March 12, 2009

butterscotch bars

It's best described as a chewy brownie version minus the chocolate. I made this batch of butterscotch bars when we had some visitors last week. There were a few past Christmas holidays when I was still in Manila that our family got invited to my cousins' place for dinner. They used to serve and give away these buttery and chewy butterscotch squares, a specialty of Bacolod City. They were individually wrapped in colorful cellophane and they were so good. For many years, I hunted for the recipe, until I found this one from Heny Sison. She's one the leading pastry and cake experts in Manila and has made cakes for some elite Manila weddings. These butterscotch bars were not identical to the famous Bacolod specialty but they were very close in taste and texture. The extra chewy texture was the result of adding glucose, a thick syrup commonly used in baked goods. Honey or corn syrup may be substituted but the result may be slightly different. I may not have added enough glucose for this batch though. I noticed the bars were crumbly when I sliced them. Next time I will try to make a trial batch using less flour. Hopefully the next batch will turn out moist and buttery. I was also thinking of melting butterscotch morsels with the butter but I have to make sure I lessen the amount of the sugar. Those butterscotch chips can be very sweet. I guess I have more experimenting to do in the kitchen. In the meantime, this recipe wasn't bad at all.

Recipe adapted from Heny Sison

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup liquid glucose* (corn syrup or honey)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp vanilla ( I used vanilla & rum )
2 eggs
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9"x13" rectangular cake pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Grease the paper and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Remove from heat and add brown sugar, glucose and vanilla. Mix well using wire whisk or electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until blended. Fold in chopped nuts. Pour mixture into the lined pan. Bake 30-45 minutes until done. Cool and cut into bars.

*available in baking supply stores.

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