Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

Those of you who regularly read this blog, will probably know that I am a self confessed Cookie Monster. However, it is not just cookies I enjoy. For me, biscuits, cookies and shortbread all have an equal place in my heart. Well that was until I made these Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars. Crunchy, flaked almond topped bars, studded with a deep, deep, slightly bitter chocolate flavour from the cacao nibs. Everything needed to satisfy a cookie craving.

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

Since receiving a tub of Cacao Nibs from Food Thoughts, I was interested to see how their flavour would transfer in the shortbread. Each nib is packed with an intense flavour. Similar to very good quality, high cocoa content chocolate. In fact, Cacao nibs are chocolate in its purest form before anything has been added to it. Each nib is a fermented, then roasted part of a cocoa bean. Resulting in the purest chocolate flavour.

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

While I am not a fan of very dark chocolate, these tiny nibs give just the right amount of flavour in this bake. Complimented by the almonds, each nib bursts with intense flavour on the tongue, without being cloying or overwhelming. In short, these shortbread bars are incredibly delicious and a satisfying treat.

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Freshly baked Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

As each shortbread bar is a substantial size, smaller squares may be created by cutting each bar in half. Small shortbread squares would be perfect for serving with Afternoon Tea. While the individual bars fit happily into packed lunch boxes. Whichever way you cut and serve this shortbread, be sure to share it. Introducing new flavours into a bake is most definitely an experience not to be kept to yourself.

Recipe: Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

200g/7oz Unsalted Batter at room temperature

100g/4oz Caster Sugar – plus 1tbs extra for topping

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

100g/4oz Ground Almonds

50g/2oz Semolina

150g/5oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cacao Nibs РI use Food Thoughts available at Sainsburys, Waitrose and Ocado

25g/1oz Flaked Almonds

Method: Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3.5

Butter and line a 28 x 20 x 5cm (12″ x 8″ x 2″) Swiss roll tin with baking parchment.

  • Into a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt.
  • Whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate.
  • Sift in the plain flour and then add the ground almonds, semolina and cacao nibs.
  • Mix together until just combined.
FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Preparing the shortbread.
  • Spoon the shortbread mixture into a prepared tin. Press out, using the back of a metal spoon, so that the mixture evenly fills the tin.
  • Dock the shortbread all over with a fork.
  • Sprinkle over the additional tablespoon of sugar and evenly scatter over the flaked almonds.
FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars ready for the oven.
  • Place the shortbread into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. If you find that the almonds are browning too quickly, either reduce the heat and bake for a little longer, or cover the top of the shortbread with aluminium foil.
  • When golden all over and semi-firm to the touch the shortbread is baked.
  • Once baked remove the shortbread from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin.
FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Golden baked shortbread.
  • After the cooling period slice the shortbread into 12 bars. Cut across the middle, then down the width, forming 4 squares. Follow by dividing each square into 3. To create 24 squares, simply cut across the middle at 4 even (8cm) spaces.
  • Leave the shortbread to fully cool in the tin.
  • Once cooled, use a palette knife to help lift out the shortbread. Because the shortbread has already been cut it is more flexible and therefore unlikely to crack, when removing from the tin.
FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Sliced, cooled Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

Serve with a hot drink. Unsurprisingly these bars go well with coffee, tea and of course, hot chocolate.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week. Since these bars improve in flavour after a day, dare I suggest you hide the tin? It’s only for a day ūüėČ.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars you may also like these:

Cherry Bakewell Cookies

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars

Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares

While biscuits and shortbreads are readily available in the shops, there are advantages to making your own at home. Firstly and most importantly, the flavour is far superior to their mass produced equivalents. Furthermore flavour combinations that cannot be bought, are easily made at home. Finally, unless you live close to an artisan bakery, where each product is made with love and care, baking at home is a pleasure. Since you know exactly what ingredients have gone into your bake, including the love with which they are made.

Sammie xx

Food Thoughts sent me the cacao nibs to try. All opinions, content and photography are my own. No part of this post may be reproduced or copied without the specific, written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy .

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Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies

If you are a fan of nuts and brownies I can guarantee you will be mad for these Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies. Packed with an almost obscene amount of chocolate, gives the dense fudge texture and taste required in all great brownies. Add in a ridiculous amount of chopped and whole hazelnuts and the resulting flavour is Ferrero Rocher in a brownie. Gooey, crunchy, with the incredible combination of chocolate and hazelnut flavours.

FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies.

