How to make an impression on new neighbors: bring a pan of Maple Bourbon Bars loaded with booze, browned butter, brown sugar, walnuts, and pure maple syrup.
As much as I love to cook and bake (especially One Bowl Brownies), bringing food to parties—particularly parties where I’m meeting people for the first time—completely stresses me.
When people hear that I’m a food blogger, I assume their expectation is that a beam of heavenly light will shine from above upon their first bite.
It’s the sort of pressure that causes me to speak unnaturally loud when introducing myself, forget the name of my own blog, or even overbake my most perfect and foolproof batch of Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies.
5 Star Review
“These bars are fantastic! Super easy to make and super yummy! I will definitely make these over and over again.”— A.J. —
Fortunately, these maple bourbon bars are a tried-and-true recipe that has always placed me in good standing with new neighbors.
- Maple bourbon bars have the soft and chewy texture of a blondie (like these Cinnamon Blondies).
- The distinctly fall flavors of maple and brown sugar.
- The rich, toffee flavor of browned butter (Brown Butter Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies are also another surefire hit with new neighbors).
- Walnuts that add subtle warmth and crunch.
- AND oh yes—the bourbon (the piece de resistance)!
PLUS, with strong notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel, the flavor of bourbon pairs splendidly with the maple syrup, so I took the liberty of spiking the bars and drizzling a maple bourbon glaze over the top.
(Bourbon fans will also enjoy these delicious Bourbon Balls.)
How to Make Maple Bourbon Bars
With a heavenly combination of maple, walnuts, brown sugar, bourbon, and browned butter, maple bourbon bars will quickly have your neighbors calling you the “bourbon bar” girl/dude. (There are worse nicknames, I suppose.)
- Butter. The smell alone of the browned butter bubbling in your kitchen may have you second-guessing sharing these maple bourbon bars.
- Brown Sugar. For extra depth, I recommend using robustly flavored dark brown sugar for maple bourbon bars.
- Flour. A 50/50 blend of white whole wheat flour and all purpose flour gives these bars body while still keeping them light. (It’s a blend I’ve used in countless Well Plated baking recipes).
- Maple Syrup. Offers some natural sweetness and intense maple flavor that pairs beautifully with the bourbon.
- Bourbon. The smooth vanilla and caramel flavor of the oaky bourbon enhance EVERYTHING about these boozy bars (as well as this Gingerbread Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce).
- Vanilla. Balances and mellows out the sweetness of the bars.
- Eggs. Add moisture and provide tenderness.
- Walnuts. For just the right amount of crunch.
- Combine the dry ingredients.
- Brown the butter. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn!
- Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon to the browned butter.
- Let cool, then add the eggs and vanilla.
- Combine with the dry ingredients, then fold in the walnuts.
- Pour batter into a square baking pan and bake until golden. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.
- Once the bars have cooled, drizzle with glaze, then slice and serve. ENJOY!
- To Store. Keep leftover bars well-wrapped in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to three days.
- To Freeze. Maple bourbon bars may also be wrapped individually in plastic and kept in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Light is definitely shining from above now…or, given the bourbon, would the light more appropriately shine from below?
Frequently Asked Questions
From a technical standpoint, no. Preparing the browned butter is not necessary. Melted butter could also be used. However, from a flavor perspective. Yes, the browned butter is 100% necessary. It really takes these bars to a whole other level of bourbon, maple, brown sugar dessert nirvana. So I highly recommend that you don’t skip this step.
Yes. You could absolutely omit the bourbon from these bars and they would still be delicious!
I have never tried making these bars with anything other than bourbon so it would be an experiment if you tried swapping for a different liquor. If you want to give it a whirl, I suggest swapping for scotch, whiskey, brandy, cognac, or possibly even a spice rum. Let me know your results if you try one of these swaps.
Maple Bourbon Bars
For the Bars:
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup bourbon (if you prefer to omit, decrease white whole wheat flour by 1 tablespoon)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
For the Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon or milk or cream
- Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs on the sides, grease once more, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Place the butter in a large saucepan and over medium-low heat. Once the butter melts, it will foam, turn clear golden, then begin to turn brown and smell nutty. Whisk often, scraping up any bits from the bottom. Watch the pan very carefully, as the butter will brown very soon after it begins to color and can burn quickly. Once the butter is deep golden and very fragrant, remove it from heat.
- Whisk the brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon into the saucepan with the browned butter until smooth. Let cool to lukewarm, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
- Pour the maple butter mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk by hand until combined. Fold in the chopped toasted walnuts.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the bars pull away from the sides of the pan slightly. For clean cutting, let cool completely. Use the parchment paper overhang as “handles” to transfer to a cutting board.
- To prepare the glaze, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over bars, then slice bars into desired sizes and serve.
- TO STORE: Keep leftover bars well-wrapped in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to three days.
- TO FREEZE: Maple bourbon bars may also be wrapped individually in plastic and kept in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
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