I like to think that I’m relatively level-headed when it comes to sweets. Sure, I love baking but I don’t really go overboard with recipes that use a ton of butter or cream. Or butterscotch chips. But I happened to read this post on Just Cook NYC and I couldn’t get those orange-hued cashew bars out of my head. Luckily, my local grocery store must have been conspiring because there was a super sale on butterscotch chips! My fate was sealed.
The only problem was that there was no recipe in Justin’s post. No matter, that’s what Google is for (uh, or a bookstore where I could purchase the cookbook) and I found a kind of cockamamie recipe over at Serious Eats. It’s cockamamie because it isn’t complete – one entire step regarding the bottom cookie layer is gone and the rest of the recipe seems a bit off. So I just used my skills honed from the cranberry lemon bars and it worked out just fine. Making the butterscotch topping couldn’t have been simpler. Melt the chips with some butter and water and corn syrup before adding in the cashews.
And can I mention that every time I use corn syrup, I squee! Seriously, look at the little red elephant spout on my bottle of Korean corn syrup! Too cute. I guess it’s a good thing, that I only use corn syrup about once a year.
Recently I mentioned that I rarely make layered squares or bar cookies because they seem like to much work. Many people disagreed with me and I guess it just took a little practice to get comfortable. These squares were easy to make, they were easy to cut and totally easy to share with friends. And they go perfectly with a cup of coffee. Even my butterscotch-hating husband couldn’t help but grab seconds.
Please note that the bars were a bit gooey in the very middle which wasn’t a bad thing. If you wanted a firmer centre, you could bake them for another 5 minutes or so – but watch them closely because I’m guessing that they could burn quickly around the edges.
elsewhere: It’s feeling like spring here in Vancouver, so why not get festive and celebrate the longer days! Over at Poppytalk, I make some creamy green salsa. It’s unusual and full of flavour and totally vegan, so get your dip on.
butterscotch cashew bars
(adapted from Serious Eats)
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1 c cold butter
1-2 T cold water
1 2/3 c butterscotch chips
1/2 c + 2 T light corn syrup
3 1/2 T unsalted butter
1/4 t kosher salt
2 T water
2 c salted cashew pieces, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter your 9×13″ pan and cut two strips of parchment. Lay one lengthwise and the other widthwise with the paper long enough to go outside the pan (this provides you with handles to lift the bars out when you are ready to cut into them). Butter up your parchment too.
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and use your hands or a food processor to crumble the dough into small pieces. Move crumbles to a mixer and add in the water and blend until the dough comes together. Press the dough into your prepped pan and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and poke the dough all over with a fork and bake for another 20 minutes or until it gets lightly golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butterscotch chips, along with corn syrup, butter, salt and 2 tablespoons of water. When it’s all melty and smooth, stir in the cashews and spread evenly over the cookie base. Bake for 15 minutes or until the butterscotch gets nice and bubbly. Remove from the oven and cool. Cut into squares. Makes 24 2″ squares.