The Sassy Pair

The nice thing about living in San Francisco is that the summers aren’t that hot, meaning you can turn on your oven. That doesn’t mean I blast the oven all summer long. It means I can enjoy things like these cherry bars while the fruit is in season. I picked these cherries up while I was at Whole Foods and couldn’t have been happier when I saw this recipe right after! I’ve never made anything blondie-esque before and I am now a convert.

I always forget the transformative magic that happens when you brown butter. It’s really simple to do, too. It’s also really simple to mess up. But fear not I’m here to help. The whole process takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on how hot your pan is. You place the butter into a small saucepan, let it melt, and then it will begin to brown. This is when it starts to smell like caramel and you just want to drink it. Don’t take the butter too far or it’ll start to smoke and taste bitter.

Britta just posted a delicious cherry recipe – sweet cherry slab pie. I haven’t cooked with cherries until this recipe. I wish I had started sooner. The only thing that was a pain was pitting the cherries because I don’t own a cherry pitter. If you don’t have one either, I would recommend a bent paperclip. I ended up using a chopstick to push the pits out, and by the end it looked like I had murdered someone, but hey it worked.


  • Crust
  • 7 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

  • Filling
  • 1 stick butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pound sweet cherries (yields about 12oz pitted cherries)


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line an 8" square pan with parchment, such that there is overhang on the sides to allow you to lift out the finished bars.
  • Using a fork, mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix until the flour is fully incorporated. Dump mixture into prepared pan and pat into an even layer. Bake until golden brown, about 18 minutes. Remove crust from oven and cool in pan. Keep the oven on.
  • Place the butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow the butter to first melt, and then begin to turn brown and smell nutty. Once it is a deep nutty brown – about six minutes – remove from heat and place into a glass measuring cup to cool.
  • Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl. Add flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.
  • Arrange – or dump and then fix as I did – the pitted cherries on the cooled crust. Poor the browned butter mixture carefully over the cherries in an even layer. Bake the bars until the batter is puffed and golden brown, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the bars in the pan on a rack.
  • Carefully remove the bars from the pan using the parchment overhangs. To cleanly slice the bars, use a very sharp knife and a sawing motion to get through the cherries.


Yields 16 bars. Keep in an airtight container, one day at room temperature or 2-3 days in the fridge.

Recipe from smitten kitchen.

View more articles written by Vasili.

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