Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Maple Walnut Bars

When you're a kid and you try something that you don't like, your parents may tell you, "Oh, you'll like it when you're older."  They are usually right.   As a girl I did not like maple syrup.   I had my own bottle of Smucker's fruit syrup - boysenberry, raspberry or strawberry.  Anything but maple.  At some undefined moment in my life I decided that maple syrup and other maple flavored treats were good.   I'm a bit of a syrup snob.   I don't buy "pancake syrup."  It's real maple or not at all.    These bars are sweet, small and are great with coffee.

What You Need
1/2 cup cold butter/margarine
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups walnuts (used closer to 1 1/2 since that's what I had)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter/margarine
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream (another cheat, I used skim milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla

What You Do
Preheat the oven to 350.   Line an 8x8 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. 

To make the crust, combine all crust ingredients in a food processor and process until fine crumbs form.   Press crust into the bottom of the pan and bake 25-30 minutes until it just begins to brown.

Take advantage of your oven being on to toast the walnuts on a baking sheet for 6-8 minutes, then coarsely chop them up.   In a medium saucepan combine the sugars, butter, syrups, and cream;  bring to a boil.   Reduce heat, simmer and stir until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes.   Stir in walnuts and vanilla.   

Spread the filling over the crust and let the bars cool.   Cooking at night, I covered the pan and put them in the fridge before I went upstairs and they chilled the night away.   Pull the bars out of the pan using the foil and cut into small squares.   These are rich, so you don't need a big piece. 

Recipe Source:  Real Simple

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