Brown Butter Strawberry Streusel Bars

April 25, 2013

brown butter strawberry streusel bars | une gamine dans la cuisine


Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude—
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life. 
                           ~ Mary Oliver, from Red Bird

Sending thoughts and brightly-coloured wishes of hope and healing to everyone touched by the events of last week. xo

brown butter strawberry streusel bars | une gamine dans la cuisine

I could easily, and happily, fill my blog with bars of fruit-filled streusel. But when you love something to the point of starry-eyed adoration, it's best savoured in tiny, seemingly-light-year apart, doses. Agreed?

Last year's brown butter cranberry shortbread was my recipe muse. The crust and topping are basically the same - I adjusted the filling to accommodate the genteel strawberries; adding a splash of red wine + a wisp of cornstarch. The result is a luxurious, buttery, sweet bar with a subtle crisp burst of lemon (of course).

Happy almost-weekend, everyone!

brown butter strawberry streusel bars | une gamine dans la cuisine

Brown Butter Strawberry Streusel Bars
makes about 25-30 bars

for the crust and crumb topping
1 cup (2 sticks) + 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup granulated sugar (divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups + 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

for the strawberry filling
3 heaping cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup granulated sugar (use more if needed)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons red wine (optional. Feel free to use water or juice instead)

Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil, leaving a slight overhang along the edges. Lightly butter the entire foil-lined pan.

Prepare the crust: Have a medium heat-proof bowl on hand for the brown butter.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Increase the heat to medium and, stirring occasionally, cook the butter until it turns golden brown and develops a nutty aroma. Depending on the stove's heat, it can take 5-8 minutes for the butter to brown properly. During this process the butter will first become foamy before changing color, making it difficult to see what's going on. Just be sure to give it a good stir now and then so that the butter doesn't burn. Once it's gorgeous and fragrant, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the butter to a heat-proof bowl. Cool to room temperature. {Note:You want to butter to be cool enough so that it won't scramble the eggs when they're added.}

In a large bowl, combine the cooled brown butter, 3/4 cup of sugar, and salt. Stir till well blended. Add the yolks and the almond extract, whisk until smooth. Using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour until you have a stiff dough.

Transfer about 2 cups of the dough to the foil-lined pan and press it evenly onto the bottom.{Note: It doesn't have to be exactly two cups, just keep in mind that whatever dough is left over will be used as the crumb topping.} Refrigerate the pan for about 40 minutes.

Topping: Add the 1/4 cup of sugar to the remaining dough, and using your fingertips, work the sugar into the dough until becomes crumbly and sandy. Cover and set aside.

Place one oven rack on the second slot from the bottom. Preheat to 325 F.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and prick the crust several times with a fork. {Note: Chilling and pricking the dough will keep it from puffing up too much in the oven.}

Place the pan on the lower oven rack and bake for about 15 minutes, just until the crust begins to set. Don't worry if the center still looks doughy, it's better to under-bake it at this stage.
Remove the partially-baked crust from the oven and place it onto a cooling rack. Turn off the oven.

Prepare the filling: In a large saucepan, combine the chunks of berries, sugar, lemon juice, corn starch, and wine (if using). Stir to combine. Bring to a boil gentle over med-high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid turns into a thick syrup (about 8-10 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. {Note: It will continue to thicken as it cools.} Mine took about 40 minutes to cool. If you're in a hurry, place the saucepan in the fridge. 

Preheat the  oven to 350F.

Spread the berry mixture over the partially-baked crust. Sprinkle the remaining dough mixture over the berries.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the crumb topping is light golden.

Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool for at least 3 hours before removing the bars from the pan (use the foil overhang to lift them out of the pan).

Cut into squares - any size you prefer. 


  1. Brown butter, with the berries, with this wonderful crust - and the big, chunky crumble pieces is so inviting! And the red berries and wine. Nice!

  2. Exquisite! Those bars would not last long at my place.



  3. These are the strawberry bars of my dreams! Love, love love!!!

  4. This looks seriously yummy! Gosh I can't wait for strawberries to be in season!

  5. These are beautiful bars, Val!!! So fresh, and so delicious looking! Your photos with the sun upon them are gorgeous!

  6. Valerie your photos look amazing! Your bars are making me drool. Love the poem you shared too.

  7. Now I'm dreaming of your strawberry crumble bars...the photos are so dramatic and fun to see!
    Beautiful post with such a lovely poem-happy Thursday to you;-)

  8. NEED these in my life soon! I love everything about them. I made strawberry streusel bars a couple years ago, but these look so much better!

