“Er, what exactly is a butter bar?” I ask.
Admittedly, it’s a scary proposition ”“ a (cookie) bar made out of butter.Â (!)Â Though I have no problem ingesting loads of butter melted and mixed into cakes and cookies, to actually eat something so unabashed of its “provenance” is daunting.
Yes, even for dessert-obsessed me.
It arrives looking like cheesecake made in a 13×9-inch pan, complete with the sunken “custard” and crusty edges. For some reason, my previous conversation with Lovely Ann Palanca, the baker of these bars, echoes in my head: “Please don’t ask me how much butter I use to make one recipe, Lori, ”˜cause it might scare you away.” (Ha, not likely). On a more serious note, Lovely struggles to describe her creation. “… they’re like brownies without the chocolate. Some people say it’s like cheesecake too… [with] a crust and a moist filling. I used to call them death by butter.” Hmm, not a bad way to go. On another occasion, Lovely attempts more descriptions.
“A cross between a cheesecake and a blonde brownie crust?”
“Toasty butter cake crust and buttery topping?”
“Butter bars because it has loads of butter in it?”
We could go on all day.
A cross-section yields what appears to be cheesecake on a blondie (white brownie) crust. My front teeth glide into the cheesecake, its residual cool from the refrigerator initially numbing my tongue. Then the flavors open up: cream on vanilla softly bound by eggs and the slow heat of the oven.
And the crust. Ooh. Like the true blondie it is, butterscotch and vanilla pitter-pat and push-pull on my palate, frank flavors as exuberant as the name of the cookie bar they belong to. It’s also distinctively salty, a salty-sweet that makes my mouth water, makes me reach for another slice. How serendipitous that Lovely “… ended up with this [butter bars] when I was craving for the butter cake of Vargas Kitchen.”
I send a batch of butter bars off with my Bin when he goes to the office. He returns and reports, “They loved them but agreed that the name didn’t do it justice.” “Well, what would they call it then?” I ask. “Cheesecake blondies.”
When I talk to Lovely again, I ask her if the name “butter bars” insults present-day health sensibilities. “Not really, anything with butter is good.” (Hear, hear!) “Foodies know that butter makes the party complete. Filipinos love their sweets. As long as it’s “delish,” [it] doesn’t matter whether they gain or not. Eating in moderation is the key. A small piece will go a long way.”
Butter Bars by Lovely’s Kitchen
Savory items available: Chicken liver pate with brandy, Sardine Pate, Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Roast Beef, Tartufo Pasta with Prosciutto, Gorgonzola Rigatoni with Prawns, Seafood Supreme on Puff Pastry Shells
Baked goods: Butter Bars (P700), Deep dish cookies/chocolate chip lava cookies, Tres leches cupcakes.
0928.3244051 / (02) 8535752 for inquiries.