Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dark Chocolate Walnut Bars

Though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, every once in a while I like to indulge in something sweet specially after a hot and spicy meal. I had a big bag of walnuts that I bought around Christmas time last year. Since I saved them in the refrigerator they are still very fresh and I wanted to bake something using these nuts. These days, my go to baking book is this 'The Cook's Encyclopedia of Baking' book by Carole Clements that I bought from Amazon few years back. Every single item that I have baked from this book so far has turned out really good and I'm always confident baking anything from this book. While browsing through this book, these Chocolate Walnut Bars caught my attention. This seemed like a perfect recipe to use up some of the walnuts and also the Hershey's dark cocoa powder I bought few months back to make this Zebra Cake. These bars were easy to make and were delicious. They had just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy anyone's craving. Though the original recipe called for regular cocoa powder, I used dark cocoa powder and both D and I thought the dark chocolate made the bars even more delicious!

Makes 24
Ingredients -
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup flour, sifted
6 tbsps cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2 tbsps unsalted butter
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed Hershey's dark cocoa powder)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Method -
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the sides and bottom of a 8 -inch square baking pan.
2. Grind the walnuts with a few tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor, blender or nut grinder.
3. In a bowl, combine the ground walnuts, remaining sugar and flour. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Alternatively, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Pat the walnut mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 25 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, for the topping, melt the butter with the water. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla and salt and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the eggs until blended.
6. Pour the topping over the crust when baked.
7. Return to the oven and bake until set, about 20 mins. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Cut into 21/2 X 1 inch bars and dust with confectioners sugar. Store in the refrigerator.

I'm sending these to Sugar High Friday - Edition # 67 hosted by The Well Seasoned Cook, where the theme is Bar Cookies.
I'm also sending these to Champa's Baking from the Book event hosted by Suma for the month of June.