Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Bars

Friday, March 12

brown butter snickerdoodle bars with butterscotch sauce

Since I played around with the original recipe by adding various ingredients, including a sauce, I tried to come up with a compact, Mini Cooper name for these bars that was also inclusive of all the components.

I couldn't think of anything. Chewy brown butter, brown sugar, espresso, snickerdoodle, butterscotch sauce bars is too long winded. And it sounds like something out of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder style. (I was not a fan of the umpa lumpas.) So I went with the most random title I could think of.

brown butter snickerdoodle bars with butterscotch sauce

The title offers no clue as to what these bars are. If you decide to serve them at a party, instead of pouring more wine into barley-touched glasses or rambling on about how infuriating Lost is this season, or how you stepped barefoot into your cat's hairball when you got out of bed that morning and had to bunny hop on one leg to the bathroom, you can break awkward silences and tensions over a fresh break-up by explaining to people what the bars are made of and drenched with. Or, if you're feeling anti-social because you felt obligated to have a party and obligations automatically sap out any desire to do anything, write out the ingredients on a small note card and place it next to the bars. Be sure that the card is pretty and that the hand-writing is legible. Beautiful writing on an elegant card will keep your guests from realizing that you really want them to leave (especially the guy who looks like the lead singer from Flock of Seagulls) so you can just close the curtains, put your pajamas on, curl up on the sofa with the cat that used up the last of the paper towels, watch season 3 of Arrested Development on DVD, and finish off that nearly empty bottle of wine that no one seems to be enjoying.

brown butter snickerdoodle bars with butterscotch sauce

I think these are the best bars. Ever. And there isn't a zest of lemon, or square of dark chocolate involved. For as much as I love dark chocolate, sometimes it's nice to take a break from it. We appreciate each other more after a brief period of separation, otherwise we just look at each other and think "oh, it's you...again." These bars are the perfect rebound after a hiatus from the chocolate.

They have that sublime brown-sugar-textured-chewiness that almost makes them taste like half-baked cookie dough. The brown butter gives the bars a creamy, nut-flavoured back drop and since they're made with only brown sugar there is more than a hint of deep, almost molasses-like caramel notes. The cinnamon just takes these bars to the edge of becoming a snickerdoodle. I didn't use too much because I didn't want to spice out that amazing brown butter taste. The espresso powder is barely noticeable, I think I would add more of it the next time. That molten butterscotch sauce is completely unnecessary. I just wanted to make these bars a little bit dressier. However, Be warned that once you try the bars and sauce together, you may no longer like the naked bars. I like my caramel and butterscotch to be slightly salty so it's the perfect marriage of sweet and salt, along with a mild punch of spice. Honestly, these are now my favourite far.

brown butter snickerdoodle bars with butterscotch sauce

Jensen Ackles Bars
alias: Brown butter brown sugar espresso snickerdoodle butterscotch sauce bars
(bars adapted from not without salt)

bar ingredients
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter, cut into about 6 pieces for easier melting
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking Powder
2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of espresso powder (I should have used 1 1/2)
2 1/4 cups of firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract

butterscotch sauce (adapted from smitten kitchen)
1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt (use more or less to suit your taste)

Bars: Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter/spray a 9x13 inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter/flour the parchment. Or line the entire pan with tin foil (have the foil go over the edges for easy removal) grease and flour the foil.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt all the butter over low heat. Once the butter is melted, turn the heat up to medium and cook the butter until it turns golden brown and takes on a nutty fragrance. Depending on how high the heat is, this may take several minutes. Stir the butter occasionally and keep an eye on the colour. It will get a little bit 'foamy' but keep cooking until it starts to clarify and then change to a golden brown. Once it has browned, remove it from the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder. Set it aside.
In a separate, larger bowl mix the butter and sugar together with a large wooden spoon or spatula (the mixture will be grainy). Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond. Mix well. Be sure the eggs have been well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as you stir. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It might be thick so you may have to spread it out with the spatula.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out slightly moist but with no crumbs. If the edges start to brown too much, remove the pan and cover just the edges with some tin foil. Once they are done, place the pan on a cooling rack and let it come to room temperature. You can serve these alone or with the butterscotch sauce.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar, cream, and salt. Whisk until blended. Bring the mixture to a slow, easy boil. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. *It will eventually begin to thicken. Once it does, cook for about 2 more minutes.*
Remove from heat. As it cools, the butterscotch will thicken. You can pour it over the bars just before serving them or pour it on ahead of time (this will result in a thicker, almost frosting-like sauce.)



  1. I have a good friend who just loves butterscotch and I can't wait to make these for him. What a great post; I really enjoyed reading it.

  2. This is so so so sinful :))

    The photos are fantastic !!

    Great going.

  3. Wow, super yum. I had to check it out once you listed the ingredients on your fancy card;)...

  4. Holy crap. Those look completely devastating, I need to make them.

  5. These look beyond delicious and your photos are lovely!

  6. Honestly, it was the name of the recipe that first drew me in (I think he's so pretty). But after reading the description, I'm hooked.

