating spoonfuls of it. ZOMG it’s good.
I made this using about two cups of sour cherries and I did not need to add any sugar! I’d love to try this with bing cherries someday, but it’s still delicious with sour ones.
Bought a bumper crop of cherries (unintentionally) from Whole Foods, so I was searching around for something to make so they don’t go to waste. This was PERFECT. So so delicious, and easy!
A year later, I made these. Again. With fresh blackberries. And whole wheat flour (accidentally only had that in the pantry). And yet again, they’re amazing. Tarts might be my new favorite dessert.
How do you feel a out this with cranberries in it??
This was just gorgeous!! i used more cherries and vanilla essence instead of the extract which didnt make much of a difference than the one i did before. It is full of butter, but you know what, you live once and everyone has to make it at least once in their lifetime!!
I just made this with (frozen) raspberries and almonds. Crazy good, the whole dorm went wild. THanks again, Deb!
a starving student
I used frozen cherries and made this in a 9 inch tart tin, but would have liked it a little thicker so will try it in an 8 inch next time. It went down well with my dinner guests and tasted great – not too sweet. We polished off the left overs the following day. I think it actually tasted better the following day as the texture was a little softer. Another great and easy recipe. Thanks!
Did you thaw and drain the cherries or just put them in frozen? Thanks!
I was just wondering, because the picture of the pre-baked version minus the brown butter differed from the final product, does the crust cover the sides as well as the bottom? Thanks, sorry if someone already asked the question, I did skim through the comments though.
I used the exact recipe above but made them individually in cupcake liners. I baked the crusts for about 15 minutes and then the filling for about 25-30 minutes. Absolutely fabulous!
I made these today and they were wonderful. So different and delicious. I’ll definitely make these again. Thanks!
I’m using this recipe for the cherries I soaked in brandy for 46 days.
I made these today because they’ve been on my mind constantly (and I’m trying to help my thin friend during her difficult pregnancy by plying her with baked goods)…similar to your reaction to the hazelnut brown butter cake. I think cherries are so sultry, so pairing them with brown butter in an elegant bar cookie seemed so…enchanting.
I couldn’t find fresh cherries (erm, not exactly the season) and didn’t want to make this with any other fruit, so thankfully I found some dark frozen ones, which I defrosted and drained to use in the recipe. I also replaced half the sugar in the filling with light brown sugar, omitted the vanilla (too broke to buy any worth using, figured the brown sugar would add a little of that oomph back in), and used salted butter and left out the added salt.
My memories of making this would be so wonderful if I hadn’t spilled all the brown butter (boooooo!the kitchen table will never smell better than it does now, though) and then had to make more, but this recipe was super simple to make, even in the crappy dorm kitchen I’m using. I was sad to bake the filling because I tried it, died, went to heaven, and then licked the bowl down. It was like the best salted toffee taste ever, I wish I could just eat that.
I’m not sure that flavor stayed around in the final product – it’s good, I have it in the fridge now and I think I’ll like it a lot more tomorrow (the corner pieces are the best, so far). But man, I miss that bowl.
Thanks so much for a great adventure!
Great recipe—reminds me of Europe! I used a muffin tin and ended up with nice individual pastries. Thanks.
Wow, Deb, these were so good. That brown butter really gave them a dimension that I haven’t experienced before, especially in a bar cookie… although I think that term is too lowly for this dessert. I want to try this with every fruit I can make work.
I used those yellow/pink Rainier cherries because they are so pretty to look at when they’re fresh, but I wish I had used dark red like you did… the whole thing came out looking one color. But that didn’t really matter because they were so delicious!
Do NOT skip the parchment! I didn’t want to bother late last night and what a pain to get them out!
