Honey Nut Bars

by Jamie on April 13, 2011

Post image for Honey Nut Bars

Every once in a while I come across a recipe that stops me in my tracks and forces me to put all of the other “must make” recipes aside. Earlier in the week I came across a Facebook post from Fine Cooking that mentioned Honey Nut Bars.

In my opinion, honey and nuts go together like peanut butter and jelly and cookies and milk, so this recipe pretty much superceded everything else on my agenda. It’s also the combination of one of my favorite cereals. I’m kind of a cereal addict, but that’s a subject for another post, another time – maybe.

I promptly picked up the required nuts on my weekly grocery shopping trip, and I was ready to roll. The recipe starts with a buttery crust flecked with ground almonds and sugar. Its shortbread-like texture is the perfect base for an ooey-gooey layer of toasted salty nuts.

Although the recipe calls for unsalted nuts, I used salted because I am a rebel like that. Stop rolling your eyes, I know I’m not that much of a rebel – but I AM a sucker for a sweet and salty combination.

These bars were insanely good and reminded me my favorite fruit and nut granola bars, obviously sans the fruit. But hey, that may just be a splendid idea the for the next time I give these babies a whirl, or the first time you do.

These Honey Nut Bars call for the nuts to be toasted, so be sure to check out my Fundamentals post on How To Toast Nuts if you’re a little unsure of the process.

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Honey Nut Bars

April 13th, 2011

Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 oz. (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the Topping:

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter
1/3 cup clover honey
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 Tbs. heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups whole salted mixed nuts, toasted

Directions:

Make the crust:

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Be sure to leave a a bit of foil extending on the shorter sides of the pan, the foil will act as “handles” when you remove the finished bars from the pan.

2. In a food processor, finely grind the almonds and sugar. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse until it's the size of small peas, 5 to 6 one-second pulses. Add the egg and pulse just until the dough begins to gather into large clumps.

3. Using your fingertips, press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and about 1 inch up the sides to form a 1/4-inch-thick side crust. Using the tines of a fork, dock the crust evenly all over.

4. Bake until light golden brown on the edges and the center looks dry, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool the crust on a rack.

Make the topping:

1. Bring the sugar, butter, honey, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often. Slowly and carefully add the cream and return to a boil. Remove from the heat and carefully add the vanilla and nuts, stirring to coat.

2. Pour the nut mixture over the crust and spread evenly with a spatula. Tilt the pan to help spread the liquid to the edges and corners. Bake until the topping has just started to bubble slowly in the center, about 20 minutes.

3. Use the foil “handles” to remove the bars from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

4. Place bars onto a cutting board and cut into 16 bars with a sharp knife. Take care to peel the foil away from the bars before serving.

Notes:

- Bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.
- Recipe slightly adapted from Fine Cooking

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Hinna April 13, 2011 at 6:37 am

Oh that looks divine! What are your thoughts on throwing in some dried fruit, such as cranberries?

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avatar shirley@kokken69 April 13, 2011 at 6:44 am

I can see why these would stop you in your tracks! They look irresistible. Just one concern though… would these be really hard to break? I have tooth-breaking phobia whenever I look at hard candy, biscotti… hahah..

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avatar Lori @ Girl Meets Oven April 13, 2011 at 6:53 am

Yum! These bars look tasty. I am totally with you on the sweet and salty thing.

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Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies April 13, 2011 at 7:16 am

Mmm! Honey and nut are one of my favorite combinations too. These bars look stellar. I’ve got the mixed nuts. Wonder if I could get away with skipping the almonds in the crust. YUM.

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avatar Caroline @ chocolate and carrots April 13, 2011 at 7:35 am

Wow. Those look so professional that they could be wrapped up and shipped to every grocery store in the country. Yum! I completely agree about honey & nuts: perfect combination! :-)

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avatar Aimee @ Simple Bites April 13, 2011 at 8:27 am

I’m with you on the salty/sweet combo and I’m loving these bars. I’m a recent convert to bars; there’s nothing that works better for feeding a crowd fast and it seems like I’ve always got a crown around here.

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avatar misty wettergren April 13, 2011 at 9:04 am

I also have a baking addiction…I should say had, ever since I gave birth I burn or ruin nearly everything…lol! I tried doing cooking VLOG’s and well they were more comedy then cooking…haha! These look super yummo ~ a great Christmas gift too!

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avatar Rachel @ Baked by Rachel April 13, 2011 at 9:35 am

My only problem with these – I’d totally have to buy a double batch of nuts to get them made. It’s like caramel or other items I buy for a recipe but dive into before I get around to making it. Love the idea! Thanks for sharing :)

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avatar kate@ahealthypassion April 13, 2011 at 9:35 am

Those look amazing im a sucker for a sweet+salty combo plus they are wrapped beautifully!

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avatar Jennifer @ Jane Deere April 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

These look perfect for my family! What a great snack to grab on the go! I love the photo layout!

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avatar Christina April 13, 2011 at 9:47 am

These look mouth watering. I am going to add dry cranberries and maybe some honey nut cheerios. Yummy.

