There are days, and then there are days. You know, the ones where you can’t seem to accomplish anything no matter how hard you try? Well I feel like I’ve been having a month of them! But I am finally beginning to get my head above water – yea!
When I am stressed, I often turn to junk food. There must be some redeeming value to the cravings because it does seem to help. At least a little. Do you have cravings? This week it was for chocolate and I could not WAIT to make these treats for you guys!
These bars are better than stuffing my face with junk food because they have a ton of nuts in them. That packs them with protein and makes them healthy right? Yeah, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! 😉
I love the flavor combination found in turtle candies – nuts, caramel, and chocolate. I am always looking for new ways to put them together, creating interesting and fun treats for my friends and family. Like turtles, this dessert’s emphasis is the caramel-flavored layer, balanced by the savory nuts and light bitterness of the chocolate. Even though you may be tempted to use milk chocolate, resist that urge and stick with the darker chocolates. They will help cut the sweetness and give you a much more satisfying dessert.
While I used sliced almonds in this version (because they were in my pantry), you could easily use a different type of nut, like pecans, or even salty, smoked almonds. Oh my goodness yes, those would be outstanding in these bars!
Another thing I love about this recipe in particular is how simple it is to make. They will love helping you pat the crust layer into the pan and sprinkling on the nuts. Just be careful when working around melted butter and sugar – it is one of the hottest things in the kitchen. They will be tickled to watch the chocolate melt as you spread the chips over the surface. Then the hard part – letting it cool completely before cutting!
If you are planning an Oscar viewing party this weekend or want to plan ahead for St. Patty’s day, put these on your short list. One of the best desserts for a crowd is bar cookies. They can be eaten like a cookie or brownie, but they have a base, filling and topping similar to the structure of a pie. Sort of a best of both worlds dessert. And this version has a lovely golden color, perfect for the Academy Awards. If you like really sweet, indulgent desserts, these cookie bars are for you!
Happy Chocolate Monday!
Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend along with almond meal to replace the wheat flour. If your blend doesn’t include xanthan gum, add 1/4 tsp and mix it into the dry ingredients.
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour or for gluten-free use 1 cup gluten-free flour blend and 1 cup almond meal (add 1/4 tsp xanthan gum if your GF blend does not already contain it)
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups sliced almonds or coarsely chopped pecans
- Filling and Topping
- 2/3 cup butter
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Set out a 9x13-inch baking pan; no need to butter it.
- Prepare the Bottom Layer: In the bowl of your standing mixer beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the flour (or gluten-free ingredients), brown sugar, and salt. On low speed, beat 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Scrape the bowl and beater and mix another 30 seconds.
- Dump this mixture into the 9x13-inch pan and using your hands, pat this mixture evenly onto the bottom. Sprinkle nuts evenly over crust. Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove pan from the oven; leave the oven on.
- Make the Filling: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until entire surface is bubbly. From this point, cook, stirring constantly, 1/2 to 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and pour it over the nut-covered layer in the pan, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula.
- Return pan to the hot oven and bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until entire surface is bubbly.
- Chocolate Topping: Remove the pan from oven and immediately sprinkle the top with the chocolate pieces. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes to allow chocolate to mostly melt and then use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate over the caramel filling. Set pan on a wire rack and cool thoroughly.
- Use a sharp knife to cut into 48 bars.
- Yield: about 48 bars
Create a New Tradition Today!
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