I want to make them in a 9 x 13 – because I need to make a lot (3 – 9 x 13 pans). Any suggestions on who to convert the 8 x 8 to a 9 x 13. My gut is to double – Deb what do you think? thanks
I usually double to convert an 8×8 to 9×13. Might be a teensy bit thicker, but no real harm there.
looooong time sk reader and book owner and wished-i-had-gone-to-your-book-signing-when-you-were-in-town-er, but first time commenter! i made these following recipe as written a few years ago and loved them, but now that i have high cholesterol i tried to make them vegan/gluten-free. didn’t go whole hog, though, as left the eggs in, but in case anyone is wondering, replacing the flour 1:1 with gluten-free flour mix and replacing the butter with olive oil worked out great, just be sure not to over-parbake the crust!
These. Are. Amazing. Bought some cherries the other day and after second-thinking my initial reaction to just shovel them all into my mouth, I remembered that I recently pinned this recipe. AND, (two birds) I’m desperately trying to get my very picky hubby to try new things…since he claims to only like maraschino cherries, this was my chance. So instead of leaving the cherries whole, I halved them when I pitted them and sprinkled a little sugar on them before layering them on the crust. They are amazing, and hubby even finished a whole piece! Lol. Definitely keeping this recipe!
i soaked the cherries overnight in a port / almond extract mixture … delicious!
Deb – I just made this recipe! omg SO good! Love your blog! My husband and I are going to Italy in October, so we will be checking out some of your Rome suggestions!
I couldn’t resist the cherries at the Farmer’s Market this morning and this was, without a doubt, just the cure for a surplus of cherries.
I used a bottle and wrong end of a spoon to pit the cherries. What a delicious mess!
The smell in the kitchen is driving us nuts. I’m going to serve the bars with bourbon pecan gelato. <3
Hey I just made this recipe about an hour ago. The butter made these bars taste wonderful. They were delicious with vanilla ice cream. However I just want to stress the importance of watching them in the oven. I baked them for 30 minutes even though the recipe said forty and they should have come out at 20-25 minutes. They were delicious but baked way to long and the filling wasn’t as moist it became almost bread-y.However they were still quite delicious (: hope this helps somebody.
Wow, these were good!
Subbed cranberries for the cherries and enjoyed these immensely as one of our Thanksgiving desserts. The pumpkin pie was jealous. Thank you!
I woke up this morning literally dreaming of cherry clafoutis (summer can’t come soon enough here in Chicago!). I figured this was a good wintry compromise with the brown butter and because I had a mix of organic sweet and sour cherries in the freezer. The only change I made (aside from the frozen cherries) was to sub almond extract for the vanilla in the filling. This was perfection (as is every recipe I’ve made from this site and your cookbook). Thank you!
Hello. I made this today with just under 2 c sour cherries. As I was making it, I noticed it had some similarities to this cake from Traveler’s Lunchbox, so I decided to add half a vanilla bean to the browned butter, then I sprinkled a tablespoon of demerara sugar on top before putting it in the oven. It baked a little quicker for me–about 33-35 minutes instead of 40 for the final bake.
The smaller sour cherries made it a little harder to cut because they fell off the edges, but wow, this is delicious! I like the mix of sweet and tart and the proportions of crust/fruit/filling were very nice. Thanks for the great recipe!
I made these today with Ranier cherries. I used almond extract and added a sprinkling (maybe 1/4 cup) of bittersweet chocolate chips. Very delicious and not overly sweet. My husband said the flavor and texture remind him of a fruit upside down cake. I will surely make this recipe again. Peaches would be very nice I think. Thank you!
Simply wonderful for Walker House member’s lunches.
Fantastic recipe! Made it last week with sweet cherries, double recipe in 9×13 pan, and had people fighting over the last piece. Made it again this week with red Santa Rosa plums and people said it was even better even though 1) I stuck it under the broiler to finish because the middle didn’t look done (I have a weird oven) and the top got burned, and 2) the plums were a bit tart. I just cut off the burnt parts and sprinkled powdered sugar over. Problems solved! I am wondering if I brown butter the crust too would that be overkill? Worth a try! Can’t wait to make this with other fruits like peaches and berries. Maybe apples too. Thanks so much for this simple but gourmet recipe!
