Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Viennese Chocolate Walnut Bars

Viennese Chocolate Walnut Bars
Source: Maida Heatter's Cookies (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1997 ed.), pg. 130 (page 135 of 2011 edition).

Every year at the end of the semester, we give the student workers a party and give them goodie bags full of treats. This was my contribution. They are quite delicious with a buttery, shortbread base and decadent chocolate filling. My only gripe is that they were difficult to remove from the pan because the crust is so delicate. I made a mess in the kitchen! These will need to sit overnight in order for the icing to set. 

The recipe states that this makes 32 small bars. They need to be sliced very small, almost bite-sized. That is okay because they are very rich. 


4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter (softened)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Adjust a rack 1/3 up from the bottom and preheat to 375.

Cream the butter. (I used a hand held mixer for making the crust but a stand mixer is fine too).
Beat in the sugar.
On low speed, gradually beat in the flour, until the mixture holds together.
Take large spoonfuls of the dough and place them over the bottom of an un-buttered 9-inch square pan.
Press the dough together with your fingertips to make a smooth layer. Bake for 10 minutes. Prepare the filling.
Chocolate Walnut Filling

1/4 cup apricot preserves
6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) walnuts
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 TBS. unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

Grind the walnuts to a fine powder in a food processor.
Beat the eggs at high speed for about 2 minutes until they are slightly thickened.
Add the salt...
and vanilla extract.
Lower the speed on the mixer and add the cocoa powder...
and the brown sugar.

Add the ground walnuts, beating only until incorporated.
Stir the apricot preserves to soften them and then spread them over the hot crust. Leave a 1/2 inch border. This will be a very thin layer of preserves.
Pour the filling over the preserves.
Ready for baking! Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Icing

6 oz. semisweet chocolate cut into small pieces
2 TBS. light corn syrup
2 tsp. rum or strong prepared coffee
2 tsp. boiling water
2 oz. (1/2 cup) walnuts, chopped

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, over barely simmering water.
Add the corn syrup, rum (or coffee) and boiling water and stir until smooth.
Spread the icing over the cake.
Sprinkle the nuts over the icing.
Press the nuts down slightly with a spatula.
Let the cake stand at room temperature to firm the icing (this might take a few hours or overnight). After the icing has set, cut the cake into 4 quarters and remove each quarter with a wide spatula. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into small bars. These should be served at room temperature. They can be stored at room temperature covered with plastic wrap.


Randy said...

Dear Santa Claus,
Please bring me a stand up Kitchenaid mixer so I can make delicious treats like, Phillip.

Once again a delicious looking dessert. I know your coworkers are gonna get some nice Christmas goodies!

Phillip Oliver said...

Randy, you can make these with a regular mixer. However, once you have a stand mixer, there is not going back. :)

Randy said...

Shhhhhhhhhhhh! I could also stir it with a spoon till my arm dropped off but I want a mixer!LOL

Jen said...

Haha, Randy, you have to get one. I was lucky enough to get one as a wedding gift, and I am so grateful that my husband's aunts and uncles pitched in to get one for us. They are worth it, and I probably would have NEVER gotten one otherwise.

Phillip, do you think you could line it with parchment paper to help with getting it out of the pan? I have a pet peeve about recipes like that. I love this blog, keep up the great work!

Phillip Oliver said...

Jen, I would think parchment paper would be fine. I always fear having a stuck cake - there is nothing worse. I usually use a baking spray and the bread crumbs and haven't had a failure yet.