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Macadamia-Maple Sticky Bars

Layers of texture; crumbly shortbread and a chewy toffee-like topping; balance these indulgent bar cookies. Ginger adds unexpected spice.

  • yield: Makes 16

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons (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 tablespoons 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 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Cook's Note

Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Directions

  1. Step 1

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

  2. Step 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 attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in flour mixture and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Press dough evenly into 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. Step 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 constantly, 2 minutes. Spread over crust. Let cool completely. Run a knife around non-parchment sides; lift out of dish by overhang. Cut into sixteen 2-inch squares.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, October 2006

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Reviews (25)

  • cwbusch 12 Mar, 2009

    The 1/4 cup of nuts goes into the shortbread crust,if you read the recipe carefully. I think I would try adding the maple extract to white sugar to substitute for the maple sugar.

  • twoangel 9 Mar, 2009

    Roxxann..if you can get Karo syrup and replace the maple for that and add about 1 tsp of maple extract that would be fine . If someting calls for honey, when I am baking ,and I am out of it, I use karo syrup so that might be an option for you too . Unless you have a huge amount of honey you need to use in a recipe, the taste won't be altered that much at all . Good luck!!!

  • twoangel 9 Mar, 2009

    Roxxann..if you can get Karo syrup and replace the maple for that and add about 1 tsp of maple extract that would be fine . If someting calls for honey, when I am baking ,and I am out of it, I use karo syrup so that might be an option for you too . Unless you have a huge amount of honey you need to use in a recipe, the taste won't be altered that much at all . Good luck!!!

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • roxxann 9 Mar, 2009

    I can't get maple sugar here in Greece ... does anyone know what I can use as a substitution?

  • tourtes 9 Mar, 2009

    Substitute for maple sugar found this online:

    Maple Sugar, finely grated 1/2 cup (100 grams) 1 cup (240 ml) maple syrup (reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup) n n n n n n n n OR
    3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar plus 1 teaspoon pure maple extract

  • Wiggy1770 9 Mar, 2009

    Maple sugar is not hard to find where I live. There are at least 2 brands on the shelf at my local Whole Foods here in Palo Alto. But it is quite pricey! Personally, I would skip the maple sugar and use maple extract or even artificial maple flavoring (which is cheaper and to most people tastes more like maple than real maple).

  • tourtes 9 Mar, 2009

    Thanks Angelspacc....didnt notice that at all bcse not noted in shortbread base part LOL! Sometimes their recipes are not very clear!

  • Angelspacc 9 Mar, 2009

    Step one is where the other 1/4 cup of nuts are. If you look at the picture, the nuts are in both layers. Hope this helps.

  • tourtes 9 Mar, 2009

    Thanks Euni....but $20 for sugar....I will just add more maple syrup to the recipe and see what happens! The price of maple syrup in Canada has gone up like crazy....a case of maple syrup (8 cans) cost me $40 a year ago.....now it is $70 or more!

  • Angelspacc 9 Mar, 2009

    I have had the maple sugar candies from Vermont. They look like a brown sugar type consistency and look like they were formed in a mold resembling a small chocolate mold. I would imagine you can possible make your own by using white sugar and adding small amounts of maple syrup until you reach a brown sugar like consistency. I wouldn't use just straight maple syrup, because they already call for 2 tsp. of the syrup, it's really sweet.

  • euni 9 Mar, 2009

    wwwthevermontstore.com carries maple sugar @ $19.95 a bag.

  • tourtes 9 Mar, 2009

    They should break down the recipe to make it more reader friendly! The recipe calls for 3/4 cup macadamia nuts and they note to add 1/2 cup...where does the rest of the 1/4 cup nuts go? and maple sugar???? I have never seen this in stores in Canada...maybe we can make our own by adding maple syrup to the sugar?

  • Tina428 9 Mar, 2009

    Maple sugar is something completely different from maple syrup or granulated sugar. It is sweeter than regular sugar. I'm not sure where you can buy it in California.

  • ladyonzlake 9 Mar, 2009

    I think they meant "maple syrup". These look delicious. I'll have to give them a try.

  • toto2 2 Nov, 2008

    I have never heard of maple sugar. Where could I buy this in northern California or can I use regular sugar and add maple flavoring??

  • adozeneggs 6 Feb, 2008

    I made these last week and they were delicious. They came out perfectly, I wouldn't change the recipe/technique at all. Sweet, buttery, caramelly, very good!!