Sesame Cashew Bars 36.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2016 Dec 1, 2016

These have an addictive, salty-sweet chew.

You'll need a thermometer for checking the caramel.

Make Ahead: The unbaked crust needs to be chilled for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight. The slab of baked bars needs to be chilled overnight in the refrigerator to set up completely. The bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


Servings:
36 bars

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 36 bars

Ingredients
  • For the crust
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks or 7 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the filling
  • 3 1/2 cups salted cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the crust: Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper extends over the two short sides. Grease the paper with cooking oil spray.

Combine the flour, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse for 20 to 30 seconds, until pieces the size of small pebbles form. Pour the mixture into the pan and press it down to form an even layer. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake (middle rack; straight from the refrigerator is okay) the crust until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool.

For the filling: Toss together the cashews, sesame seeds and salt in a mixing bowl.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the granulated and brown sugars and honey; increase the heat to medium and whisk constantly until the sugars dissolve and begin to turn into caramel, forming large bubbles and thickening. The caramel needs to register 240 degrees on an instant-read or candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat, then carefully whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Use a flexible spatula to stir in the cashew mixture until evenly coated.

Pour this filling on top of the baked crust in an even layer. Return the pan to the oven; bake until the caramel bubbles along the sides of the pan only and the center is still liquid, 26 to 28 minutes. Do not overbake. The filling will set up some as it cools.

After the pan cools completely, cover it and refrigerate overnight.

Lift the parchment out of the pan to remove the slab of bars. Cut into 36 squares.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from " Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes From Sofra Bakery and Cafe," by Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick (Ten Speed Press, 2016).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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