If you're lucky, you have in your possession a few crinkly, brown, and splattered scraps of paper detailing tried-and-true recipes passed down from your grandma and your grandma's grandma. This is one such recipe, albeit with an enhancement or two.
The first time I made these bars, I was convinced until the second a bite entered my mouth that the praise bestowed upon this recipe was undeserved. Things were fine and dandy as I mixed up the batter--it came together very easily and quickly and--bonus--in one bowl. However, when I opened the oven to check on the doneness of the bars, my heart sank--I saw what appeared to be rock-hard edges and goopy, raw innards, as jiggly as jello. However, the toothpick test revealed only a few moist crumbs, so I forged onward and pulled the pan out. As the bars cooled, the middle sank completely, leaving towering walls...and me near tears.
It's a hard life, ya know?
Hold the phone! My spirits began to lift as I first sliced into the pan--the sides weren't as hard as cement after all and in fact, they cut up quite nicely. Further, the innards weren't a sloppy mess--they were dense and even a teensy bit elastic, reminiscent of baked caramel. And oh, that first bite--so rich and buttery, so melt-in-your-mouth magnificent. This recipe has rightfully earned every kind word it has ever received.
Throwback Butterscotch Bars
(adapted from this recipe)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup vanilla chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9-inch pan.
In a large microwaveable bowl, melt butter and whisk in brown sugar until well combined. Set bowl aside and let cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Whisk the eggs into the butter and sugar. Mix in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Dump batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle vanilla chips over the top.
Bake until the top is shiny and the edges just begin to pull away from the side of the pan, about 18 to 24 minutes. Do not overbake - a toothpick placed in the center should come out with moist crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars.