Holiday Cookies: Rustic Nut Bars

Another cookie recipe, another week of me shamelessly harvesting content from a food Magazine. This time, the magazine is the December 2005 issue of ‘Gourmet’. The recipe? Rustic Nut bars (found on page 110, for those of you playing at home).

These bars turned out great. However, it should be stated that you should enjoy nuts if you wish to make these cookies. If you’re sorta kinda indifferent to nuts, then you should probably avoid this recipe. Why? Because each bar is about 80% nuts, which may allow you to quickly OD on them.

Thankfully for me I love cashews, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios. The results here reminded me of a cookie version of the PayDay bar, sans nougat. It’s quite good.

Cookie

  • 2 1/3 cups AP Flour
  • 1/2 cup bakers sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 stick (3/4 cup) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 large egg

Topping

  • 3 oz. whole almonds, with skin
  • 4 oz chopped hazelnuts
  • 2/3 cup clover honey
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and in slices
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 6 oz cashews, salted and roasted
  • 5 oz pistachios, shelled and salted

Place oven rack in the middle position and pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a fork, start adding the pieces of butter, bit by bit. Use the tines of the fork to mash the butter. Continue this process with the butter and fork smashing until all the butter is gone and the flour-mixture looks like a coarse meal in pea-sized butter lumps.

Add the egg to the flour. Here I used my (clean) hands to mix the dough thoroughly, squeezing the dough to incorporate the butter efficiently.

Place the dough in a 13″x9″ buttered glass baking dish.Press the dough evenly on bottom. Do not press up the sides of the dish.

Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove, and allow to cool for 40 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Place the almonds and hazelnuts in a shallow baking dish and roast in the oven from 8-10 minutes. Remove, and increase the oven temperature back to 375 degrees F.

In a medium sized sauce pan, bring the honey, brown sugar and salt to a small boil over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then boil, without stirring for 2 minutes. Add butter and cream and continue to boil for one minute, allowing the butter to melt. Remove from heat and add all of the nuts to the syrup, coating thoroughly.

Spread nut mixture over the cookie crust. Place baking dish back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the top has carmelized and bubbled. Remove from oven and allow to cool in refrigerator for an hour.

Cut and serve.

Makes 64 bars, depending on the size of your cut

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