Friday, October 5, 2018

Hazelnut Chocolate Butter Bars

My husband recently made this year’s Christmas cake. You may be thinking that it’s October and it is way too early, but you must make it early and then douse it with alcohol to get it ready for Christmas! He bought some wonderful dried fruits and nuts for this year’s cake, and he had chopped hazelnuts left over. I went looking for a recipe that used chopped nuts, and I found this recipe, which originally called for chopped pecans as they were called butter pecan turtle bars.

These bars have a brown sugar shortbread base, nuts, a caramel filling and then a dark chocolate topping. I think it is a bit of a stretch to call these turtle bars, as the caramel isn’t the sticky type of caramel that you get with turtle candies. I guess that the butter/brown sugar filling is caramel, but it’s very different. I do think that there could have been a little more of the filling.

I used dark chocolate, but I think milk or semi-sweet would work well with the hazelnuts. Some of my favorite candy combines hazelnuts with milk chocolate, and while these bars are very good, they don’t have that familiar flavor that milk chocolate paired with hazelnuts imparts. Despite having multiple layers, these bars are thin. I had difficulty with the chocolate ganache; I don’t think that I had the cream hot enough. I microwaved the mixture for about 20 seconds and that helped. Allow the chocolate to set before cutting into bars, but you don’t want the chocolate to be completely solid when you cut the bars. I cut the bars after the chocolate had cooled about 30 minutes and then put them in the refrigerator to let them set completely.

Hazelnut Chocolate Butter Bars
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped hazelnuts

2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until light. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour and then the salt. The dough will by dry and crumbly but should stick together when pressed. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and salt and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil, boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the base.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool before adding the chocolate topping.

Place the dark chocolate and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Microwave the heavy cream until just at the boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Whisk the mixture until smooth and glossy. Spread the chocolate over the cooled bars. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. Allow the chocolate to set before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Bake or Break

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