Brown Butter-Brown Sugar Bars

Brown Butter - Brown Sugar Bars

Adapted from Cookies and Cups
Makes 16 -(2” bars)
Author Wendy Sondov


  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups brown sugar light or dark, packed
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2-3 cups confectioners sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9”x 9” baking pan with 2 criss-crossed strips of parchment paper with ends overhanging the pan. Spray parchment lightly with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, gently whisk continually to keep butter from burning. Butter will bubble and foam. As soon as brown bits begin to form( after 2-3 minutes) at bottom of the saucepan, remove from heat but continue to whisk ( about 30 seconds) until the butter turns a caramel brown color. Pour the butter (but not the brown-black bits) into a bowl to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the brown butter and the brown sugar until smooth.
  5. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  6. Slowly add the flour mixture just until combined.
  7. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  8. If using a sugar topping (recommended method for mailing), combine the brown and white sugar then sprinkle over the batter. (If using frosting, skip this step. The frosting will not spread smoothly over the sugar topping.)
  9. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the bars are golden and the edges begin to brown. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. If the toothpick comes out clean or with dry crumbs, the bars are ready. Try not to over-bake.
  10. Cool completely in the pan then, using the overhanging parchment, lift out the entire square. If using sugar topping, bars can be cut now.
  11. Frosting directions (optional):In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, mix together brown sugar and butter until melted.
  12. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for 1 minute, stirring continually.
  13. Remove from heat and cool for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
  14. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter-sugar mixture and milk until smooth.
  15. Slowly add confectioners sugar until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. (I used 2 ½ cups.)
  16. Spread the frosting over the cooled un-cut bars. Allow to set at least one hour before cutting the bars. The frosting will continue to firm up over time. The top of the frosting will form a crust that allows the bars to be wrapped or piled without ruining the frosting.
  17. Bars will remain fresh at least 1 week when stored at room temperature in an airtight container or ziplock bag. For mailings that travel more than 1 week, I recommend not cutting into individual bars, but wrapping the entire square.

Packing Tips

Double wrap bars individually or in pairs in plastic wrap before placing in airtight containers or ziplock bags. Wrapping the entire pan of Brown Butter-Brown Sugar Bars, without cutting, will preserve moisture and keep the bars chewy for longer.