Simply nutty chocolate cookies, bar none


Chocolate nut squares, like bar cookies, are easy-to-prepare snacks which are often loaded with nuts and chocolate.

They are prepared with a buttery shortbread-style biscuit base that provides a sturdy foundation, and a variety of rich sweet fillings such as chocolate ganache or fudge, lemon curd or custard and cheesecake.

Toppings vary from roasted nuts to caramel for a satisfying crunch in contrast to the creamy filling.

This recipe is more than 25 years old and it utilises basic pantry ingredients that most bakers already have in their kitchens.

Best of all, the recipe is versatile and easy to adapt to whatever filling and topping ingredients you have on hand, or even omit them if they are unavailable.

The original recipe calls for pecans but because they tend to be quite expensive, I have substituted them with walnuts instead.

Feel free to experiment with other nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds, cashews and even the affordable peanuts.

While some recipes online simply assemble the layers and bake the whole tray in one go, I advocate blind baking the crust first to avoid getting a soggy bottom.

Lining the baking pan with parchment or aluminium foil helps when lifting the slab of cookie bar out to cut into squares.

That is another advantage of cookie bars as there’s no need to shape each individual cookie; you just need to cut up the slab after baking.

Bar cookies are quite versatile with a variety of fillings and toppings. — LOW LAY PHON/The StarBar cookies are quite versatile with a variety of fillings and toppings. — LOW LAY PHON/The Star

Chocolate nut squares/bars

Biscuit base

115g unsalted butter

50g castor sugar

150g all-purpose flour

Heat the chocolate in a bain-marie – a heatproof bowl set over simmering water.Heat the chocolate in a bain-marie – a heatproof bowl set over simmering water.

Filling

115g semi-sweet chocolate

50g desiccated coconut

The chocolate spread over the biscuit base should be in a smooth layer.The chocolate spread over the biscuit base should be in a smooth layer.

Topping

60g unsalted butter

100g castor sugar

250g walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 tbsp heavy cream

Spread the nut mixture over the chocolate, compacting it into the chocolate with a flat-bottom glass tumbler until the top is level, then bake until golden and crispy.Spread the nut mixture over the chocolate, compacting it into the chocolate with a flat-bottom glass tumbler until the top is level, then bake until golden and crispy.

Directions

For the biscuit base, whisk butter and sugar together until fluffy. Then gradually rub in the flour and lightly knead the mixture until the dough comes together.

Press the dough into a 23x23cm square baking pan lined with baking parchment.

Bake at 180°C for 18 minutes until light golden.

Whisk the butter and sugar together, then rub in flour until combined.Whisk the butter and sugar together, then rub in flour until combined.

For the filling, heat the chocolate in a bain-marie – a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water until chocolate is fully melted.

Stir in desiccated coconut until well combined, then evenly spread the chocolate mixture over the baked biscuit base.

For the topping, heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted, then add the sugar and stir until combined.

Mix in chopped nuts and stir until completely coated with the sugar mixture, then stir in the heavy cream until fully incorporated.

Spread the nut mixture over the chocolate filling and compact it into the pan with a flat-bottomed glass tumbler to ensure an even layer.

Heat the butter until melted, then combine with sugar, chopped walnuts, and cream.Heat the butter until melted, then combine with sugar, chopped walnuts, and cream.

Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes until crispy and the sugar has nicely caramelised.

Chill the slab in the refrigerator for about an hour.

When ready to serve, use a sharp knife to cut the slab into squares.

Enjoy these delightful treats with your favourite cup of tea or coffee.

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Chocolate nut squares , Retro Recipe

   

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