The Happy Home Cook: Mango Bars

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For my last birthday, my dear friend sent me some Red Ribbon Mango Bars. These rich, buttery and chewy bars with bits of sweet Philippine mango quickly became my newest craving. Since there are no Red Ribbon Bakeshops within less than a 20-hour drive from where I live, I decided to experiment with the recipe. Now I can satisfy my craving and have these delicious desert bars anytime.

Note: I do not think the original Red Ribbon Mango Bars had walnuts in them. They can be eliminated for those who are allergic to nuts.

Yields 16


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt (or 1/8 teaspoon)

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder 

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large or extra large egg, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 c chopped dried or cubed fresh mangoes.  I prefer to use firm fresh ripe mangoes. The mango pieces should be about  1/4”. 

3/4 c chopped pecans


1.     Make the brown butter: Place butter in a lightly colored skillet or saucepan and set the stove to low to medium heat. The melted butter will start crackling as the milk solids (white foam ) separate from the melted butter and start browning. Swirl the pan or stir with a wired whisk or silicone spatula to prevent the butter from browning too quickly. Once the milk solids turn golden brown, immediately transfer the browned butter to a heat-proof bowl as the heat from the pan will continue to cook the milk solids. Cool the brown butter a bit and stir in the brown sugar using a spatula. Mix until it looks like a paste. Fold in egg and vanilla.

2.     Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 8x8" pan with foil  or parchment paper leaving an overhang on the sides for easy lift.

3.     Stir flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.  Toss pecans and mangoes into flour mixture until well coated. 

4.     Add flour mixture to brown butter mixture until well incorporated. Do not overmix the batter.

5.     Spread the thick batter evenly into the pan. 

6.     Bake for 12 minutes or until  top has set and sides start to pull away from the pan or a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out dry, then it's done. Transfer the pan into a wired rack and let it cool before cutting into squares.

7.     Although you can eat the mango bars right away, they are best served the next day. The bars will stay fresh for a week kept in an airtight container at room temperature or two months in a freezer. 

Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan

Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan

Jojo Sabalvaro-Tan is a retired corporate director of accounting, payroll and compensation at OfficeMax (formerly Boise Cascade Office Products). An alumnus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, she now devotes her time to volunteer work and her travels, art, food, quilting and needle arts, which she writes about in her blogs, Finding Art and Ang Kusina ni Lola Alfonsa.

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