Home » Brown Butter, Pecan & Butterscotch Cookie Bars

Brown Butter, Pecan & Butterscotch Cookie Bars

|| byKat|7 Comments

These wonderful butterscotch cookie bars are packed with the most amazing flavours: from brown butter and chopped pecans to dark chocolate and butterscotch chips. They’re perfectly chewy-fudgy, incredibly easy to make, and you couldn’t possibly guess that they’re gluten free!

A hand holing a brown butter, pecan & butterscotch cookie bar.

When the nutty, caramelised scent of browned butter fills the kitchen… you just know that good things are about to happen. In this case, the most amazing gluten free cookie bars – in fact, the best cookie bars I’ve ever tasted.

These cookie bars are stuffed full of all sorts of goodness. Starting with the miracle that is brown butter, there’s also brown sugar for those lovely caramelised notes, chopped pecans that add the most wonderful crunch and flavour, dark chocolate (which is always a good idea) and butterscotch chips which bring the bars together and at the same time elevate them to whole new levels of awesomeness.

And while they are gluten-free, you couldn’t possibly guess it. They’re the perfect combination of crisp round the edges and chewy-fudgy in the middle, no dryness or unpleasant crumbliness in sight.

They will be equally loved by gluten-free and non-gluten-free people alike. In fact, people pretty much universally get rather territorial when it comes to these bars – so, if you plan on sharing, maybe make a double batch… just in case.

Brown butter, pecan & butterscotch cookie bars on a metal tray.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cookie bars – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

How do you make gluten free cookie bars?

Making these brown butter, pecan & butterscotch gluten free cookie bars truly couldn’t be easier:

  1. To a large bowl, add light brown soft sugar, caster/superfine sugar, browned butter,
  2. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract),
  3. and one room-temperature egg.
  4. Whisk them all together until you get a pale and fluffy mixture.
  5. Add the gluten free flour blend, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt,
  6. and mix it all together until you get a smooth, soft and slightly sticky dough.
  7. Add the chopped pecans, chopped dark chocolate and butterscotch chips,
  8. and mix well until all the add-ins are evenly distributed within the cookie dough.

The first 4 steps of the 8-step process of making brown butter, pecan & butterscotch cookie dough.

The second 4 steps of the 8-step process of making brown butter, pecan & butterscotch cookie dough.

Then, transfer the cookie dough into a lined 8 inch (20cm) square baking tin and smooth it out into an even layer. Chill it for about 20-30 minutes in the fridge, and then bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 16-18 minutes or until golden on top. And that’s it!

Spreading the cookie dough into an even layer in a lined square baking tin.

Overhead view of the cookie bars, cut into squares.

Can you scale up or double this recipe?

Yes!! You can definitely scale up the recipe – just increase all the ingredients by the same factor. Because the recipe requires eggs, it’s easiest to increase the recipe by whole numbers of eggs.

For example, to make these cookie bars in a 9×13 inch (23x33cm) baking tin, you’ll have to double the recipe – just multiply all the ingredient quantities by a factor of 2. Note that you’ll also need to increase the baking time slightly.

How do you know when the butterscotch cookie bars are perfectly baked?

When the butterscotch cookie bars are perfectly baked, they should be of a light golden colour on top and a slightly deeper golden brown colour around the edges. An inserted toothpick should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached.

The recipe as written (that is, where the cookie bars are baked in an 8 inch/20cm square baking tin) requires the cookie bars to bake only 16-18 minutes. This is a relatively short baking time, but it guarantees cookies that are perfectly fudgy-chewy in the middle and crisp around the edges.

A stack of three cookie bars next to a white cup.

How do you make the cookie bars even gooier?

If you want the cookie bars to be gooier, just shorten the baking time by a couple of minutes. Alternatively, you could decrease the size of the baking tin (or increase the recipe quantities) to make a thicker layer of cookie dough in the tin, keeping the baking time the same – this will give you gooier cookie bars.

There you have it, friends. A super easy recipe for THE BEST gluten free cookie bars you’ll ever try. There’s so much to love about them. Their fudgy-chewy texture, the multitude of delicious flavours that combine into something truly outstanding, how simple they are to prepare… and I could go on.

They’ve won me over with the very first bite – and I really hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

Happy baking,

Signature of the author, Kat.

Brown butter, pecan & butterscotch cookie bars on a metal tray, with white cups next to them.

