7 August 2011

Walrus Bars

What a peculiar name, if anyone can enlighten me on the reason behind it please do! But for the time being I am quite content with my un-answered question whilst I shovel away these dreamy little walrus's. A deeply chocolaty shortbread base covered in a layer of chewy gooey caramel and toasted nuts....excuse me whilst I go nab another. I make quite a few shortbread based goods but I have to say this choccy shortbread really impressed me, it tastes fabulous and is yummy in its own right. Iv'e made pecan pie bars in the past which were absolutely gorgeous, so when I saw this recipe I knew it was going to be a winner as the components seemed to be veryvery similar. The main differences were the addition of cocoa, the switch of nut and my choice to swap the extract for a nice dash of booze. Boozy treats, you make me joyful!

The smell of something baking is second to none, and jusstttt as these were done and I whipped them out of the oven a very treasured family friend appeared in the doorway (a childhood friend of my mums who once owned a chicken farm where I used to love helping out at as a kid) An hour or so into our catch up he interrupted me and said 'so when are you going to offer me whatever it is you have been baking? The smell is killing me!' I did feel rather rude but I knew they needed time to cool down...my self control is pitiful though and I couldn't resist either so, still warm, we greedily cut into them and with sticky fingers ate our way through more than I care to admit. Basically I had to restrain myself to not gobble the lot so I could have something to photo for you! Im glad we didn't finish them all as have to say, these are lovely warm but I much much prefer them straight out of the fridge, the flavours just seem to mingle addictively and its a lot neater to eat too!

Without further ado here is the gorgeous chocolatey nutty treat I have been rambling about - Walrus Bar's, I don't know why you are called so, but I bladdy love you

Walrus Bars
Adapted from Of Muses and Meringues
Weight measurements are my own, they may not be exact conversions but are what I used :)

For the base
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2oz) cornstarch
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) icing sugar
1/2 cup (1 3/4 oz) cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (4oz) unsalted butter, cubed

For the topping
1/2 cup (4oz) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 oz) brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup (3 oz) honey
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp rum, preferably spiced*
1 1/2 cups (5 1/4 oz) chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

For the base: Preheat the oven to 325F/170C and grease/line an 8 x 8 inch tin
Whisk the flour, cornstarch, icing sugar, cocoa and salt together
Add the butter and rub it in using your fingertips until the mixture is moist and crumbly (can also use a pastry cutter or probably a food processor)
Tip the mix into the tin and press in firmly, can be useful to use the back of a spoon
Bake for 27-30 minutes

For the topping: Lower the oven temperature to 300F/150C
Put the butter, sugar, honey and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat
Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes
Remove from the heat and leave for a few minutes until it stops bubbling
Stir in the cream and rum/extracts. Stir in the walnuts
Pour over the base, spreading the walnuts out evenly
Bake for 20 minutes more
Remove from the oven and let stand for 2 hours. Once completely cooled remove from tin and cut into desired sized bars using a very sharp knife
Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator

* I might try plonking in a little bit more rum next time... :) but you could substitute 1 tsp vanilla or rum extract if you wished

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