  9. Yum, brown butter plus strawberries - great combo! I love baking with fresh strawberries but they can be challenging sometimes with all their water. Looks like you nailed it with these :)

  10. Bonsoir, je découvre ton blog ce soir et j'adore, je parle un peu Anglais mais j'ai vu que tu parlais Français, donc je pense que je serais plus compréhensible en Français ;))) Tes photos sont magnifiques et les recettes ont l'air délicieuses ! Au plaisir ! Delphine

  11. LOVE these! I can never get enough streusel bars!

  12. I've been waiting for this post since you showed the photo on twitter. Well worth the wait! And the poem was beautiful too.

  13. Are these the images you weren't sure about? They're beautiful! You had me at strawberry...then at streusel. Brown butter doesn't hurt either. :)

  14. With all the delicious recipes posted by food bloggers, I'm having a hard time picking which one I should make for the weekend!!! Ahhh...I thought Laura's "Best Lemon Cupcake" was it, but bow you just had to bring out the crumb bars, do you? I'm torn!!!

    Wish life was just as simple as choosing what to bake...but it gets super complicated. Here's wishing for the Boston community's speedy recovery and healing.

  15. Your photos are simply stunning. You captured everything perfectly. I love a great bar cookie. I can hardly wait to make your recipe. Looks divine!!

  16. Valerie, I just HAD to stop by before shuffling off to bed to let you know how stunningly beautiful your strawberry bars are. Read your Meet the Baker page and cannot get over the fact that you use a point and shoot camera! What you have been able to accomplish with one is quite impressive. (So, there’s hope for me?) I share similar loves as you…chocolate, peanut butter, lemon and lime combo and…a deep love of cats. (Adore my fur baby Bombays.) LOVE that you added wine to your strawberries. I add a special red wine to my cherry cobbler and pie recipes, too. Makes the flavor of the berries burst forth even more after baking, IMHO. Again, your photographs rock! Drew me right in. I must make your strawberry bars…soon! :) xo

  17. These look amazing!!

  18. These look so fabulous! I love bars like this and strawberries look so pretty and lend a great deal of flavor.

  19. Oh, I'm trying to lose weight and unfortunately keep coming back here. Oh my.

  20. Loving these strawberry bars! The brown butter crust and topping - swoon!!!

  21. thank you for the thoughts of boston.

  22. I think your photos always come out great. I love how you cooked the strawberries, it keeps the filling from being too runny I"m thinking. I can't get enough fruit recipes myself. Will trade some banana macarons for some of these. Hope you have a great weekend.

  23. Your blog is one of my most favorite places to visit ever. It takes me to a peaceful place. These bars are scrumptious, Val. xx

  24. Valerie this looks awesome!!!! so beautiful!!!

  25. your strawberry bars are amazing, I can munch this all day/ all year long!

  26. These look incredible! I've tried making strawberry bars a few times this year and they've been a huge failure each time. I should have just tried this recipe! And browned butter. Yummy. :D

  27. oh my gosh these look fabulous!! i'm in love :)

  28. Two of my favorite things in one bar; strawberries and brown butter, how fabulous! The photos are stunning!

  29. You had me sold at the streusel topping! These look fantastic!

  30. I could eat this streusel and fruit combo until I explode! Imma need a couple dozen of those...

  31. I am so behind but I seriously need these!

  32. Made them, loved them. Hope to post them soon, too!

  33. I'm not quite sure how I missed these babies back in April, but I did, and I'm SAD that strawberry season has passed!!! But... I am thinking of using a good homemade strawberry jam in place of the fresh strawberry concoction? At least till next April when the local strawberries come back? Any thoughts?

  34. @The Food Hound: Strawberry jam is an excellent idea! If possible, try and find one that's on the chunkier side - that will give the filling a close-to-the-real-thing, texture. :)

  35. I made these and they were amazing!!

    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed the bars, Ruth! 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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