Since eating a brownie is an indulgence, it makes sense to eat only the best. Made using 400 grams of good quality chocolate, dark, treacly sugar and aromatic vanilla extract, the basic brownie is already exceptional. In addition, adding roasted, chopped hazelnuts to the brownie batter, lends another layer of flavour. Finally, whole hazelnuts, roasted during the baking process, completes the exceptional flavour profile.

FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies fudgy with a crunch.

Brownies are such fun to make. Wearing an apron, or if you are like me with chocolate in the kitchen, overalls, is advisable. Also a sink full of soapy water is handy. Furthermore, mentally preparing for a ‘bit’ of kitchen mess relaxes the mind for the chocolate bomb to come! Since it is impossible for me to make brownies without creating a mess, I assume the same of everyone. Finally, know that the clean up process takes less time than baking the brownies. ūüėČ

FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
A plate of Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies.

There is nothing wrong with staring at the picture above. I do!

Recipe: Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies makes 15

200g/7oz Dark Chocolate minimum 70% Cocoa Solids

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate minimum 35% Cocoa Solids

2tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

4 Large Free Range Eggs

1/4tsp Sea Salt – 1/8tsp Free flowing salt – I use Maldon

225g/8oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

75g/3oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

100g/4oz Ready Roasted Chopped Hazelnuts

100g/4oz Whole Blanched Hazelnuts

Method: Preheat the oven 170C/150 fan, gas mark 3.5

You will need a 22.5cm x 30cm (9″ x 12″) deep tin, lined with foil or baking parchment.

  • Break or chop the chocolate into chunks and place in a medium, heatproof, microwaveable bowl.
  • Add the butter to the chocolate.
  • Heat, using a microwave, on medium power, for 30 second bursts. Stir between each heating period.
  • As soon as the chocolate starts to melt remove the bowl from the microwave. Continue to stir until all of the chocolate is melted and combined with the melted butter. Set to one side to cool.
  • Next, into a separate bowl, add the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Once the chocolate mixture is approximately body temperature pour the egg mixture in and stir constantly until the mixture is combined.
  • Sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda on to the combined mix. Now add the chopped, roasted hazelnuts.
  • Stir the flour and nuts into the chocolate mix.
FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Nutty brownie batter ready for the baking tin.
  • Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin.
FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies ready for the oven.
  • Unlike baking a cake, where air bubbles are needed to help the cake rise, brownies are rich and dense with very little rise. To encourage an even bake, rap the filled baking tin sharply on the worktop. Doing so encourages any air bubbles present to rise to the surface of the batter.
  • Place the baking tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 10 minutes exactly.
  • Remove the baking tin after the initial baking time has elapsed. The surface of the brownies will have just started to set.
  • Sprinkle over the additional whole hazelnuts, use the back of a spoon to gently press into the surface of the brownie. Take care as the brownie tin will be very hot.
FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Whole hazelnuts give crunch to the finished bake.
  • Return the tin to the oven and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • The brownies are baked when set, with only a hint of a wobble in the centre.
  • As soon as the brownies are baked remove from the oven and place the tin on a cooling rack.
FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies cool in the tin.
  • Leave the brownies to cool in the tin. Or if you simply cannot wait, cool slightly, scoop portions of brownie into bowls and top with vanilla ice cream!

Cut the cooled brownie slab into 3 even sized widths, then cut across at 5 evenly spaced lengths. A palette knife may also be used to slide between the base of the brownie and foil. Although the foil/baking parchment should easily peel away.

FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies very tasty.

Serve slightly warmed (20 seconds in the microwave) with a scoop of ice cream. Alternatively, serve with a cold tumbler of milk.

Once cooled keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Although, who’s kidding that they will last that long? Not in this house!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies then you may like these:

Chocolate Biscuit Base Mini Egg Brownies

FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Chocolate Biscuit Base Mini Egg Brownies

Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies

FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Chocolate Madness Muffins

FF Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies
Chocolate Madness Muffins.

Baking cakes, brownies, muffins and cookies at home really is fun. Once a particular recipe is mastered it can be adapted to personal taste. Since you are the baker, you get to decide if hazelnuts or alternatively peanuts are used in your bake. As a result you get to create your own, personalised feast.

Have fun creating new feasts in your kitchen.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be replicated or copied without the written consent of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars

It is no secret that I love lemon. Whether it be in a glass of Franklin’s tonic water with clinking ice, as part of a savoury¬†Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken , or in a sweet bake such as my Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake. For me lemon shouts sunshine, so on this warm sunshine filled day I decided to bake these Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars.

FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars the ultimate sweetly tangy treat for lemon lovers.

A sturdy, yet delicious oat biscuit base covered in lemon curd and then topped with the lightest lemon sponge. Finished with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice icing, these Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars wake your tastebuds up with a zing, taste amazing and keep you full for longer thanks to the oats.

FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars the hidden lemon curd layer is so delicious.

Perfect for picnics, packed lunches, or just as a mid morning or afternoon snack to keep you going until meal time.

I really do need to get around to making my own lemon curd. For this recipe I used Waitrose own luxury lemon curd. I really do think a good quality lemon curd makes all the difference. Homemade is always best so I will definitely put it on the agenda for the next week Рespecially as I want to make lemon ice cream!

FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars a refreshing way to beat those hunger pangs.

Recipe: Makes 16  Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars

For the Oat Biscuit Base:

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter

125g/4.5oz Caster Sugar

1/8tsp Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk

100g/4oz Rolled Oats – not quick cook

125g/4.5oz Plain White Flour

3tbs Lemon Curd – use the best quality one that you can afford

For the Lemon Sponge Layer:

125g/4.5oz Unsalted Butter

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

1/8tsp Salt

1/2tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Large Free Range Eggs

125g/4.5oz Plain White Flour

1tsp Baking Powder

Finely grated zest of 1 Lemon – reserve the juice for the icing

For the Lemon Drizzle Icing:

100g/4oz Icing Sugar

Juice of 1 Lemon

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6

Making the Oat Biscuit Base:

  • Line a 28cm x 20cm x 5cm (12″x 8″x 2″) Swiss roll tin with baking parchment. I have found that I am able to line mine without greasing, however, lightly grease the tin if it is easier to keep the parchment in place.
  • In a large bowl beat/whisk together the butter, cream and salt until pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and egg yolk and continue to beat/whisk until combined.
  • Add the oats and flour and stir together until combined.
  • Place the biscuit mixture into the lined tin and press into place using clean fingers.
  • Place the tin in the fridge and chill the biscuit mixture for 30 minutes.
  • Once chilled place the Swiss roll tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove after the 20 minutes has elapsed and turn down the oven temperature to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3.
  • Spoon the lemon curd on to the hot biscuit base and spread so that it covers and almost reaches the edges.
FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
This tangy lemon curd layer makes all the difference to the finished bake.

Making the Sponge Layer:

Note: This can easily be made whilst the oat biscuit base is baking.

  • In a large bowl whisk/beat the butter, sugar and salt together until they are pale and creamy.
  • Add the 2 whole eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk/beat until light and foamy.
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder. Add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon.
  • Fold all the ingredients together, using a spoon, until they are just combined.
  • Spoon the mixture over the lemon curd coated biscuit base.
FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Spoon the cake batter evenly over the base.
  • Spread the cake batter using the back of a spoon, or an offset spatula, until it covers almost all of the biscuit base.
FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
The lemon cake batter will spread to completely cover the biscuit base whilst baking.
  • Place the Swiss roll tin in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • The sponge is baked when it springs back from a light touch and is a light golden colour. Don’t worry if it is paler than you expect, the lower baking temperature stops it browning as much as you may be used to.
  • Once baked remove the tin from the oven, place on a cooling rack and allow the entire bake to cool in the tin.
FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
The entire slab of sponge topped biscuit cooling in it’s tin.
  • When the bake is completely cooled, lift out of the tin, using the baking parchment and a palette knife and place on to a board.
  • Peel back the sides of the baking parchment and tuck them underneath.

Making the Lemon a Drizzle Icing:

  • Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl.
  • Add the juice of one lemon.
  • Mix until you have a smooth, slightly runny paste.
  • Using a spoon, drizzle the lemon icing over the top of the cake/biscuit slab. I prefer a line style drizzle, but you can drizzle your icing however you wish. Let your creative juices flow! I would advise against pools of icing gathering on top of the bake though.
  • Set your Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars bake to one side to allow the icing to set.
FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars the tart lemon icing gives these a professional finishing touch.
  • Once set you may cut your slab into individual bars.
  • Cut down the length of the bake in the middle.
  • Next cut across the width of the bake, creating four quarters.
  • Cut each quarter into four individual bars.
FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars gloriously tempting in the sunshine.

With the sturdy and delicious oat biscuit base, these Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars are the perfect, portable food.

Place in an airtight tin (I use old biscuit tins, usually from Christmas), separating layers with pieces of baking parchment.

I had one of the Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars with a cup of tea for a rather late lunch and it was incredibly tasty and refreshing. Using good quality Lemon Curd ensures the right balance of tartness within the bar, as does using fresh lemon juice in the drizzle icing. I highly recommend these delightfully tangy Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars!

FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars perfect for Afternoon Tea.