Gorgeous! However, I would recommend anyone check the bars starting at 30 minutes of baking time. Mine were already browned and a toothpick came out clean at 30 minutes, and I fear they would have been dreadfully overdone if I waited a full 40 minutes. Although I too have a finicky apartment oven.
Cooking time problem was the opposite for me. I cooked an extra 10 minutes, and finally had to take it out because the edges were getting too brown. Unfortunately, the middle was still goo. I used thawed and drained frozen cherries, maybe that contributed. The edges were delicious, however.
I had similar issues to Michele in 208, but I used fresh cherries. I halved them, since I don’t have a pitter, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Mine had to be covered for an extra 15 minutes b;c the edges were so brown but the inside was still goopy. It also smelled really eggy at the 30 min mark, but that dissipated after more time in the oven (lower temp, covered with foil, approx 15 more mins). it was still softer than the “fudgy” texture Deb describes, but delicious! i would definitely try it again, it was a hit at the BBQ I went to, regardless. I’d like to try it with peaches.
Hi Deb–just reporting that I made this with half sweet cherries and half rhubarb without any added sugar and it was delicious. I don’t know why I waited so long to make this! Trifecta of delicious, interesting, and convenient. As a fan of salt in baked goods, I also used 1/4 teaspoon in both the crust and the filling (so 1/2 teaspoon total)–really helps the flavor come together–and added a coue of teaspoons of lemon juice to the filling. No one thought it was too sour or not sweet enough
I have a lot of frozen pitted sour cherries. Will this work; any adaptation needed?
I haven’t made it with frozen but others have and it sounds like it works. You might want to bump the sugar slightly to compensate for the tartness.
I love Smitten Kitchen and so enjoy your baked goods especially ;) Hubs has to eat gluten free (kids and I love gluten!) So I substituted Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF flour blend and they turned out great. They didn’t make it to the end of the day. Wanted to share in case anyone was curious. Thank you!
Bought a cherry pitter today – such a fun little gadget–and made these tonight. I have a brownie pan with removable bottom and it worked wonderfully. Thought I was taking these to work tomorrow but am having second thoughts– seriously good, wonderful almost not quite gooey filling- and the browned butter reminded me of Christmas baking – a nice antidote to July heat. I think the only tweak I would make is what Tim mentioned, a little salt would be a nice touch. A keeper recipe, as are so many of yours.
I think I’m going to have to try this with sour cherries — the sweet cherries just ended up kind of bland both times i made it, though the rest of the bar is so delicious.
however, it changed my life when i made this with raspberries earlier this year — it’s now my go-to raspberry recipe. i also made them with peaches last year and they were great
update: still haven’t tried with sour cherries, but i just made it with pears and it’s so good. i think the issue i have with sweet cherries, and the thing that makes them just-barely-less-than-perfect with pears, is the lack of zing (sourness, brightness, strong flavor) to offset the sweetness of the filling. maybe a toss in lemon juice for the pears or add some zest to the filling next time?
@Maro: I totally agree re: sweet cherries! The flavour of the cherries for me just disappeared, and left behind only the texture. You said it perfectly, “the lack of zing …” was missing for me too. Thanks for the suggestions! Will totally try these again with different fruit options.
I have made this twice with some modification – instead of using vanilla I used almond extract. Both times they were excellent. Such an easy recipe to make (I have a cherry pitter) and a big hit with my sailing buddies. Deb, you do know how to tweak a recipe! Thank you!
You have been my go to for baking lately, and these are fantastic. I usually get intimidated by pastry crust; this was super easy, pretty and delicious with the cherries I brought home from farmers market. I might try a dab of almond extract next time. Thank you!
I just made these for a friend’s birthday, and these are absolutely amazing! The whole house smelled of such buttery goodness. I’m looking forward to trying it with tart cherries and some other fruits.
