Friday, December 30, 2011

Southern Style EggNog Caramel Nut Bars

Rich and decadent, these bars are well worth the extra time it takes to make them and the luscious caramel eggnog sauce really adds a kick of flavor to the season.

Traditionally made with pecans, this year I substituted hazelnuts mostly for the sake of money - I picked up chopped hazelnuts for $1.99 lb. versus the $9.99 lb. pecans. Feel free to use either of those or walnuts or even almonds slivers.

This was a twist on a recipe my mother-in-law found in a magazine, but when she didn't have any heavy cream on hand for the caramel sauce and was running low on honey and pecans, I came up with some quick variations to make this holiday classic and this new version has become one of the most requested holidays of the season.

3 C. toasted pecans or hazelnuts ($1.25)
2 C. all purpose flour ($.15)
2/3 C. powdered sugar ($.15)
3/4 C. cold butter, cubed ($.35)
3/4 C. packed brown sugar ($.10)
1/4 C. honey ($.35)
5 T. cold butter, cubed ($.25)
4 T. eggnog ($.10)

Combine flour, 3/4 C.. cold butter, and powdered sugar until mixture resembled coarse meal. Press mixture into the bottom of a aluminum foil lined and lightly greased 13x9" baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Cool completely - about 15 minutes.

Bring brown sugar and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan over medium high heat.

Sprinkle toasted nuts evenly over crust and drizzle with caramel sauce. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until sauce is golden and bubbly. Cool completely before removing bars from pan by lifting aluminum foil and cutting into small bars.

Yields: 36 small bars
Cost: $2.70
Cost per bar: $.08

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