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Brown Butter, Pecan & Butterscotch Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

These wonderful butterscotch cookie bars are packed with the most amazing flavours: from brown butter and chopped pecans to dark chocolate and butterscotch chips. They’re perfectly chewy-fudgy, incredibly easy to make, and you couldn’t possibly guess that they’re gluten free!
Print Rate
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook/Bake Time 16 mins
Chill Time 20 mins
Total Time 56 mins
Servings 9

Ingredients

  • 90 g (¾ stick + ½ tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 75 g ( ⅓ cup + ½ tbsp) light brown soft sugar
  • 35 g (3 tbsp) caster/superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 UK medium/US large egg, room temperature
  • 160 g (1 ⅓ cups) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour blend, which doesn't contain added xanthan gum. You can also mix your own blend with 50% finely ground white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight.)
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 60 g (½ cup) pecans, chopped
  • 45 g (~¼ cup) chopped dark chocolate, 60-70% cocoa solids
  • 45 g (¼ cup) butterscotch chips

Instructions

  • Line an 8 inch (20cm) square baking tin with baking/greaseproof paper.
  • To brown the butter:
    Add the butter to a saucepan (preferably one with a light-coloured interior that allows you to see the butter changing colour) and cook it over medium-high heat with frequent stirring for 6-8 minutes in total.
    The butter will first melt and then start bubbling and foaming. Finally, it will turn amber. You should see specks of a deep brown/amber colour on the bottom of the saucepan (those are the caramelised milk solids).
    Remove from heat, pour the browned butter into a small bowl, and allow to cool until warm.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the light brown soft sugar, caster/superfine sugar, browned butter, vanilla bean paste and egg, until pale and fluffy.
  • Sift in the gluten free flour blend, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt, and mix it all together until you get a smooth, soft and slightly sticky dough.
  • Add the chopped pecans, chopped dark chocolate and butterscotch chips (reserving some of each for sprinkling on top), and mix well until all the add-ins are evenly distributed within the cookie dough.
  • Transfer the cookie dough into the baking tin and smooth it out into an even layer, using a small offset spatula or your hands. Sprinkle the reserved chopped pecans, chopped chocolate and butterscotch chips on top, pressing them lightly into the cookie dough.
  • Chill in the fridge for it for about 20-30 minutes. At the same time, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
  • Once chilled, bake the cookie bars at 350ºF (180ºC) for 16-18 minutes or until light golden on top and a slightly deeper golden brown colour around the edges.
  • Allow to cool until warm in the baking tin, them remove from the baking tin and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely, before slicing into individual bars.
  • Storage: The cookie bars keep well in a closed container in a cool dry place for 3-4 days.
Tried this recipe?Mention @theloopywhisk or tag #theloopywhisk!

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7 thoughts on “Brown Butter, Pecan & Butterscotch Cookie Bars”

    • Hi Mandy, I recommend you have a look at my vegan chocolate chip cookies recipe – that might work well as cookie bars, though I haven’t tested it yet. Unfortunately you can’t brown dairy-free butter (as browning regular butter relies on caramelising milk solids, which are absent in dairy-free butter).

      Reply
  1. I had to cook this longer than it says. I also tried it with two different flour blends and one was very crumbly–the other not as bad. Could it be my altitude being at 4623′? If so, do you have any suggestions? Do you use Doves Farm Plain White Flour or Doves Farm Plain White Flour Blend?

    Reply
    • Hi Bonnie, the high altitude is almost certainly the culprit. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with high altitude baking, so I’m not sure how you’d need to adapt the recipe to account for it. I use the Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour.

      Reply
  2. This recipe looks delicious!!! Can’t wait to try it and I’m excited to have found your site!! I am recently GF and a baker so it’s been hard. I’m in the US and wondering if you have any experience or thought about a flour blend that we can find here that might work well? I don’t have the kitchen space for so many individual flours to make my own blend. There are so many all purpose blend but I know I’ve read for successful gf baking the blend matters and isn’t interchangeable! . I’m ordering a brand called Better Batter because it has high marks as a good all purpose blend. Thanks for any thoughts!!! Happy Holidays to you!!

    Reply
    • Hi Michelle! I don’t have much experience with GF flour blends available in the US, but I know that many people have successfully made my recipes with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 GF flour, Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose GF flour and Better Batter. Keep in mind that if your GF blend already contains xanthan gum, you don’t need to add it separately for things like cakes, cookies, brownies or cupcakes. You might need to add 50% of the amount lister for pastry, where more elasticity is required. Hope this helps and Happy Holidays!

      Reply