Get ready to swoon because these gooey butter bars are sweet, salty, and impossible to resist!
Make them once, and you’ll fall in love at first bite.
Warning: if you’re cutting calories, look away now! Because these butter bars will completely ruin your diet.
Gooey Butter Bars Recipe
When it comes to dessert bars, it’s safe to say brownies are the most popular. But to me, nothing will ever beat these ooey gooey 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.
Made of two distinct layers, these bars are downright addictive. You may not even be able to stop at two!
The bottom is a thick shortbread crust that starts crisp, then becomes crumbly and buttery. Then, there’s the top layer.
A blend of cream cheese, sugar, and melted butter tied together with eggs. Heavenly is an understatement.
Let’s break down the ingredients for each layer.
For the crust, you’ll need:
- Flour. Use all-purpose flour, appropriately measured. Use a kitchen scale if you have one. If not, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it with the back of a knife. Don’t pack it in!
- Sugar. For sweetness. Plain granulated sugar is fine.
- Baking powder. The leavening agent that’ll make the crust rise.
- Salt. To balance out the sweetness and enhance the other flavors.
- Eggs. They bind everything together and enrich the flavor.
- Butter. Butter is the key ingredient in this recipe. You’ll need it for the crust AND the topping. Be sure to use real butter, not margarine.
Here’s what goes in the top layer:
- Butter. Again, use real butter, not margarine. Trust me; it makes a difference.
- 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! Here’s an overview of the steps:
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.
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. 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
Here are some final tips and tricks to ensure your bars are perfect:
- Let the bars rest before slicing. The top layer needs time to set. Otherwise, it’ll just ooze out when you slice it.
- Chill for 2 hours. Chill the bars for 2 hours AFTER they’ve cooled. If you can’t wait that long, freeze it! This way, you’ll only need to wait for 30 minutes.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream. The sweet and creamy ice cream will be incredible with the buttery goodness.
- Add toppings. Try a drizzle of caramel or a light coating of shaved chocolate. Grate the chocolate over the top while it’s still warm, so it melts a little.
How to Store Butter Bars
Have leftover butter bars? Don’t trash them!
- To store. Leave the bars in their container and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. (Or transfer them to an airtight container.) Place them in the fridge for up to a week.
- To freeze. Use an airtight, freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.
- To thaw. Thaw the bars in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a couple of hours before you want to serve them. Alternatively, you can microwave them for a few seconds to soften and warm them.
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