Get ready to swoon because these butter bars are sweet, salty, ooey-gooey, and impossible to resist!
Make them once, and you’ll fall in love at first bite.
Warning: if you’re trying to cut back on calories, look away now! Because these butter bars will completely ruin your diet.
When it comes to dessert bars, I think it’s safe to say that brownies are the most popular.
But to me, nothing will ever beat these scrumdiddlyumptious butter bars.
The name alone should tip you off to how insanely rich and buttery they are. And trust me, one won’t be enough.
If you’re able to limit yourself to just two, you deserve an award.
Intrigued? Then let’s get to it! Here’s my recipe for the best, most ooey, most gooey butter bars you’ll ever taste.
Gooey Butter Bars Recipe
I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculously delectable these butter bars are. But I’ll try.
They’re made of two distinct layers, both of which are divine.
The bottom is a thick shortbread crust that starts crisp, and then becomes crumbly and buttery.
Then, there’s the top layer.
A blend of cream cheese, sugar, and melted butter tied together with eggs, to say it’s heavenly is an understatement.
Rich, sweet, and salty like butterscotch with a subtle tang from the cream cheese, they’re totally addictive.
You’ll love how both layers complement each other too. From the contrast in textures to the flavors, these bars are melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
Butter – I mean, this is a recipe for butter bars, after all. Butter is the main flavor profile of this dessert – so it’s not just in the top layer but in the crust as well.
Be sure to use real butter, not margarine.
Apart from butter, you’ll also need the following to make the shortbread crust and top layer:
- All-Purpose Flour – Be sure this is measured properly! You’ll get the most accurate measurement if you use a kitchen scale. If you don’t have one, use the spoon-and-level method:
- Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it flat with the back of a knife.
- Don’t pack it in, or the bars will come out dry.
- Sugar – For sweetness.
- Baking Powder – The leavening agent responsible for making the dough rise during baking.
- Salt – To balance out the sweetness.
- Eggs – They enrich and bind the ingredients together.
- Cream Cheese – Its smooth and creamy nature helps create a thick mixture. So aside from its rich flavor, it also helps give the buttery layer some structure.
- Large Eggs – To bind the ingredients together.
- Vanilla Extract – It makes the flavors pop even more.
- Powdered Sugar – To sweeten the butter and cream cheese. You want powdered sugar, so there are no granules left over.
How to Make Butter Bars
Despite these bars having two layers made from scratch, the recipe is still pretty easy!
1. Preheat the oven and line the baking pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
Be sure to line not just the bottom but the sides as well. And leave some overhang on the sides so you can easily lift the bars out of the pan.
A little cooking spray helps too.
2. Make the shortbread dough.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a whisk to help distribute the baking powder and salt.
Then, make a well in the middle and add the eggs and melted butter. Use a paddle on low or a spatula to mix everything into a smooth dough.
Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan.
3. Make the top layer.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth, fluffy, and lump-free.
Then mix in the eggs, vanilla, and melted butter.
Beating continuously, gradually add the powdered sugar. Beat until the mixture is well combined.
(Top tip: add the powdered sugar 1/2 a cup at a time and mix first with a spatula to keep it from billowing out of the bowl.)
Pour the mixture over the dough.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crackly.
5. Cool until set.
Allow the butter bars to cool completely on the counter. Then, chill them in the fridge for 2 hours or in the freezer for 30 minutes.
6. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
I like a light dusting of powdered sugar over mine. But they’re perfect as is.
Tips and Tricks
- Allow the bars to rest before slicing. The top layer needs time to set; otherwise, it’ll just ooze out when you slice it.
- Once it’s completely cooled, you still have to chill it for 2 hours. If you can’t wait that long (the buttery aroma will drive you crazy), freeze it! This way, you’ll only need to wait for 30 minutes.
- If you want to make these bars even more decadent, serve them with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. The sweet and creamy ice cream will be incredible with the buttery goodness.
- Try a drizzle of caramel or a light coating of shaved chocolate for something extra special. Grate the chocolate over the top while it’s still warm, so it melts a little into the cream cheese mix.
How to Store Butter Bars
Cover the pan with plastic wrap or transfer the bars into an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 2 months.
Let the bars thaw on the counter, or warm them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften them.
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