I love nuts! Matter of fact I have been called one at times! Walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, any kind would be great in this recipe. What would be the best pairing with toasted nuts? How about caramel, better yet, a honey caramel. Let me show you how to make these candy/cookie bars.
First the crust:
Sweet Pastry Dough
- 18 0z Flour ( 1# and 2 0z)
- 1/3 Cup Sugar (on the heavy side)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 10 oz Butter (cold and sliced up)
- 3 0z Crisco
- 3 Egg Yolks mixed with 1/3 Cup Water
I use this crust for everything, I just love the slight sweetness and texture of it!
Put the first five ingredients into your mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix until it forms a crumb. Then pour in the egg yolks and water mixture. Mix only until combined.
Pat into a 10″ x 15″ metal pan, with at least 2″ sides. Pat the dough up the sides too. Pierce all over with a fork and put into the freezer for about 15 minutes. Put into a preheated 350 degree oven, bake for 30 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Honey Caramel Filling
- 1 # Walnuts (or your favorite nut, not Uncle Chuck!)
- 8 0z Butter (2 sticks)
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar (packed)
- 1/3 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Honey
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Warning Alert: When working with hot sugars(caramels) be very careful, these will burn your skin terribly.
Toast the walnuts on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, until you smell them. This brings out the flavor of the nut!
Put the saucepan over a medium high flame. Using a wooden spoon to stir these ingredients continuously. Don’t leave it unattended. Set up a bowl of ice water nearby, I don’t have a candy thermometer so I do it the old way. If you do have a candy thermometer it has to reach 250 degrees, also known as the Hard Ball Stage. The old way to test the temperature of the caramel is to drop a drizzle of the boiling sugars into the ice water. It will drop to the bottom of the ice water, then take your fingers and pick up the cooled drizzle of sugar. Roll it together with your fingers, if it feels semi hard to the touch it is ready. When the mixture looks foamy and is rapidly boiling you are approaching “The Hard Ball Stage”, this is when you can do the ice water test.
Take off the heat and stand back as you pour the heavy cream into the hot sugars. It will sputter, so stay out of harms way. When the foaming has subsided, mix it together with the wooden spoon. Pour in the walnuts and stir until well combined.
Pour the filling over the pre-baked crust. Spread it evenly with your wooden spoon or a spatula.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Be very careful taking it out of the oven, remember this caramel is hot! If it spills onto your skin the caramel will stick and the burn is awful. I have had this happen to me, I learned my lesson to be extra cautious when working with hot sugars and caramels.
Looking awfully nutty! A nice golden brown color. Let it cool completely at room temperature before cutting it. This will take a few hours. If you want the caramel to be a little bit chewier, after it has cooled you can put it into the refrigerator for a few hours.
I cut some into bars and some into squares, then cut the square diagonally to make some triangles. These are a great addition to a cookie platter. I also like to use them as a base for an ice cream sundae, put two pieces in the bottom of a bowl, top with ice cream and then drizzle chocolate and caramel sauce over it.
They could be considered a candy because of the caramel, yet they could be considered a cookie because of the crust. The texture is crunchy from the nuts, silkiness from the honey caramel and a tender flakiness from the crust. I think you will go nuts over these!