Monday, December 29, 2014

Salted Nut Bars

Holy-Moley!  These are some incredible cookies.  They hit all of the right notes for me:  salty, sweet, crunchy, soft....  Mmmm.  I could eat the entire batch.  And this recipe makes a TON of cookies, so eating the entire batch is a very bad idea.  Though, it might just happen, as I cannot seem to stop myself from opening the cookie bin and grabbing another one every time I am anywhere near my kitchen.  And since our house is really open and the kitchen is pretty much in the center, you could say that I am near the kitchen almost all of the time.  Very very dangerous.  Extremely.

To be honest, looking at the ingredients, I would not know that I would have this dangerous attraction to these cookies.  I'm not really one for butterscotch chips, to be honest.  But they make this cookie heavenly, trust me. Thank you to my mother-in-law who found this recipe and made it one year.  Well, thanks, I think....  I'll let you know after I eat an entire batch of these things!

Here we go...

The crust of this cookie is  made of flour, brown sugar, butter and salt.  Throw it all in the mixer bowl and mix until it is crumbly.

Dump the crumbly mixture into a parchment covered half-sheet pan (13x18-inch).  Spread it around the pan as evenly as you can.  Then place a piece of plastic wrap on top if it all and use something to roll it out flat.  (The recipe does not say to do this, but it is a fast, easy way to get it all out into the pan and evenly pressed down.  I used a large kids vitamin bottle for rolling.  If you get vitamins at Costco or Sams and have one of these giant bottles, this will work for you too!

Bake this at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until it is golden on top.  If you bake it too long, it will be too crunchy and very hard to cut when you get to the cutting point.  I baked mine for 10 minutes and could have probably done 11 but was nervous about getting to the "too crunchy" point.

In the mean time, measure out your nuts (4c) and set them aside.  Then make the caramel...  Butterscotch chips, butter, and corn syrup, melted together in a saucepan.  Again, trust me, the butterscotch chips are really good here!

Stir a lot to keep it from burning on the bottom of the pan, and to help the butterscotch chips melt.  Timing wise, you want to this to be ready just as you are taking the bottom layer out of the oven.

Pull the crust out and sprinkle the nuts relatively evenly all over.  Immediately pour the caramel over the top, getting it as even as you can.  Then back into the oven it goes, for another 10-12 minutes.

And it will come out looking like this.  Mmmm.  Let it sit on a rack for about an hour to cool.  You don't want them to be gooey when you try to slice them.  Cut them into bars about 1x2 inches.  Small is good with these.  Then you get to eat more of them over time.  I ended up with 98 bars, having 14 rows across the wide part of the pan and 7 across the top.  Obviously they were not quite all 1x2 inches, but that is okay with me!

Salted Nut Bars
adapted from The Baking Sheet, King Arthur Flour

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt

4 cups salted mixed nuts
3/4 cup corn syrup (I used almost all light, but ran low so used about 1 1/2 TB dark)
3 TB  unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips (I just dumped in the entire 11 oz bag, which was about 1 2/3 c)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a half-sheet pan (13x18-inch) with parchment paper, letting the paper go up the sides of the pan.

Combine the flour, sugar, butter and salt in a mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment.  Mix until crumbly.  Pat the mixture into your prepared pan.  For a fast method, spread out the mixture with your hand, then cover with plastic wrap and use some sort of small roller to roll it all out and pressing into the corners and edges.  I used a big vitamin bottle.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly brown.  Allow to cool for a few minutes while you start on the topping, and then spread the nuts over the top.

Combine the corn syrup, butter and butterscotch chips in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to come to a boil, stirring constantly.   Boil until all of the butterscotch chips are melted.  As soon as the chips are melted, pour the mixture evenly over the nuts.  Do not let the mixture cool first, as it will harden and become impossible to work with.

Bake for another 10-12 minutes.  The longer you bake them, the more candy-like the caramel will become, less chewy.  You need to find your perfect spot of chewy with some crunch.  I baked mine for 11 min. and they were fine. 

Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack for at least one hour.  Lay a fresh parchment paper over the top of the pan and flip the pan over onto the counter.  Then flip it back the right way so the nuts are on top. Slice with a sharp knife into 1x2-inch bars.  Store in an airtight container.
Printable Recipe

You need to try this out.  And then call me so I can come over and "test" them for you...

1 comment:

Due to some bizarre spam comments I have recently received, I am moderating the comments for a while. I hope this spam craziness stops so this becomes unnecessary!