|Bouchées aux noix|
These bars may be the least healthy treats I've ever shared with you, but they are absolutely delicious.
Today, I'm sharing the recipe and some tips I've learned the hard way.
2 cups flour
1 cup cold butter
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups, total, of "filling" such as
- chopped nuts
- chopped maraschino cherries
- shredded coconut
- chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Using a food processor or a pastry cutter, combine the ingredients for the bottom layer. Note: the fat must be cold and hard. If you substitute margarine, use the brick margarine, not the spreadable kind. If you use soft margarine or butter, you will end up with a glutinous mess that will be difficult to spread in the pan.
It should look like this.
(The lumpy bits are because I substituted soft margarine for
half of the fat because I was feeling cheap, even though I knew better.)
With the palms of your hands, press the crumbs gently into a relatively firm layer. (You'll find that you can't press too hard or the crumbs will just stick to your hands.)
Bake at 400 F for 5-8 minutes.
|The little holes are because of the water from the soft margarine turning into steam.|
Another reason to use good, cold butter.
Fold or stir in your "filling" ingredients. I used 1 cup of chopped nuts, 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup of shredded coconut. (The original recipe just called for nuts and coconut, hence it's name.)
Important: This step usually takes long enough that the bottom layer has cooled. If it hasn't, then leave it a few minutes until it has cooled, otherwise, the "cookie" layer will be too fragile. Also, the chocolate chips will melt.
Carefully spoon the goopy layer on the cooled bottom layer. Don't worry about covering it completely just yet.
With a spatula, gently push the goop to cover the bottom layer evenly.
|If the crust had still been hot, those chocolate chips would have melted when I tried to spread the filling.|
The filling should be a golden brown and NOT at all jiggly in the centre. (This is really only an issue if you use a smaller pan and consequently thicker layer of topping.)
DO NOT CUT IT. It will smell like the elixir of the gods, and you will want to shovel it into your mouth. RESIST! Go for a walk. Read an engrossing book. Play with the dog. Do anything but cut into the bars until they are cooled to room temperature. If you don't wait, you will just end up with a globby, ugly mess. (It'll still taste great, but you won't want to serve it to guests.)
Now, here's the fancy part: you're going to cut them into diamonds.
First, cut the diagonal lines. (I use a pizza cutter.)
|Yes, I had to put the pan on the floor in order to get this picture.|
|I could probably have waited a bit longer; the chocolate chips are still soft.|
|The chef has dibs on all the wonky edge-pieces.|
And that's it!
|The fork is just for show. I used my fingers.|