Sunday, March 16, 2014

Salted Nutella Butter Bars

Salted Nutella Butter Bars - made March 2, 2014 from Cookies and Cups
This was the third dessert I made for care packages, along with the Texas Sheet Cake and the Gooey Cookies and Cream Cake Bars. Since the first two were primarily chocolate, I wanted something with a different flavor profile so butter bars seemed the way to go.
You'll notice very quickly that there's a pound of butter in these bars. Yes, a pound. For something that only makes a 9 x 13 pan, that's a lot of butter. For context, most similarly-sized desserts might contain half that amount. So these aren't called butter bars for nothing.
With all this butter, as you can expect, this was like eating a very rich shortbread with some nutella. I like nutella but I don't know if I like it with the butter shortbread. I also should've baked this a little longer and let the top become more golden brown. When baked enough, the texture of the top layer is almost crisp like good shortbread should be. Because I didn't bake it long enough, they tended to be soft and you can taste the butter all the more. That's not necessarily a bad thing but I would have preferred more of a texture contrast between the snap of butter shortbread and the creaminess of the nutella. Oh and I would recommend sprinkling the sea salt (I used fleur de sel) on top even though the recipe says it's optional. The salt breaks up the richness of the butter a bit and provides a nice flavor contrast.
1 pound butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Nutella, warmed slightly to be of easy spreading consistency
1-2 teaspoons fleur de sel, optional but highly recommend
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In bowl of mixer, combine butter and sugars. With mixer on medium speed, beat together until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the flour into the butter mixture until dough comes together.
  4. Press about one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Wrap remaining dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.
  5. Bake crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown, approximately 12-14 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes.
  6. Spread softened Nutella evenly over crust, about 1/4" away from the edges.
  7. Remove remaining dough from the refrigerator and crumble remaining dough on top. Bake another 20-25 minutes until top is set and lightly golden.
  8. Sprinkle immediately with fleur de sel, if desired.
  9. Cool and cut into squares.

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