Caramel Nut Bars

Let’s face it. Just because it’s the new year doesn’t mean we can’t still treat ourselves, right? So, in that spirit, here is a recipe for delicious caramel nut bars. While that might not sound “New Year’s resolution healthy”, these treats pack a big punch in a very small bite. A one inch square has only 80 calories and will satisfy your sweet tooth. Keep these in the freezer for just a little nibble when you need that sweet treat!

The Recipe

by volume                                                                       by weight

crust:

2 cups all purpose flour                                       240 grams all purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar                                                 200 grams brown sugar

3/4 cup butter                                                         168 grams butter

1 teaspoon molasses                                          7 grams molasses

 

filling:

3/4 cup brown sugar                                        150 grams brown sugar

3/4 cup butter                                                     168 grams butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream                        43 grams heavy cream

1 cup walnuts                                                      125 grams walnuts

1 cup chopped bittersweet                         175 grams chopped bittersweet
chocolate                                                             chocolate

 

Directions

Heat the oven to 350F.  For the crust, melt the butter and add the sugar and molasses. Add the flour and mix just until a crumbly dough forms.

Crumble the dough evenly over the bottom of a well greased (let me stress well greased, particularly on the sides where the caramel will come in contact with the pan!) 8 or 9 inch pan.

Press the dough evenly and firmly into the bottom of the pan.

Bake about 15 minutes until the crust is golden.

Coarsely chop the walnuts and sprinkle evenly over the baked crust.

For the filling, bring the brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream to a boil.

Boil for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Pour the filling evenly over the crust and nuts.

Return to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling evenly all over and the color has caramelized slightly. This will take about 15 minutes.

Let the squares cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle the chopped chocolate or chips over the top.

Let the chocolate sit for 5 minutes and then spread evenly over the surface with a small offset spatula. Chill until the chocolate sets.

 

Alternatives

These caramel walnut bars are wonderful made with many kinds of nuts. Pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamias are great choices. A mix of nuts would also work really well.

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