I couldn’t let a day go by without posting a cookie recipe. This is Cookie Madness not Asparagus Madness, right? So here’s today’s cookie. The Hazelnut Council published these “Hazelnut-Caramel Shortbread Bars” in a PDF file on their website. Check it out, because there’s some good stuff, including a great photograph of what these bars should like look under ideal circumstances.
I used Hazelnut Council’s filling recipe, but changed the crust because I didn’t want it to be quite so thick. I also used Golden Syrup instead of dark. And finally, do not — and I repeat, Do NOT tell the Hazelnut Council, but I made half of the bars with roasted whole almonds and they worked beautifully. Shhhhhhh.
Sorry you can’t really see the hazelnuts in this particular cross-section, but they’re there.
Hazelnut-Caramel Shortbread Bars
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
8 tablespoons unsalted butter plus a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup or golden syrup
2 cups whole hazelnuts, toasted, skin removed (or use toasted almonds)
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (garnish)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch square metal pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla and salt, then add flour and stir just until mixed. Press into bottom of pan and bake for 20 minutes or until pale and gold.
Melt butter over medium heat. When butter is partially melted, stir in salt, condensed milk, brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 237 degrees on candy thermometer. Remove from heat and whisk for 30 seconds. Pour caramel mixture over cooled crust.
Sprinkle hazelnuts over caramel layer, pressing nuts lightly.
For topping, melt chocolate in microwave or top of double boiler and pour over nuts. Let it cool completely. Melt white chips in a heavy duty freezer bag in microwave or melt in a bowl and transfer to a freezer bag. Snip a tiny piece of bottom and drizzle over top. Let cool.
Cut bars after they have cooled and set. I found them easier to cut after they’d chilled.
Cut into 16 or 24 bars (these are thick).