Thursday, January 27, 2011

Macadamia Butterscotch Bars

More days this winter have kept us locked up in the house than I can remember.   This week there was a day that was so cold, you had to go back 10 in years in New York to find a matching temperature.  Being stuck in the house isn’t necessarily the worst thing that can happen.  Especially if you take upon yourself to lift everyone’s spirits with a rich, gooey treat.  These Macadamia Butterscotch Bars fit the bill perfectly. 
John Barricelli
The recipe comes to us by way of John Barricelli.  A regular on Martha Stewart’s television show in the past and the host of “Everyday Baking from Everyday Food, another Martha Stewart Omnimedia production, I’m sure he’ll show up on her new half hour “Martha Bakes” series starting January 31st on the Hallmark Channel. (Martha wrote the foreword to the SoNo book.)

About five years ago, John, a graduate of the Culinary 

Institute of America and a third generation baker, opened the 

SoNo Baking Company and Café in South Norwalk CT…hence 

the "So No".  Andrew loves his recipes because Barricelli is a 

born teacher and that comes across in every recipe in his 

SoNo Baking Company Cookbook (Clarkson Potter 2009).  

There are any number of recipes worth cooking for both savory 

and sweet treats.   Near the top of the list is his recipe for Macadamia 

Butterscotch Bars;   Rich and chewy and sweet, these bars owe something to 

the Blondie.  But they are loaded, not just with chocolate chunks but with 

dried cherries and nuts. And they’re big.  If you cut the pan contents into 15 

bars, they'll measure about 2 1/2 by 3 inches. If you insist on the calorie 

count, it's 290 calories. And that's not bad if you can control yourself and just 

eat one. If you put them into an  airtight container, you’ll be able to enjoy 

them for a week.  I apologize for not having a photo of the finished bar itself. 

My new camera was not at work when we shot this story.  Nevertheless, it's a 

keeper. Here’s the recipe: 

Recipe for Macadamia Butterscotch Bars by John Barricelli

2 cups water

1 cup dried cherries

2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (not chips)   

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking oil spray.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Place the cherries in a small bowl, then pour the water over them; let stand while you assemble the dough.

Whisk together the flour and baking soda in a small bowl.

Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium heatproof bowl; place over a medium saucepan containing a few inches of water. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts, whisking to dissolve the brown sugar. Remove from the heat and cool.

Add the eggs, vanilla extract, corn syrup and salt to the butter-sugar mixture, whisking until blended. Fold in the flour mixture to form a smooth batter, then fold in the nuts and chocolate chunks. Drain the cherries and fold them into the batter; discard their soaking liquid.

Scrape the batter into the baking dish, smoothing it evenly. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean except for a few crumbs adhering.

Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into bars before serving or storing.


  1. This sounds like a delicious combination. Those bars must have been gone in a flash. I have a linky party every week on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link this up.

  2. Hello Lisa! I'd love to link up. Just let me know how to proceed. Thanks! Monte