    You had me at "brown butter, brown sugar".

  7. Hello. I love your recipient on jensen. I see that your father was french. You understand the french? im french.I will like lot to try to make this cake.

  8. Bienvenue Isabelle, Je parle un petit peu Français mais j'ai beaucoup oublie pendant les annees que j'habite aux États Unis. J'espère que vous allez cette recette très bon.

    It's much easier to remember how to speak than it is to write. I know there are more than a few mistakes. :)

  9. I have an addiction to brown butter, and this is not the day to go cold turkey.

    Thank you so much for this recipe!!

  10. Whatever you choose to call them, they look very tempting indeed! And all those lovely ingredients... I'm sure they're a winner!

  11. Hi Valerina! These bars look so good, and I'm not even really wanting food right now. And I agree about dark chocolate-it is wonderful, but I put it in everything almost and sometimes things need to stand on their own...

  12. These look heavenly. I am thinking Dulce de Leche topping. Is that bad ??

  13. Not at all Dulce, As it is, they're too healthy. :)

  14. Definitely drool worthy. Not chocolate? Count me in. These look dreamy!

  15. I think that no matter what name you'd give them, I'd call them "ooey-gooey GOOD!'' ;)

  16. I have to get out of here. I want to make everything I see.

  17. OMG, these bars sound SO amazing. I totally agree with taking a break from chocolate sometimes. I LOVE chocolate but every once in a while, I crave something different. Butterscotch sounds like a great replacement when you are needing a break from chocolate.

  18. I'm going to make a pile of these...and eat them while watching the newest episode of Supernatural. Which will be coming out of hellatus next week. This is BRILLIANT.

  19. Great new recipe for Easter! Thanks for the idea!

  20. sounds really delicious!but why did u call it jensen ackles? ( okay the man is delicious, too!)

  21. Hi Jules. If ever a dessert could be considered a Renaissance bar, it would be these. The name seemed perfectly appropriate.:)

    Thanks for visting!

  22. I am obsessed with Jensen Ackles, he is just too gorgeous! I can't wait to give these a try :)

  23. I cracked up when I saw the title of these bars. Supernatural fan?
    I had been considering making a caramel cupcake with some sort of filling a cinnamon cream cheese frosting and naming it after Jensen (or a making a cupcake that included whiskey and naming it after Dean).
    These bars are just perfect! :)

  24. Omg, my secret's out. Yes, yes I am a Supernatural fan. Unfortunately my cable provider is in league with Crowley and does not carry CW, so I've had to settle for TNT and an overworked DVR. :D

    A whiskey cupcake a la Dean is a brilliant idea!

  25. These look almost as good as Jensen lol
    Making some for Jared's birthday today, just because.
    Thanks for making me smile!

  26. I am forever thankful to you for coming up with this combination...I've decided that once you cover these beautiful bars in salty caramel sauce, the title doesn't matter so much ;)
    I posted about them here!

  27. Making these again tonight! I don't suppose you'd consider creating a Jared Padalecki something? Then my dessert list would be complete!

  28. I normally avoid these kind of blogs with the same vehemence I reserve for diets and the View, but...Lord, those look good!
    I'm gonna try these...if they are half as good as they look (and sound), I will be back to cast aspersions, start bad rumors and leave my week old socks hidden behind your sofa cushions--all out of jealousy toward this recipe.

  29. @Dixon :D
    Yes, these are diet-busters, but it's almost winter, and sweaters can cover up a lot.

  30. Jenni aka UrbncwgrlJune 10, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Not that you need any validation of your baking or writing, butI feel the need to flatter you...
    You're just delightful! Your witty writing coupled with your innate sense of comedic timing has me wanting to truly follow a blog for the first time! I'll admit that you had me at fried strawberry pies and your honest addiction to quality TV, but you sealed the deal with "Jensen Ackles bars".
    Clearly, you're established in the world of blogging and baking, but I thoroughly enjoyed discovering you. I hate reading mundane blogs just to get a decent I thank you. I don't know if I'll get email updates that I signed up please make sure I'm on the list.
    Back to scrounging through my cabinets for some ingredients and my own favorite shows.
    Happy Baking!

  31. @Jenni, Thanks for the flattery! I *loves* it. ;D As long as you signed up for email updates and hit the confirmation link, you should be good to go. (But feedburner can be feisty sometimes.)

    If you make the bars, I'd love to hear how they turned out! I really should revisit this recipe...

  32. Hi! I've made Jensen bars several times, and they are delicious. I have a friend with a strong gluten allergy, and these work great with gluten-free flour. As a bonus, I recently met Mark Shepard (Crowley from Supernatural) and learned he is also gluten-free. He LOVED the bars and ate a couple of them (he even came back for more to take with him at the end of the program lol). Thanks again for sharing this great recipe!

  33. That's awesome, kelios! I adore Mark Shephard, so happy to hear he enjoyed the bars. Thanks for letting me know. :)


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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