Traybakes come in many different forms, however, these oat biscuit based Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars are certainly one of my favourites.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars, here are a few more you may like too:

Bakewell Shortbread Bars

FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Bakewell Shortbread Bars

Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks

FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks

Double Cherry Drizzle Oat Bars

FF Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars
Double Cherry Drizzle Oat Bars

My family love having something homemade to take to school or work in their packed lunches. I hope I have inspired you to try these delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars?

Why not bake a batch and take them into the office as a Friday, or mid-week treat for everyone?

Here on Feasting is Fun, we firmly believe that food always tastes better when it is shared.

Sammie xx

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Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars

Hi and thank you for dropping by. I have a delightful treat for you today, my – Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars.

Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars - totally delicious!
Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars – totally delicious!

 

The other day I spotted a jar of Lemon Curd (unopened) in the cupboard. My brain started whirring with all the possibilities of how I could incorporate the Lemon Curd into my next bake. I didn’t fancy making pastry, let’s be honest, sometimes it seems like too much effort – even though it is really easy – anyhow, wasn’t feeling the pastry thing. Then I thought about a cake, but that wasn’t doing it for me either, I must’ve been having a funny day? Then I thought shortbread. But not as a biscuit, as a base. Yippee, I was finally getting somewhere. Everything good so far, shortbread base, slathered with lemon curd and then oats. Wasn’t quite sure how I was going to use them in the topping, just knew I needed oats – and that’s how these Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars were born!

Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars - these did not last long in our house!
Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars – these did not last long in our house!

 

With the oat topping I decided to keep back a quarter of the shortbread dough and then crumble with the oats and pray that it would work – am not joking. It did! Although in all honesty, the bars were quite crumbly when I cut them up. Next time I would leave the whole tray bake intact, for at least a few hours, or even better overnight. The Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars had firmed up beautifully by the next day.

Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars - shortbread covered in lemon curd, then topped with oat crumble.
Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars – shortbread covered in lemon curd, then topped with oat crumble.

 

Recipe : Makes 12 bars

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Large Egg Yolk – room temp

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

310g/11oz Jar Lemon Curd

175g/6oz Rolled Oats – not quick cook

Method : Preheat oven to 185C/170C fan

Butter and line with parchment paper a 30cm x 20cm (12″ x 8″) at least 4cm (1.5″) deep tin.

Into a large bowl whisk the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract, whisk until fully incorporated.

Next add the flour and stir with a spoon until just combined.

This is how your shortbread dough should look.
This is how your shortbread dough should look.

 

Reserve a quarter of the shortbread dough (for the topping).

Using the remaining shortbread dough, press lightly into the pan, so it forms an even layer.
Using the remaining shortbread dough, press lightly into the tin, so it forms an even layer.

 

Pop the tin into the oven for 10 minutes. This will form a light crust on, but not fully cook, the shortbread. After 10 minutes remove from the oven.

Immediately start spooning the Lemon Curd over the shortbread base
Immediately start spooning the Lemon Curd over the shortbread base.
Cover the entire shortbread base, just inside the edge.
Cover the entire shortbread base, just inside the edge.

 

Set to one side whilst you make the oat topping.

Add the oats to the remaining shortbread dough.
Add the oats to the remaining shortbread dough.
Using your fingers rub the buttery shortbread dough through the oats until you have an even crumble mix.
Using your fingers rub the buttery shortbread dough through the oats until you have an even crumble mix.
Starting at one corner sprinkle the oat crumble topping...
Starting at one corner sprinkle the oat crumble topping…
...until the entire top is covered. Very gently press down on the topping to slightly compact it.
…until the entire top is covered. Very gently press down on the topping to slightly compact it.

 

Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the oat topping is golden in colour, then remove from oven.

Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars - allow to cool completely in the pan.
Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars – allow to cool completely in the tin.

 

Once completely cooled, cut lengthways down the middle of the bake. Then cut into bars. Remove and store in an airtight container.

Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars - pre-cooking the shortbread layer ensures it is cooked through with a lovely golden bottom.
Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars – pre-cooking the shortbread layer ensures it is cooked through with a lovely golden bottom.

 

I really cannot emphasise how gorgeous these Oat Topped Lemon Bars are. The buttery shortbread, topped with good, tangy, lemon curd and then the crunch from the oat crumble topping.

Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars - it's a layer thing - it just works in THE most delicious way!
Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars – it’s a layer thing – it just works in THE most delicious way!

 

Everyone who has tried these has loved them! That’s definitely a winner in my book (or blog!!!).

Perfect for sharing!

Please let me know what you think?

Sammie x

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