The Fallingwater Chef at Home: A Sweet Treat
May 20, 2020
When late spring is still handing you cold days – even snow like on a very recent weekend! – sometimes it’s nice to stay in bed with a nice, hot cup of coffee and a little something sweet to nibble on while you peruse your current read.
Mrs. Chef Tom and I don’t eat a lot of desserts here at home, but when we make something sweet, we like simple desserts with great textures and rich flavors. A grand concoction like the famous sacher-torte or mille-feuille can be decadently delicious, but are also nowhere near as quick and delicious as "The Fallingwater Cookbook’s" Honey Maple ‘Almond’ Bars. We decided on almonds rather than the pecans that are in the original recipe, but any nut from peanuts to pistachios to pine nuts will shine. This bar has a crumbly shortbread cookie-style base and a luxuriantly caramel-chewy topping that sings with the nuances of honey and maple syrup along with toasted nuts. So, how can you go wrong?
This recipe is not only built to make quite a few dessert bars, but is also not for the faint of heart or waistline, as it overflows with butter, sugar and simple carbohydrates. I chose this recipe in part because it does make enough to share with those around me; my neighbors, coworkers and other who could use a little pick-me-up.
Honey Maple Almond Bars, adapted from "The Fallingwater Cookbook"
Although I generally avoid processed sugars and prefer my fat intake from the savory side of the culinary world, these bars are worth the caloric intake and do make for a perfect morning extravagance whether you like coffee or not. A longtime favorite not only at the Fallingwater Café, but here at home where we can whip up a batch fairly quickly and have plenty to pass over the fence to friends and neighbors.
- 1 1/2 C chilled butter
- 1 C confectioner’s sugar
- 4 C all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 C brown sugar
- 1/2 C honey
- 1/4 C maple syrup
- 3/4 C chilled butter
- 1 Tb vanilla extract
- 4 C slivered almonds (or nuts of your choice, such as peanuts, pecans or cashews, salted or unsalted)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine the 1 1/2 cups butter and confectioner’s sugar in a food processor. Pulse 20 seconds.
- Add the egg and flour and process just until a dough forms.
- Divide the dough in half. Press each half onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of TWO greased/lined 8x8” square pans.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.
- Bring brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and the last 3/4 C butter to a boil.
- Stir frequently and boil exactly 2 minutes.
- Take off the heat and add the almonds and vanilla.
- Pour the mixture into each baked crust, dividing evenly, then spread evenly with a spatula and return to the oven to bake another 20 minutes. The tops should be bubbly.
- Remove from oven, cool and cut into bars.
(Note: This recipe was designed for a half sheet tray, a professional-size tray that is rather large. You can either make the recipe in these proportions to bake in two 8 x 8 pans as instructed above, or scale the recipe in half and bake in one 8x8 square baking dish.)
Pair with freshly brewed coffee or tea for a decadent morning or midafternoon treat.
Enjoy and continue to stay safe!
"The Fallingwater Cookbook" is available online for purchase in the Fallingwater Museum Store. Did you make this recipe or buy the cookbook? Let us know by sharing your results on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.