Food & Drink

These Butterscotch Bars Deliver Rich, Gooey Goodness

The one-bowl wonders are a family tradition for chef Ann Kim of the Garden & Gun Club

Photo: courtesy of the G&G club

“Growing up, my grandma would make these ‘dream bars.’” says Ann Kim, the executive chef at the Garden & Gun Club in Atlanta. “I always thought it was something she made up, but I looked it up later in life, and turns out it was a super retro recipe that lots of people were making.” Armed with nostalgia, Kim set out to create her own perfect version of the gooey bars, and the addition of nuts, butterscotch, and a dash of salt made the treats an instant crowd pleaser. “I’ve been making these for friends and family for years, and they’re always so impressed that I’m reluctant to admit how easy they are.”

The recipe requires just one bowl and one pan. “It’s the easiest process with the least amount of clean up,” Kim says. First, bake the buttery crust to a light golden brown. “Make sure it’s baked all the way before you add the filling,” notes Kim, as the crust will stop baking once the butterscotch mixture goes in. On the second bake, Kim advises home cooks stay close to the oven and pay special attention. “It sounds silly, but I listen to them—because of the eggs, the filling will make a slight foaming noise as it cooks, and when that stops, you know they’re done.” 

Adjust the bake time by a few minutes to achieve your desired consistency—about eighteen minutes for gooey bars and twenty for a bit more firmness. After dusting with powdered sugar, let the bars cool before cutting into bite-size squares. “They may seem small,” Kim says, “But they’re so rich.”  


  • Yield: About 20 bars

  • For the crust:

    • 1¼ cup flour

    • 1 stick butter, softened

    • ½ cup light brown sugar

    • ½ tsp. salt

  • For the filling:

    • 1 cup light brown sugar

    • 2 tbsp. flour

    • ½ tsp. baking powder

    • ½ tsp. salt

    • 2 eggs

    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

    • 1 cup shredded coconut

    • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

    • 1 cup butterscotch chips

    • Powdered sugar


  1. Make the crust:

    Preheat the oven to 350ºF. 

  2. While the oven is heating, mix flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in softened butter until fully incorporated. 

  3. Line a 9×13” pan with aluminum foil and grease with baking spray. Crumble the dough into the lined pan and use your hands to flatten the crust and spread it evenly. Use a fork to poke holes throughout the dough (this will prevent bubbles from forming as it bakes). 

  4. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 15 minutes. 

  5. Make the filling: 

    Using the same bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Whip in the eggs and vanilla and mix until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.

  6. Using a fork, stir in coconut, nuts, and butterscotch chips. 

  7. Add the filling to the baked crust and place back in the oven for 18–20 minutes, depending on your desired gooeyness. Allow to cool completely.  

  8. Cut the bars into 2×2” squares and dust with powdered sugar.