Monday, June 14, 2010

Nut Bars

Nut Bars

I was in a picky mood when I decided to make these. I wanted to bake--something easy, something sweet, something not my old standbys. And nothing was making the cut. They were too fussy, too samey, too requiring of a trip to the grocery store. And then I opened my copy of the Betty Crocker Cookbook, a wedding gift that I am almost embarrassed to admit, I don't think I had ever peeked in before. And I found these salted nut bars and happily got to work. They used butterscotch, I used chocolate and cut down the salt, but it's okay, we're still friends.

Makes: One 9" x 13" pan.

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 unsalted butter
2 cups unsalted peanuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 light corn syrup
2 tbsp unsalted butter

PREHEAT oven to 350F

MIX flour, brown sugar, and salt in large bowl
CUT 1/2 cup butter into small pieces
ADD to flour mix
BLEND well

PRESS dough into an ungreased 9 x 13" pan

BAKE 15 minutes

SPRINKLE nuts evenly over the crust

HEAT chocolate, corn syrup, and 2 tbsp butter in a small saucepan over low heat
STIR occasionally, until chips are just melted
DRIZZLE evenly over nuts

BAKE an additional 5 minutes



My Thoughts
1. As much as I am not a fan of corn syrup, it really does the trick here, keeping the chocolate supple and soft. Without the corn syrup, the chocolate would be brittle and the bars would be a tasty crumble instead of tasty bars.

2. Having the nuts be the middle layer meant that the bars tended to separate with the nuts and chocolate coming away from the crust. Next time I make these, I will put the chocolate in the middle, to glue everything together. You could also split the chocolate putting half under the nuts and half over.

3. You could substitute a jam or fruit layer for the nuts. Just be aware that juicy fruit will reduce the longevity of the bars.

4. These store incredibly well. You could easily make these several days in advance for a party and they do well sitting out.

5. We really enjoyed these. They had much of the same flavor as the awesome Peanut Butter Cookies I made last month but a crunchier texture. It's also easy to see that there are nuts in them in case there are people who might need/want to avoid them.

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