Maple Nut Bars

For an on-the-go breakfast, an after-dinner treat, or anything in between, these Maple Nut Bars provide sweet satisfaction!

Ingredients

Dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3 tablespoons Crown Maple Light Amber syrup
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Maple Layer:
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose white flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups Crown Maple Light Amber syrup
1/3 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) chopped pecans or walnuts, for topping

Preparation

For the Dough:

Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or coat with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour and salt. Using forks, a pastry blender, or your fingertips, cut in the butter until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Sprinkle the Crown Maple Syrup over the flour mixture and knead until the mixture holds together. (Alternatively, in a food processor, process the dry ingredients and butter in on/off pulses until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Turn out the mixture onto a large sheet of wax paper. Sprinkle the Crown Maple Syrup over the flour mixture and knead until the mixture holds together.) Firmly press the dough into the baking pan. Lay a sheet of wax paper over the dough, then press it out to the edges until flat and smooth on top. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Peel off and discard the wax paper.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake in the middle of the oven for 13 to 16 minutes, or until almost firm when pressed in the center and lightly browned at the edges. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and set aside.

For the Maple Layer:

Meanwhile, in a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the Crown Maple Syrup and cream. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil briskly, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter until melted. Let stand until cooled slightly.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, and salt. Using a fork, beat in the eggs and egg yolk and vanilla until well blended and smooth. When the maple mixture has cooled to barely hot, in a thin stream beat it into the egg mixture until evenly incorporated; be sure the maple mixture is not too hot, and add it slowly to avoid curdling the eggs. Pour the maple mixture evenly over the baked dough. Sprinkle the pecans or walnuts evenly over the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nicely browned and barely firm when pressed in the center. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand until completely cooled.

Using a large, sharp knife, cute the slab into 18 bars; wipe the knife clean between cuts. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 2 months. If freezing, leave the slab whole, then cut into bars when partially thawed.

Get more great recipes at www.CrownMaple.com