It is the second Thursday in March, and time for another Dessert Challenge hosted by Sheryl at Lady Behind the Curtain. The ingredients that Sheryl chose for this month are honey and walnuts. Our assignment is to create or find a recipe to post that uses those ingredients.
When searching for a new recipe idea, I usually turn to my trusty recipe file on my computer. I have 15 years of recipes there, so it is quite extensive. Fortunately, I remembered that my daughter has an old laptop of mine with my recipe file on it, so I only lost a couple of years of recipes when I had my computer crash. Now I have Windows 8 and have the file stored securely (?) in the cloud.
In the bar cookie file I ran across a recipe called Honey Pecan Triangles, and I thought, “Yipee!” that is a place to start. I could easily change the pecans to walnuts, no problem. Soon other changes began to occur, however. The original had a brown sugar, shortbread type crust, and I wanted something easier. So why not just use graham crackers as some of those recipes floating around on the net do? OK, that was decided.
Next challenge. The original recipe called for 4 cups of chopped pecans. Well, in my neck of the woods, that equates to one pound. I don’t know about where others live, but here, a pound of nuts, whether walnuts or pecans, is upwards of $8. That is a little rich for my budget just for a pan of cookies, no matter how delicious they might be. As I was giving this some thought and looking around my kitchen, I spied part of a bag of pretzel sticks. I remembered that, a couple of years ago, I did a recipe using broken pretzels instead of nuts. That was an idea I got from Southern Plate. I can buy a bag of pretzel sticks at Dollar Tree for $1.00. So how about replacing some of the nuts with broken pretzels and how about throwing in some coconut for good measure? Seemed like a good idea.
The topping ingredients included whipping cream. Well, guess who forgot to get whipping cream when she went to the grocery store. I live 20 miles from town so it is no easy fete to just pop over to pick something up I forgot. I always have evaporated milk on hand so decided that it would just have to stand in for the whipping cream. When I added the milk to the hot brown sugar/honey/butter mixture. the mixture thinned down quite a bit. I remedied that by putting the mixture back on the burner and cooking it another 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture thickened back up so that fixed the problem.
With all that and no further asides, I present to you Honey Nut Pretzel Graham Bars.
24 double graham crackers
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 c. broken stick pretzel pieces (about 1/4-inch pieces)
1 c. sweetened, flaked coconut.
1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla
Line a 10x15-inch baking pan with foil and spray foil with non-stick spray. Place two double graham crackers across the width of the pan. Repeat until all graham crackers are placed in the pan. There may be a little room at the end of the pan not covered with graham crackers. Fold the foil back next to the last row of graham crackers to form a wall. Combine nuts, pretzel pieces and coconut in a medium bowl and set aside. Place brown sugar, butter and honey in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, watching carefully and stirring often. Boil and stir for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add evaporated milk and stir well. Return pan to heat and continue to boil and stir another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Mix well. Pour over nut mixture and stir well. Quickly turn onto center of graham crackers and spread out in an even layer. Place pan in oven and bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool to lukewarm. Using a cookie sheet, flip crackers over and remove foil. Cut bars apart between crackers and at the indentations in each double graham cracker. Turn right side up and let cool completely. Makes 48
If all this sounds like fun, you can find the schedule and all the information about it here Check out the links below to see what other bloggers have made with honey and walnuts.