Intro: No Bake Chocolate Walnut Bars
This is a very tasty cookie, chocolate, and nut treat. As my 6-year-old friend, Donovan, said: "it's better than good" as his 3-year-old sister, Quin, asked for another piece. It's a great recipe to have younger kids help and practice their measuring skills.
This recipe may appear complicated but it's really not. It requires mostly measuring and assembly capabilities with minimal cooking. Also, you can try alternative nuts like roasted hazelnuts - for that Nutella taste, peanuts - for the Reeses taste, almonds, cashews, etc.
Step 1: Ingredients
The ingredients for these chocolate walnut bars are simple. These are the overall amounts of ingredients you will need:
- 13oz (350g) of ground cookies. I use a whole box of Graham Cracker crumbs. You are welcome to try any type of cookie. Make sure to test the absorbency of the cookie you use.
- two (2) bars of dark bittersweet chocolate about 7oz (200g)
- 13oz (350g) ground walnuts. Also, you can experiment with other types of nuts like peanuts, roasted hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.
- 4oz (100g) of unsalted butter for the dough
- 2.5oz (70g) of unsalted butter for the glaze
- 8 oz (250g) of baker's sugar
- 1 cup (250ml) of water
Step 2: Utensils
You will need the following kitchen utensils to make these bars:
- Scales for measuring weight
- Cups for measuring liquid
- Two (2) smaller cooking pots
- Small bowls or plastic containers for measuring
- Wooden spoon for mixing
- Food processor for grinding nuts and cookies
- Four (4) gallon size freezer bags or plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- Serving tray
Step 3: The Light Side
For the light layers you will need to measure out the following ingredients:
- 7oz (180g) of graham cookie crumbs
- 7oz (180g) of ground walnuts
- 4.25oz (120g) of baker's sugar
- 2.5oz (70g) of unsalted butter or 5/8 of one butter stick
- 1/2 cup (120ml) of water
Step 4: Mixing the Light Side Ingredients
In a small pot over medium to low heat add the water, sugar, and butter. When the butter melts and sugar dissolves, remove the pot from the heat and add the graham cracker crumbs and ground walnuts and mix really well. Set aside on countertop to cool for a few minutes. Don't let the mixture get cold, just cool it down enough so it's comfortable to touch.
Step 5: Making the Light Side Layers
Take the walnut and cookie mixture and measure out two equal amounts into freezer bags. Leave the freezer bags open and with your hands tap out the paste so it fills the bottom half of the bags somewhat evenly. Use a rolling pin to get the paste inside the bag to 1/4" thickness. Do this for both bags.
Step 6: Refrigerate
Once you have the two light side layers rolled into the same size, refrigerate them on a flat surface. You can also put them in the freezer for faster cool-down.
Step 7: The Dark Side
The ingredients for the chocolate layers are:
- 6oz (170g) of graham cookie crumbs
- 6oz (170g) of ground walnuts
- 3.5oz (100g) of baker's sugar
- 1.75oz (50g) of unsalted butter or 3/8 of one butter stick
- 1/2 cup (120ml) of water
- 1 bar, 3.5oz (100g) of bittersweet dark chocolate
Step 8: Mixing the Dark Side Ingredients
Similar to step 4, in a small pot combine the water, sugar, and butter. When the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, remove the pot from the heat and add in the chocolate broken into smaller bits. Keep stirring the chocolate until it's melted and velvety. Add the graham cracker crumbs and ground nuts and mix until you get a uniform paste.
Step 9: Making the Dark Side Layers
Like in step 5, cool down the mix enough so it's comfortable to work with your hands. Measure out equal amounts of the mixture into two freezer bags. Roll out 1/4" thick layers. Refrigerate all the layers for at least a half an hour. You can put them in the freezer for faster cooldown.
Step 10: Alternating the Light and Dark Layers
Once the layers have chilled take one bag with a dark layer, set it onto a serving tray and with scissors cut the bag at both seams. Open the bag up like a book exposing the chocolate paste and leave it that way on the tray. The layers are very sticky so you want the tray to have one of the bags or plastic wrap on the bottom.
Now the following might be a little tricky. Take a light layer and cut the bag at the seems like you just did for the dark layer. Set the exposed side of the paste on top of the chocolate layer and peel off the remainder of the plastic. Or place your palm on the exposed side, flip over, peel the plastic and put on top of the dark layer. If the layer breaks and tears don't threat, just kind of place it and pat it in.
Repeat this with the second dark layer, followed by the light layer. You should have on the tray alternating dark-light-dark-light layers. Cover this with the plastic bag or wrap and gently with a rolling pin press down the layers so they stick well. Be gentle!
Step 11: Refrigerate and Shape
Refrigerate the layered treat for an hour. Yes, it doesn't look pretty right now so with a thin knife cut the uneven edges and shape the layers into a shape of your choice. The excess edges will expose the 4 layers and they make a good treat to snack on while waiting for the final product. Put the layers back in the fridge.
Step 12: Making the Chocolate Glaze
For the top glaze, you will need the following ingredients:
- One tablespoon (25ml) of water
- One tablespoon (25g) of sugar
- 2.5oz (70g) of unsalted butter, 5/8 of a butter stick
- One 3.5oz (100g) bar of dark bittersweet chocolate
Use or make a double boiler with two pots. Put some water into one pot and submerge the bottom of the second pot into the water without that pot touching the bottom of the first pot. Add the water, butter, sugar and heat until butter melts. Add the chocolate into this and stir until it's melted and you get a velvety texture.
Step 13: Glaze and Refrigerate
Take the four layers from the fridge and with a spatula, apply the melted chocolate on top as evenly as you can. When you finish applying the glaze shake the tray gently to make the glaze even out. Put back into the fridge or freezer for at least an hour.
Step 14: Cut and Serve
This sweet treat should be refrigerated when it's not served. To make the cuts clean the overall bar needs to be as cold as possible, so don't let it sit at room temperature. It's best to put it into the freezer an hour before cutting for best, clean cut results. Use a thin knife to cut, thick chef's knives might make the layers break so a smaller knife might work better. Cut into desired sized bars and serve. Once cut, the bars can be at room temperature for a bit. These are pretty filling, so smaller bites are a way to go. Enjoy!