I came across this bar cookie in a book titled, Home Baked Comfort, but it actually comes from Deb Perelman (Smitten Kitchen). It’s rich and delicious, and I love baking fruit into desserts, so this recipe is one more great way to bake peaches. These bars keep really well in the fridge for a couple days (they are a little too rich to splurge on in one day) and are the perfect afternoon snack or grown-up treat. Mmm. Can’t wait for the peaches to finish ripening on our tree.
Browned Butter Peach Bars
1 c. (7 ounces or 200 grams) white sugar
1 t. baking powder
2 3/4 c. plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
1 c. cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)
Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).
[So, I actually did this step, although you don’t need to if you don’t have time, and I’m usually not up to the fussiness, but this day I was, and it did make a difference! I would recommend it.]
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.