Post #14: Brown Butter Jam Bars (aka Failblog)

So, as I'm trolling around other food blogs, I keep seeing brown butter everywhere!  Brown butter cookies, brown butter cupcakes, etc..., and all of the comments are rave reviews - how you've truly never tasted anything in your life until it's made with brown butter.

So here I am, hopping on the bandwagon.  To tell you the truth, I have never really put a lot of thought into the butter I use.  So much so, that when a recipe calls for unsalted, I still use the salted butter that I always buy.  I like salted, what can I say!?  I also always forget to let my butter get to room temp before I start a project, so you will most definitely see me in a mad rush, throwing it in the microwave for 30sec. before I can do anything.  Sometimes I don't get all of my mices en place.  Haha.

Well, my verdict in the battle of brown vs. regular butter is that I honestly didn't notice much of a difference aside from the extra work (which probably stems from never thinking about the butter I use...).

Some tips that probably would have prevented this culinary flop:

Make sure you put the crust in an even layer.  I thought it was, but parts of it baked perfectly, while others turned into this unappetizing brown/crumbly stuff.  I also think I left the butter in the freezer for too long.  In the future, I'd take it out when it was on the softer side of semi-frozen.  My "dough" was hardly a dough.  I wasn't going to let this little bungle stop me, (though I almost did).  I just decided I would move on, finish the project, an trim away the bad parts later. 

Even though I seemed to screw this up a little, I will definitely try it again.  I will buy regular, unsalted butter.  I will follow all directions to the letter (which I sometimes get scatterbrained and forget to do), and I will resist all urges to cut into them before they are cold.  I promise!

Yeah, and out of about 50 pictures, this was the best one.  Fail.

Brown Butter Jam Bars
from One for the Oven, which they got from Crepes of Wrath

The Crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For The Filling:
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup jam or jelly

(yes, I used salted butter both times - I am a culinary rebel like that.  Also, I used light butter, it makes me feel better about stuffing my face later.)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. To make the crust, melt 1 cup of butter in a pan at medium-high heat till the butter starts to brown. When the butter is amber in color and smells slightly nutty, strain through a sieve into a heat-proof container, such as a small glass mixing bowl. Place in the freezer for 30-40 minutes until thickened and semi-frozen. Combine the powdered sugar and flour in a large bowl, then use a pastry cutter or your hands and add in the butter until a dough is formed. Press into a lined and/or greased 9×13-inch pan and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly golden and set, then remove from the oven and set aside.

2. To make the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Brown the remaining butter, then pour the butter into the egg mixture very slowly, whisking as you do it so the eggs don’t scramble. Whisk in the vanilla.

3. Pour half of the filling over the baked crust, then spoon large dollops of the jam over the filling, reserving about quarter to top the bars with. Pour the rest of the filling over the jam, then spoon small dollop over the top with the remaining jam (you can add a bit extra jam if you feel like it needs it). Don’t worry if it looks a little messy or weird, it’ll look pretty when it’s baked! Bake until the filling is golden brown in color, about 25 to 30 minutes, also at 375 degrees.

Allow to cool completely, or you'll be in a jam! (I'm so funny!)  No really, the jam will scald you!  Also, I cut mine when it was cooled, but not completely cold.  It fell apart.  I salvaged what I could for photos...and pretty much ate the rest like an animal.  Liz Lemon style.