A couple of things I learned: (a) Browning the butter. I have never made brown butter before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Mine took a lot longer than 6 minutes, but I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that I was using low-fat butter. So, if you’re using low fat butter, be patient. It probably took about 12 minutes for me. But once it got close (when it starts foaming), it turned brown very promptly. (b) The crust. It also took longer than 18 minutes to get the crust to golden, probably closer to 25. My guess is because I used a glass pyrex dish rather than a metal baking pan.
This came up in my memory feed today on FB. This really makes me a happy and I hate making pie so this is a perfect use of cherries for me.
These look delicious! Can the flour be substituted with almond flour? Thanks.
Made these bars with raspberries/blueberries. WOW!!! These are the best bars I have EVER eaten! Huge hit at my house! Thank you Deb!!
Do you think this would be good with diced peaches instead of cherries?
Absolutely and it looks like this commeter already did!
Made these today for a work meeting & of course I pre-sliced them so I could sneak a bar (or 2). They are SO GOOD, very slightly sweet & showcase the cherries. I don’t have a cherry potter, so I pitted them with a paring knife & had about 8 leftover. I baked them in a glass pan & they were done in 38 min. A definite winner!
I found these bars too be too greasy and bland. As one commenter mentioned, a sour fruit might go better to contrast the strong butter flavor.
I made these because I had way too many cherries and these were the perfect solution. Similar taste to a dutch baby when it’s warmed up (but it is also really good cold)
why do I have to use the parchment paper if I have a square pan?
Makes it easier to remove. If it’s a springform or loose-bottomed square, you can probably skip it.
Do you think there too much crust/batter to bake this in a 9 inch loose bottom tart pan?
I think it would work just fine.
Cherry pitters also pit olives nicely.
I e this amazing cherry Pitter made by Progressive and it pits 4 cherries at once with no mess. It is available at Amazon for $10. and is worth every penny. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe it looks amazing.
Conundrum: making desserts for a baby shower. I’m in charge of chocolate and fruit, my friend is making GF cookies. I’m making Cook’s Illustrated’s Texas Sheet Cake. The honoree loves pie. I don’t want to make a slab pie because I don’t want a top crust. I’m thinking about doubling the crust of this recipe in a 9×13, laying thin slices of peaches and using a single recipe of the filling so that it’s a little more peach pie and a little less about the brown butter filling. I think I’m looking for something a little more like pie than the peach shortbread (i.e. more fruit). Or should I make the rhubarb almond bars replacing the rhubarb with peach? Or just make the peach shortbread as is? Any thoughts?
What about a slab pie with a crumb topping? (I’m mentioning this because I’ve been craving a peach raspberry one all summer, so it’s all about me me me.) Peach shortbread would also be nice; or you could make, say, peach-pecan (instead of almond, if you want) bars. They’re always a hit. With the peaches, you could cut them the way I do with this apricot-pistachio version. Leave the skins on, I say, because it gives the peaches pink and red streaks.
I choose all! I like the peach raspberry idea and I have some frozen from our insane bushes (that, of course, are not fruiting at this moment), so maybe I’ll use the crumb topping from the pie you posted last week and call it a day. If Deb is craving it, it seems hard to go wrong! Also, crumb toppings=my fave. Thanks Deb!
You should be able to put 6 cups fruit in a 10×15-inch jelly roll; I’d double the crumb from last week. Please save me a piece.
I’ve made these a few times because I love the flavor of these, but they always turn out pretty soggy (the dough, not the crust). Any advice for counteracting the sogginess?
Try baking it a few minutes longer before adding the filling, it might just need more time to firm up.
I just made these for family and friends and they are amazingly scrumptious! This is definitely going in my rotation. I am eager to try other fruits/berries, too. Thanks for this great recipe!
I make a pear clafoutis with star anise that is so delicious, and I will try this recipe with the same. Guaranteed fabulous!
I have the most amazing cherry pitter from Sur la Table. It’s pits SIX cherries at once. It’s absolutely brilliant. It felt like the most ridiculous thing I ever bought and then after I pitted a bag of cherries in five minutes, I decided it was one of the best investments I had ever made! I love cherries and freeze them for smoothies and I can buy a lot more of them knowing I have an easy way to get the pits out quickly. This recipe is next on my list.
These are fantastic! Can’t wait to try the recipe again with fresh blueberries.
Can the crust be made a day ahead of time? Maybe stored in the fridge or left at room temp?
Yes, and room temperature is fine once it’s baked.
I sprinkled about 2/3 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips around the cherries before I added the filling. It was a great addition. Highly recommend.
I made these with blueberries for my blueberry-loving husband’s birthday (12 oz. as you suggested). The ratio of custard to fruit was nothing like what is shown in your pictures, so that part of the overall flavor got toally lost, subsumed to the (undersweetened) blueberries. Since that is one of the things that drew me to this recipe—brown butter custard, how fabulous!—these were quite disappointing. I am not sure if it wuld have worked better with fewer berries.
Oh my! I have made this twice in a month! They are so delicious. Thanks for the recipe. My first attempt I used some frozen cherries that i had from the cherry crop last year. Just thawed and drained them and it turned out great. My second attempt was with fresh cherries from this year’s crop. Also quite delicious. Can’t wait to try this with other fruit. Caution…these are addictive!
Made these with local strawberries yesterday. Sooo good! The smell of the brown butter prevented me from holding back on cutting one out of the pan while they cooled. Ok, fine. From cutting two out of the pan while they cooled.
Can I use frozen cherries?
I’ve used frozen cherries several times with good results – a little different texture to the cherries but still delicious.
Should be fine here, no need to defrost.
If I’m using frozen fruit, should I thaw first?
So delicious! In the filling, subbed a 1/2 tsp. of almond extract for the vanilla. A huge hit — made me feel like a pro.
Yum! I halved the sugar in the crust and filling and found it plenty sweet enough.
What do you think of replacing the vanilla extract with almond extract? I just love cherry and almond together.
Absolutely — but use less. It can overpower!
This recipe is so exciting and I think it might look cool in my 4×14 tart pan that I never remember to bake in! Could you please tell me how much the dough/filling rises? (I.e., how much should I hold back from filling the top of the pan?)
I have that size and usually find that it holds 3/4 of the volume here.
Hi Deb! Log time fan, first time reviewer. I made this recipe over the weekend but had an issue with the first go around in making the crust. Melted butter? When going this route the crust was a congealed, honeycomb looking disaster. When attempting again, using softened butter, the crust came out perfect and these bars were a success. Should the recipe be updated? Thanks again for always inspiring creativity with a delicious bite!
Not sure what happened but the crust has always worked for me as written. Melted butter can definitely have a more oily look than creamed, of course. Did the first crust stay weird when you baked it?
Hi Deb – Yes, it turned out very flat with a honeycomb texture to it. But as noted, when reworking the crust with softened butter, the result was more on pace with your pictures and the end result was great…I almost ate the entire pan myself! Thanks for the follow up and of course inspiring us home bakers!!!
Made this yesterday and it was a real hit. I used salted butter, plus the pinches, vanilla bean paste in the crust but swapped for almond extract in the filling. I didn’t use a cherry pitter, so mine were halved and therefore didn’t look as precise as this, but it was fine, the batter made it into all the nooks and crannies and having a couple layers of the cherry halfs was fine. Oh and I also used convection bake, 25 degrees cooler, and baked it slightly less time (a full 6 min less on the final bake). It was fully browned and chewy.
I made this today and even cut the time down as written in the recipe, but they were still over cooked both crust and top. I will try it again as it smelt wonderful
And the interior pieces tasted good.
