These bar cookies have a sweet walnut topping over a tender shortbread crust. They keep well for several days.
For the Shortbread crust:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut in small pieces
For the Brown Sugar Walnut Topping:
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped California walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- To make the shortbread crust, stir the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, mash and mix the ingredients together until you have a cohesive dough. (Alternately, the dough may be mixed in a food processor.) Pat and press evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. With a fork, prick the dough all over at ½-inch intervals. Bake about 20 minutes, until the surface looks dry and the crust has browned lightly around the edges. Set aside to cool while you prepare the topping.
- To make the topping, in a large bowl combine the brown sugar, egg and vanilla and beat until evenly mixed.
- In a small cup or bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir or whisk together to blend. Add to the brown sugar mixture and beat vigorously until smooth--the batter will be very stiff. Stir in the walnuts. Spread over the prepared crust. Bake about 25 minutes, until the surface looks dry and the filling has set and risen slightly. Cool completely, then cut into 2-inch squares. Store in an airtight container.