Nussecken, or German Nut Bars, can be made with a variety of nuts but when made with pecans they taste like delicious, soft pecan pie bars! They are perfect for thanksgiving or the holidays when you don’t feel like making an entire pie.
What are Nusseckenn?
The name Nussecken, directly translates to nut corners. They are bars with a shortbread like base, topped with apricot jam, and then finished with a thick layer of butter and sugar nuts! A little gooey and a little bit of crunch, and dipped in dark chocolate, these will quickly become a new favorite.
Which nuts work best?
I love using pecans, but you could also use almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts! If using hazelnuts, I recommend mixing them with another nut.
Can I substitute apricot jam with a different jam?
Yes, classically they are made with apricot jam but you could use anything that isn’t too sweet or that has a bit of tang to it. Other ideas could be cherry jam, raspberry jam, orange jam.
Can these be made in advance?
Yes! As long as they are stored in an airtight container, these nussecken will keep for a week if not longer!
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Tips for making Nussecken
- Make sure the butter is soft – this will allow the dough to come together faster without developing gluten and causing the base of the bars to be tough.
- Be sure to chop the nuts finely. If the chunks are too big, the nut layer won’t hold together and they will be difficult to cut.
- After baking, the bars should be allowed to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes. Then remove them from the pan and leave to cool fully before cutting them.
- If you decide to dip the corners into chocolate, I suggest refrigerating them for at least an hour to help firm them up.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour should work for the base of these! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Butter: Butter adds moisture to the base and is mixed with sugar for the nut topping. The butter for the base should be soft to allow it to incorporate easily.
- White Sugar: These bars use granulated sugar for sweetness in the base and the nut layer.
- Egg: This recipe uses one standard large egg from the store.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract enhances the sweetness and flavors of these bars.
- Apricot Jam: The jam helps balance out the sweetness and adds moisture to the bars.
- Pecans: Pecans or your nut of choice. If using hazelnuts be sure to toast and peel them first.
- Dark Chocolate: The corners of these bars are traditionally dipped in dark chocolate. If you don’t like dark chocolate you can use milk chocolate but it will make the bars very sweet.
How to make German Nut Bars
Make the Base
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place a rack into the center of the oven.
- Line a 9″ x 9″ pan with a strip of parchment paper that is 9″ x 15″.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in all ingredients for the base. Use to paddle attachment to mix on medium speed just until combined.
- Pour the dough into the pan and gently press it out in an even layer across the bottom of the pan.
- Add the butter, 2 tablespoons of water, and sugar to a medium sauce pan. Place over medium low heat and melt, stirring frequently. Cook until the butter has dissolved into the butter.
- Remove from the heat and add in the finely chopped nuts. Stir to combine.
Assemble and Bake the bars
- Evenly spread the apricot jam over the base in the pan.
- Pour the nut, butter, and sugar mixture over the apricot jam and base. Smooth into an even layer and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Rotate the pan after 15 minutes to ensure even browning and baking.
- Once they are finished baking, the edges should be a deep golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the oven and leave it to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the bars from the pan and leave to cool fully before cutting them.
- Use a long sharp knife to cut the nussecken into 9 squares. Then, cut the squares in half diagonally to create 18 triangles.
- Place them in the fridge to chill for an hour before dipping them in or drizzling them with the dark chocolate. Optionally sprinkle with flaky sea salt after adding the chocolate.
- 150 grams ap flour
- 60 grams granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60 grams butter softened
- 1 egg
- 150 grams apricot jam
- 80 grams butter
- 80 grams granulated sugar
- 225 grams pecans finely chopped
- 150 grams dark chocolate melted
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt
Make the Base
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
- Line a 9" x 9" pan with a strip of parchment pater that is 9" x 15".
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the base ingredients.
- Use the paddle attachment on medium speed until the ingredients are fully combined.
- Press the dough into the base of the pan in a smooth and even layer.
Prepare the nut layer
- In a medium sauce pan, add in the butter, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of water.
- Place over medium low heat to melt the ingredients together. Stir frequently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and pour in the finely chopped nuts.
Assemble and Bake the bars
- Spread the apricot jam in an even layer over the base.
- Pour the nut filling over the top and smooth it out.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Rotate the pan after 15 minutes to ensure even browning.
- Once baked, the bars should be a deep golden brown color. Remove the pan from the oven and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes have passed, use the parchment paper sling to remove the bars from the pan.
- Leave them to cool fully to room temperature before cutting.
- Cut the bars into 9 squares, then cut each square diagonally in half into two triangles.
- Place the bars in the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour before dipping in or drizzling with the melted chocolate.
- Optionally top with flaky sea salt.