Sunday, December 1, 2013

Czech Nut Bars

It is that time of year again...time for the annual LA Times Cookie Bake Off.  I usually look at all the recipes closer to the end of the year because there is actually more variety to vote on.  After reviewing some of the recipes, I landed on this particular one. I thought that with all the shopping and getting ready for the holidays, these bars are perfect for those with little time but still wanting something homemade.

This is basically a shortbread type of bar with walnuts in the batter and raspberry jam in the center.  I do have a lot of recipes with this type of fruit in it but I never grow tired of it.  Paired with some hot raspberry tea, it hits the spot on a cold blustery day.

Czech Nut Bars
LA Times 2013 Cookie Bake Off

2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup butter
1/8 tsp salt
2 egg yolks

Preheat the oven 350 degrees.  Grease the interior of a 9 inch square pan and line the bottom and two sides of the pan with parchment paper.  There should be some overhang on the two sides to help you lift the bars out of the pan before cutting. Grease the face up side of the parchment paper.

In a medium size bowl, sift together the salt and flour.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar in a separate bowl, running the mixer on medium high speed for 2 minutes.  On low speed, beat in one egg yolk for 15 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 15 seconds.  Repeat the process for the additional egg yolk.

Fold the sifted ingredients into the butter mixture, blending until it becomes a dough that can be clumped together with your hand.  I found the mixture a little dry, so I added 1 tbs of water.  You want the dough to clump so the base can be formed but still be somewhat crumbly for the top layer.  Mix in the walnuts.

Take half of the dough and press evenly onto the bottom of the pan.  Then smooth the raspberry over the top, covering the surface evenly.  Lastly, crumble the rest of the dough on top of the raspberry layer.

Place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes.  Remove and let cool in pan completely and then remove using parchment paper.  Cut with a sharp knife into squares or triangles.
                                 **LAST YEAR: Crisp Apple Kolachy***