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avatar Sweets by Vicky April 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

I’m absolutely with you on the love for sweet and salty. It’s such a great combination that can really perk things up! These bars look amazing and they can pretty much pass off as health food…no?

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avatar The Blue-Eyed Bakers April 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

Oooh these look like the perfect any time of day treat. Honey and nuts and a shortbread crust!? Yes please!

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avatar ntiveheart aka jayedee April 13, 2011 at 11:09 am

be still my heart! these look wonderful! i’m going to play at veganizing them with coconut cream, earthy balance and rice syrup, i think! i cannot even imagine how good they’ll taste!

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avatar I want to buy these honey nut bars April 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

Nice very photos. I wish we could buy these from you. Maybe it’s time you considered a reconversion and become a good entrepreneur? ;)

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avatar Vimitha April 13, 2011 at 11:43 am

Thats a lovely and healthy bar… I love anything nutty…

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avatar Kate@Diethood April 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I want this snack, now! I love that the nuts sit atop that buttery crust… I should make these before I start to dream about them.

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avatar Aleida April 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm

These sound really interesting. I’m not usually a fan of nuts on my treats but I’d definitely be interested in trying this recipe with honey roasted cashews.

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avatar Squash Blossom Babies April 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm

WOW! These look great!!

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avatar Lauren April 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Looks delicious, like it would be a perfect afternoon snack!

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avatar Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction April 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I love sweet and salty… These bars look amazing! Have to give them a try!

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avatar Katrina April 13, 2011 at 3:52 pm

These look beautiful and delicious! Yum!

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avatar Maris (In Good Taste) April 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm

What a delicious combination of honey and oats!

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avatar Jennifer @ I am woman, watch me cook April 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

LOVE this! Was in need of a new nutty snack and this will def. hit the spot!
Thanks for posting!

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avatar Happy When Not Hungry April 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I’m with you! Honey and nuts definitely go together. These bars look amazing!

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avatar Thomas@Honey Farm April 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Wow, those look so good! Sweet and salty is one of my weaknesses…mm mmm good!

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avatar Tracy April 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm

These sound fabulous!

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avatar Becca April 13, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Mmm I love me some honey and nut combinations! These look absolutely drool worthy and if I wasn’t so swamped with school stuff, I would drive to the store now and get all the ingredients!

By the way, cereal is indeed delicious! Especially Post Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Nut Clusters (speaking of honey and nut).

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avatar Eva April 13, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Those look SO delicious. The crust sounds wonderfully rich and buttery, I’ll have to make some of these, they’d be a great hiking snack with all the rich and flavorful nuts.

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avatar hailey April 13, 2011 at 9:58 pm

those look amazing! what is it about home-made granola-type bars that call for parchment and twine? I made some last week and dressed them in a similar way for my blog :) My pictures aren’t nearly as gorgeous as yours, but one day i will start to figure that part out! haha
these look absolutely delicious though. I can’t wait to try them when i finish off my current batch!

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avatar Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls April 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm

These looks crazy delicious! Can’t wait to give em a try!

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avatar Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen April 14, 2011 at 5:25 am

Good move on the salted nuts, salty-sweet is a killer combo. I love these.

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avatar Connie the cookie monster April 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm

oh my goodness, these just might have stopped me in MY tracks !

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avatar Tracy April 17, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I’m new to your blog and am already in love with it! I made these this afternoon and added sweetened, dried cranberries. Way yummy flavor combo. I love the shiny almost shellacked look the nuts take on.

But I do have a question. My crust had some difficulty staying together around the edges. I have a few theories. One is that my baking pan may have been a little smaller, resulting in a slightly thicker crust. Would this prevent the crust from properly “setting” and thereby crumbling? The second is that I may have taken the pieces of butter in the dough a little too far, smaller in size than they needed to be. Would this cause the issue I experienced?

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avatar Inna April 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

Wow. Seriously, Wow. These looks amazing!
Can not WAIT to try these!

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avatar Patricia Scarpin April 20, 2011 at 9:14 am

The bars look mouthwatering! Beautiful and delicious. And I would have used salted nuts as well. ;)

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avatar Amanda P April 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm

These are amazing and everyone wanted the recipe! Thank you!

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avatar sheila @ Elements April 25, 2011 at 11:04 am

Wow…they look amazing!!! I love the sweet and salty combo too so I like your idea to use salted nuts. I would love one for breakfast!!! :)

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avatar Rebecca May 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Ahh! These are superb!

I had to make it with rice flour (I’m gluten intolerant). I ended up adding an extra egg to the dough because I could tell it would come out crumbly. That being aaid, the bars came out more cakey, but no complaints there. This is fantastic!

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avatar Evan Thomas September 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm

These look delicious! Definitely bookmarking to make on a free weekend.

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avatar Tara September 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

These look so good. I am going to add them to my Mouth Watering Mondays post tomorrow. Come on over to see it at http://www.noshingwiththenolands.com Cheers, Tara

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avatar Jamie September 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thanks so much, Tara! Have a great week.
-Jamie

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avatar Tara September 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I can’t wait to try these. They remind of a the square I would get at a coffee shop that is near our home.

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