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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Macademia-Maple Sticky Bars (by Michelle)

Guest Baker Michelle was one of my roommates and best friends at college. Later she became my favorite sister-in-law so the fun just continues. She lives in Harrogate, England.
These were really great. Something totally different from the ordinary Christmas plate fare that will stand-out. I took them to work and all of my co-workers raved about them. One even said "these taste like something you would get at Betty's." Supremely high praise indeed. The crust is like a maple cookie and the top is made like candy, but you don't need a candy thermometer. I am not a fan of ginger, but the crystallized ginger in this really help add flavor to these bars and keep them from being too sweet. A big hit.

I made these without reading the instructions fully so I accidentally added all the brown sugar into the crust. I also didn't have maple sugar so I used golden caster sugar instead. Caster sugar is a more finely ground sugar than standard granulated. Even with these two changes, it turned out fantastic. I am sure it would be even better made 100% correctly. When I had made the topping and put it on, I was worried it wouldn't set, but it did. They looked and tasted great.Macademia-Maple Sticky Bars
1/2 cup plus 6 T (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for dish
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted macadamia nuts (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup plus 3 T packed light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons maple sugar
2 T light corn syrup
3 T heavy cream

1. Butter an 8-inch square baking disch; line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Butter lining (not overhand); set aside. Whisk flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup nuts in a bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachmnet; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in flour mixture and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Press dough evenly onto bottom of prepared dish. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Bake until set in center and pale golden, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool slightly.

3. Put remaining 6 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup nuts into a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until butter is very foamy and nuts are fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, the ginger, maple sugar, corn syrup, and cream. Boil, stirring constantlly, 2 minutes. Spread over crust. Let cool completely. Run a knife around non-partchment sides; lift out of dish by overhang. Cut into sixteen 2-inch squares. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.Recipe from

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