I’m not big on going to bars, but I do find it hard to resist eating a bar. These Dark Chocolate Crumb Bars are easy to make and deliciously rich and chocolatey. The thin shortbread crust is blanketed with with a pseudo-chocolate ganache with chocolate chips, shortbread crumbs, and chopped almonds sprinkled heavily on top. I wanted to have a solid but not overpowering contrast to the sweet chocolate, so I substituted Trader Joe’s mesquite smoked seasoned almonds for the walnuts.
Dark Chocolate Crumb Bars
Makes 30 bars
(From Nestle Holiday recipes (https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/144808/dark-chocolate-crumb-bars/); My notes are in italics between [ ] ).
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips, divided
1 can (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional); [I used chopped mesquite smoked seasoned almonds from Trader Joe’s.]
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with baking spray. [I used a metal pan because I wanted to ensure the crust would turn golden.]
2. Beat butter in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in the flour, sugar, and salt until crumbly.
3. With floured fingers, press approximately 2 cups [I used a bit more than that to fully cover my pan. Make sure there aren’t any spots that are too thin, or else the chocolate mixture may seep through the crust] of crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan; reserve the remaining mixture.
4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
5. Combine sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup of chocolate chips in a small, heavy-duty saucepan. Warm over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Spread over hot crust.
6. Stir nuts and remaining 2/3 cup morsels into the reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle over chocolate filling. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center is set [e.g., a toothpick inserted into the center comes out smoothly and cleanly]. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
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