Delores’ Mixed Nut Bars for a crowd
Made with mixed nuts and butterscotch chips over a brown sugar crust, Delores made these special whenever she brought them to work. They were gobbled up so fast! Therefore, they’re great for sharing at Thanksgiving as well as at Christmas time.
Delores was a special person I worked with at Eau Claire Energy Cooperative a number of years ago. I believe the first time I tasted her nut bars was in 2000, the first full year I had been at the co-op. Besides being a wonderful employee, she had a knack for baking delicious desserts for our employee potlucks, especially during the holidays. One year there were so many requests for people to share their delicious recipes, that I grabbed her “Mixed Nuts Bars” recipe right away. I just couldn’t wait to make them!
This big pan of bars serves a crowd. Cut them into large or small bars – you know what your people like. This recipe serves from 30-50 bars, depending on how you slice them, squares, diamonds, rectangles, triangles, etc.
Preheat your oven to 375F degrees. You will need to lower it to 325F degrees for the second part of the baking process.
Prepare the 17” x 12” baking pan:
- Back then Delores probably just buttered the pan. I’m not sure.
- Nowadays I line the pan with parchment paper in order to keep the cleanup to a minimum.
3 C Flour
1 C Margarine
1 ½ C Brown sugar
¼ t Salt
Nut layer Ingredients:
12 oz Butterscotch chips
½ C Light corn syrup
3 T Water
3 C Mixed nuts or peanuts, or a mixture of both
Make your crust:
- Mix the crust ingredients like a pie crust, using a pastry cutter, and pat into the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. - The crust may be crumbly before you pat it firmly into the pan, but once you have patted it down it will bake just right.
- Bake at 375F degrees for 10 minutes and remove from the oven.
- Reduce oven to 325F degrees for the second bake step.
Make the nut topping and bake again:
- In a saucepan on the stove on low to medium heat, melt the butterscotch chips, corn syrup and water.
- Add the nuts and stir thoroughly so all the nuts are coated.
- Spread the nut mixture over the baked crust.
- Return the entire pan of goodies to the oven and bake 8 more minutes at the lower temperature of 325F degrees.
- Remove from the oven.
- Place the pan of bars on a cooling rack and let set for 10-15 minutes.
- Cut into bars and serve when completely cooled.
- These bars add flavor and an interesting appearance to any dessert charcuterie board or platter on the dessert sidebar.
- I actually do not have any experience storing these nut bars since they always disappear at the event where I put them out.
- I usually make them the day before I share them at an event, keeping them in the pan I baked them in, covering them with foil after they’ve cooled.
- This recipe easily adapts to the use of a variety of nuts. Plain peanuts, mix almonds and pecans, mix walnuts with peanuts, macadamia nuts with pecans or those deluxe mixed nuts. You choose what you like. Look for contrasting shapes and colors to make these nut bars interesting and flavorful.
- If you just HAVE to have chocolate in these bars, don’t be afraid to top the still hot from the oven bars with mini or regular sized semi-sweet chocolate chips. Sprinkle a cup of chips all over the hot bars. Let them set for a few minutes while they heat up and melt. Spread them all over with an offset spatula or just leave the chips as they are. Be sure to cool the bars on the counter or in the frig until the chips solidify. Then slice into your favorite bar shapes.
- If you like dried fruit, dried cranberries and blueberries mix well with the nuts. Add about a cup of one dried fruit or a cup of a mixture of dried fruit, and delete about ½ cup of the nuts. You don’t want to add too much extra without cutting back on some of the nuts or there won’t have enough sticky stuff to keep the bars together after they've cooled.
- Drizzling is okay! For the holidays, try drizzling red or green candy melts over the top to add a festive flair. Before the drizzle dries, sprinkle the bars with holiday sprinkles or chocolate curls.
Every time I make these for Thanksgiving or Christmas I think about Delores, what a special person she was to work with and her fun sense of humor. She was such a talented person. Recipes are all about reminiscing about who gave you the recipe, the special event accompanying the dessert, the fun you had with the people surrounding the food, etc. Whoever you remember or honor when you make your favorite recipes, be sure to “Bake your own Memories!”