Happy belated Valentine's Day! I used to be anti V-day and go around in grey sweaters with black pants. That phase is long gone, I think I left all that angst somewhere back in college along with a much missed papasan. I still hate the colour pink but the holiday no longer makes me reach for a bottle of pepto bismol or gag on a spoon while watching nauseating Disney-like commercials for jewelery stores (why all the cheesy Jared ads these last few years?) I am a sucker for the old De Beers diamond commercials though. I'm not made of ice.
As long as Valentines Day is done in style, I'm ok with it. Less is more, nothing over the top, and no cartoon blue birds flying around and whistling. I don't think there is a better way to show how you feel about someone than through food. It literally is something that you put into other people, something you prepare to provide nourishment (never mind the damn calories, I'm talking about fuel for the spirit.) No, not everyone has a sweet tooth but for those of us who do, a well prepared dessert can melt almost any fortress no matter how cold and locked. Sugar can lift a mood like nothing else...well, almost nothing. It's appeal is universal, every culture has it's own stamp on a form of dessert.
These bars are by no means Valentine's day themed. They are simply a rich, buttery bar stuffed with creamy macadamia nuts and topped with a lace of chocolate drizzle. So easy, so subtle in their caramel-like flavour, and a 'lets break out the comfortable sweat pants' way to show how much you care.
(adapted from Land O'Lakes)
*printer friendly Recipe*
1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup of Dark corn syrup
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
6 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 1/2 cups of unsalted macadamia nuts ( coarsely chopped and toasted)
1/4 cup of chopped dark or bittersweet chocolate
about 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter
Toast the macadamia nuts: Preheat the oven to 350F. Scatter the chopped nuts in an even layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes or until the just start to turn a light gold. Shake the sheet around about half-way through the baking time. Remove the nuts from the oven and set them aside to cool off. Leave the oven temp. at 350F.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, butter, and sugar for the crust. Beat at medium speed until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly. Press the crust evenly onto the bottom of an ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan. Bake for 18 minutes or until the edges just start to turn gold.
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the corn syrup, maple syrup, eggs, flour, vanilla, and salt. Whisk together till combined. Stir in the toasted macadamia nuts. Spread the filling evenly over the hot, semi-baked crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the filling is set. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Drizzle: In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the chopped chocolate and butter together. Stir constantly until smooth. Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over the cool bars. Allow the bars to sit for an hour before serving and indulging.