Butterscotch Walnut Cookie Bars
February 18, 2013
Though it pains me to acknowledge, there are not one, but two members of my family that are not die hard lovers of chocolate. Being that cooking desserts without chocolate is somewhat foreign to me, I have taken it upon myself to find recipes for treats that not only please my family, but that I deem worthy of the calories they impart. Anything caramel is usually a hit with us- we love Caramel Sauce on Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel Apple Tarts, or fruity desserts such as Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes. Most recently I was searching for a recipe that would pack well for a family picnic and I came across this gem of a recipe in a cookbook I recently picked up, Maida Heatter’s Cookies.
Butterscotch Walnut Cookie Bars are crunchy, nutty, butter goodness. The brown sugar sweetened bottom layer holds the chewy, crunchy walnut topping. Delicious on their own, these bars are absolutely incredible with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. Kept in an air tight container, these bars keep for a week, but only if you have more self-control than we do. Enjoy.
makes 36 bars (or so)
for the crust
1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Be sure to break up any clumps. Using a fork or pastry blender, mix in the butter until the particles are very fine. Though the mixture looks dry and powdery, it will firm up as you pack it in the pan and it bakes.
Use the bottom of a glass to evenly press the mixture into a smooth and compact layer in a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan. Bake the crust for 12 minutes, until it is lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside while you prepare the topping. Leave the oven on.
for the topping
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup butterscotch chips
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
7 ounces (2 cups) walnuts, cut medium fine
Set a double boiler with a medium-sized bowl over medium heat. Combine the corn syrup, butterscotch chips, salt, butter, and water in the bowl over the hot water. Stir constantly while the mixture melts. Once melted, immediately stir in the walnuts, stir until they are fully covered in the butterscotch mixture. Using a rubber spatula, scoop the walnut mixture onto the still warm crust. Spread evenly over the crust leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges. The mixture will spread as it bakes. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Allow the pan to cool on a wire rack for 30-40 minutes. Using a sharp knife or a rolling pizza cutter, cut around the edges to release and then slice into bars. Use a spatula to lift the bars from the pan. If they still seem too soft, let them cool further. They will become very crisp and easy lift.
Store in an air tight container for up to one week.
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