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Maple walnut slice made some new friends – with apple and almond

January 31, 2011

Things moved pretty quickly, and this mapplenut slice (or “bars” as Americans would call them) was born:

Like the genius-child of two already-brilliant parents, this slice encompasses everything you could possibly want in a dessert. Texturally, the bottom is crunchy, the middle nice and chewy, and the top sticky and crispy. The lightly salted shortbread base is a match made in heaven with the caramelly, mapley topping, which is prevented from being too rich with a little refreshing tang from the apples (it really is more of a background flavour though). The nuttiness adds to the decadence without making things sickeningly rich. It’s such a wonderful balance and combination of everything I’ve ever wanted in a baked dessert, yet the inclusion of the nuts and apple make me feel like I could eat the whole thing and only feel slightly guilty (Mum urged me to stop short at 1 1/2 pieces, sigh).

You know what the best thing about this slice is? It is stupidly easy to make. I know I say this quite a lot, but this really is. The most tedious part was slicing the apples, and that’s because I was using apples from our tree which had a bajillion holes in them courtesy of the neighbourhood moths. I realise that cutting perfect, equally sized slices was a bit pointless now, so you can even be messy about it if you want, as long as the apple slices are all the same-ish thickness. If you’re forgoing the apple, just remember to prick the shortbread before it goes into the oven.

You can also make this into a pie/tart (an 8″ one perhaps) by smooshing the shortbread up the sides a little. It would look rather dashing in one of those fancy rectangle fluted tins that I wish I had room for in my overflowing cupboard of bakeware. What I need is a neighbour who bakes and wants to go halves on all manner of ridiculously pretty baking tins (oh how my eye lingers on bundt tins and little tartlet pans and mini quiche dishes that could double up as homes for creme brulee). Plus a cottage, a couple of chicken and a cat. I’m really not asking for much really…!

Mapplenut slice (adapted from allrecipes)

makes an 8×8″ pan or thicker (which I liked) 8.5″x6.5″ pan

shortbread:

  • 113g softened salted butter
  • 1/3c packed light brown sugar (I used caster sugar + 1/4 tsp molasses)
  • 1c plain flour

topping:

  • 1-2 apples, cored and sliced just under 1cm thick (1/4″) – no need to peel
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3c packed light brown sugar (I used caster sugar + 1/4 tsp molasses)
  • 3 T maple syrup (I used grade B genuine stuff, but there’s enough going on that you could probably get away with the fake stuff, if you’re on a super tight budget)
  • heaping 1/3c walnut pieces*
  • heaping 1/4c sliced or slivered almonds

*DO NOT use supermarket walnuts, as I find they are almost always rancid well before the expiry date. I got mine at Piko wholefoods. The best thing is if you crack them straight out of their shells. Anyway, you have been warned – rancid nuts will be an awful waste of your time and effort and ingredients here (or anywhere for that matter).

Preheat oven to 175C (350F) with a rack centred. Grease your baking pan of choice. Smoosh the butter and sugar (and molasses, if using) together with a fork until no butter lumps can be seen (resist with all your might the urge to eat it now). Mix in the flour until everything is just incorporated – it should be thick paste-like in consistency. Spread with a metal spoon into your greased baking pan. Top with a single layer of apple slices, overlapping the slices slightly. Bake until the sides are golden brown and the tops of the apple slices start getting golden brown blisters (20 minutes in a metal pan, about 35 in the thicker instance).

Meanwhile, beat up the egg, beat in the sugar and maple syrup. Stir the nuts through to coat in syrup.

Once the base is cooked, pour the syrupy nuts over the hot base and spread out. Return to oven for 12-15 minutes, until the top is golden brown. When the pan is tilted, things should mostly stay put for the first two seconds.

Once out of the oven, run a knife around the outside of the slice. Cool completely, and refrigerate if you want clean slices. The only way you’ll get it out whole is if you slice a thin bar off the end (sneak it down your gullet now) and then use that gap to slide a spatula under it.

Serve on its own or with coffee, cold almond milk or apple juice.

PS. If you want something to put you off eating the whole lot, or even just the butter/brown sugar combo, check out what has become of my foot:

Apparently some insect or arachnid decided my foot a worthy opponent and attacked while I innocently picked up fallen apples yesterday (I say apparently because I didn’t notice at the time). I think it’s pretty harmless (my skin tends to be a bit of a drama queen)…but if I mysteriously stop posting, I would like to request publicly that I be buried with several pans of the above slice, preferably in a fancy rectangle fluted baking tin.

EDIT: It swelled up so much last night I called healthline and they told me that I MUST visit a doctor within 4 hours. This was at, oh, 11.58pm. What time did I made it home? Oh, some time around 3am. How much did I have to pay because Student Health wasn’t open and I had to go to the 24 hour? Oh, only $94. Now doped up on antibiotics, which I hate with a passion. I mean yes, it could be worse, but it could also be better.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2011 1:45 pm

    Holy crap! Take care of that foot. I’m sure an extra helping of slice will do wonders for your recovery. :-)

  2. February 1, 2011 4:09 pm

    It is Cindy, it is :)

  3. February 1, 2011 6:05 pm

    Yikes, why didn’t you go to A&E?

  4. February 2, 2011 11:53 am

    Well, we rang and asked what the waiting time was, and apparently it was 2-3 hours, whereas the clinic said there was “hardly any” waiting time…I waited 2 hours! …Thinking I might ask them to bet their right foot on it next time!

  5. peasepudding permalink
    February 2, 2011 8:42 pm

    Poor you, I hope the slice made you feel better?

    • February 3, 2011 10:58 am

      Yes, as did those marmalade brownies you posted about! Will have a post up about them tomorrow. My family loved them for our Chinese New Years Eve dinner!

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