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:
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.
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.