I’ve come here to eulogize my cherry pitter. Though it has been our trusty tool for over 18 years — it was a wedding gift — it broke this morning while I was 1/3 of the way through the work for this dessert. I wasn’t, however, going to change my plans so the bars are in the oven and I can’t wait for them tonight. But it totally took SO MUCH MORE TIME to handle the pits without my sweet, sweet pitter. Rest in peace (or, technically, in pieces).
My only problem with this recipe is that it doesn’t implore you to make two at a time; these were gone in a flash. I ended up using a mix of frozen cherries and blueberries which worked fine. I did have to put a piece of foil on during the last 10 minutes of cooking as the top was getting quite dark, but other than that, I’ll be making these ALL the time.
Can you substitute frozen cherries? And if so, is it the same ratio?
OMG……. I just made these with cherries from my CSA box and the intention of bringing it to work. However, I am having a hard time stopping my self from continually taking bites from it. The brown butter absolutely makes it, but the texture difference between the crust and the cake is divine. Thanks Deb for another winner!
I’ve been making these since you introduced them years ago, and I just made them again with the first local raspberries I could find. Have to say that after making the cherry version and raspberry version many times, the raspberry ones take the prize. (Though both are delicious because I share your affinity for brown butter!)
I’m a little bit disappointed because this came out burnt. I made this in a 9 inch tart pan and followed the same baking times, which shouldn’t have been an issue because the original Epicurious recipe was made in a tart pan with an 18 then 40 minute bake time. My recommendation – cut the blind bake in half and monitor the final bake closely around 30 minutes.
I also made a few substitutions that I think helped with the flavor. 1/4 tsp almond extract in the filling (plus the vanilla) with 2 tbsp of almond flour in addition to the AP.
Overall, I would make it again with the same substitutions (possibly increasing the almond extract and almond flour) and reduced baking time.
I made this several years ago and wowee wow wow. I’ve never made one of Deb’s recipes that wasn’t just the absolute best. The only reason that I’ve not made it since is that I can’t stop eating it. And I don’t want to buy new clothes.
I made this with 56 (7 across, 8 down) sweet cherries today. I used half vanilla and half almond extract in the filling. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly, and these are divine! They’ve only been out of the oven a few hours and they’re half gone!
Do you think these would freeze well? And if the answer is no, how long would you keep them in the fridge for and still feel alright bringing them to a party?
I do think they’d freeze well. In the fridge, I’d say 4 days. I think they’ll keep longer but for serving friends, we want them even better.
Can these be frozen?
glad you enjoyed my photo on Instagram (the photo at the top of this page). Feel free to use it, but please credit me, my handle is @hangry232
This was such a summertime hit!
I bake one of your cookie recipes almost every Monday! I make meals for 20 food challenged seniors who are home bound every Tuesday. This recipe sounds wonderful and like something they would love.
Here are my questions…can I triple this recipe and cook it in a half sheet pan? What would l need to change, if anything? Can I also use frozen or jarred sour cherries from Trader Joe’s?
Can I use frozen cherries or blueberries or raspberries? Can I??
Have you tested using frozen fruit? Picked a bunch of cherries and frozen them, but don’t want to cause too much liquid!
I used 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 regular sugar. I alternated cherries and nectarine slices. While the cherries are prettier, the nectarines are tastier. As others mentioned, it benefits from the contrast of a tart fruit. I will make it again with just nectarines. Yummy!
YUMMMMMM….made these today and they are delicious!!! I love a cherry clafoutis and these are even better. This is definitely going into my Summer dessert rotation. Only change I made was instead of 1 tsp of vanilla in the filling I did 1/4 tsp of almond extract and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Scrumptious! Thank you for this recipe
Gah! Distracted baking! I made this once; it was great. On second run (of course, for houseguests), I mistakenly put browned butter in the crust. A smart woman would begin again, but I, apparently, like to live dangerously. Will it, or will it not, burn on 2nd bake and be an irretrievable mess- OR possibly turn out to be an even more decadent treat? Stay tuned….