Thursday, April 1, 2010

Brown Butter Hazelnut Bars: Potluck Gold

Here is the quandry. I love fancy desserts: precious little french mousse cakes and tartlettes. But when it comes to the good old American BBQ these just don't fly. You need something people can pick up and eat, something rich and homey, comfortable. In the sea of brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and those supermarket cookies with sprinkles (you know what I am talking about and you know you secretly like them), diversity is key. Well, look no more - these bars are perfect for the potluck.

 These bars work for any season and can be embellished as you desire. You can change up the nuts, add dried fruit (cherries or mango would be wonderful), change the topping (toasted coconut anyone?). This time I added bananas, which tasted good but were unnecessary. Regardless, these are close your eyes and bite very slowly good.


Brown-butter hazelnut bars

Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 1/4 cups (13 1/2 oz.) gluten free flour (see blend notes below)
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t hazelnut extract (or increase vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate (you will have extra)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray with oil a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Place butter in saucepan over medium heat and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally, until it is a chestnut color. You can see how deep I take mine. It will foam first, then subside before it browns - watch so it doesn't burn! Cool.
  3. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt
  4. Place brown sugar and sugar in bowl of stand mixer with browned butter. Cream together. 
  5. Add vanilla and hazelnut extract, followed by eggs one at a time, mixing and scraping the bowl between each addition. 
  6. On low, add in flour blend and mix until blended. Add hazelnuts and mix until blended.
  7. Spread into 9x13 pan (the batter is fairly thick) and bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out with just a few crumbs on it. If you overbake they will be dry. 
  8. Cool completely.
  9. Melt chocolate in microwave - try to keep in temper, by melting in 30 second increments and stirring in between. Stop when there is still a chunk of chocolate unmelted. 
  10. Drizzle chocolate on top and cut into squares. Allow chocolate to set up before stacking.

* I used a blend that is 1 part brown rice flour, 1 1/4 gf oat flour, 1/4 potato starch, 2/3 tapioca starch, 3/4 sweet rice flour, 1/3 cornstarch. If you don't want to make it GF, I encourage you to use 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup oat flour (just whirl your oats in the blender).


  1. This looks awesome and yes I do secretly love the grocery store cookies with sprinkles -- but let's face it, I'm not that discriminating.