Sunday, 7 December 2008

Nussecken - Christmas Baking

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Nussecken are a popular treat in Germany. You can go into any bakery and buy them all year round. They are usually about the size of an Eclaire or Danish, and you could certainly cut them to that size, but I made bite sized ones to go on the Christmas cookie tray.

This is my sister's colleague's wife's recipe, which my sister (Hello I., I know you're reading this. So, please tell your colleague to say a big thank you to his wife!)) has been going on about for ages, saying they are even better than my mum's recipe. She finally typed it and e-mailed it to me last week. Well, now that I have made them and of course eaten one, or two or three...., I'll have to agree. They are fantastic, with a shortbread like bottom and a moist nutty topping.

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In Germany you can buy ground hazelnuts in the baking section of any supermarket, but here in the UK they are not really available, apart from a couple of times a year when Aldi does a baking special. I usually pick up a couple of bags for the pantry, but was out of them this time. So, I bought whole hazelnuts instead and ground them with my stick blender. I have to say I might keep doing this in future as well, as the result is less 'uniform' and you're left with a few nice crunchy bits of hazelnut. If you decide to grind your own as well, just make sure you cover the bowl with a cloth when switching on the blender, as they go flying everywhere otherwise, as I found out! I also used vanilla essence and a mix of 1/4 caster and 3/4 brown sugar in the nut topping as I ran out of caster sugar, but I'll share the original recipe here as it was given to me, with my alterations in brackets.

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Weltbeste Nussecken - World's Best Nut Triangles (makes about 60)

200gr butter
150gr caster sugar
1 egg
2 sachets vanilla sugar (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence)
375gr flour
2 heaped tsps baking powder

approx. 6 generous tbsp aprikot jam

200gr magarine
200gr caster sugar (or caster sugar/brown sugar mix)
2 sachets vanilla sugar (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence)
2 tbsp water (if you're using vanilla essence reduce the amount accordingly)
400gr ground hazelnuts

120gr dark chocolate, 75% or more cocao content

Preheat your oven to 175C/340F/Gas 3 1/2.

In a large bowl cream the butter with the sugar, using a hand held electric mixer.

Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat.

Add the flour and baking powder little by little. You might have to change to using you dough hook attachments.

Once all ingredients are combined use your hands to bring it all together until you get a ball of dough.

Spread the dough out onto a large square baking tray lined with baking paper. Press it well into a the corners and up to the edges, until the whole sheet is covered and the dough has an even thickness.

Spread the jam over the dough until it's evenly covered with a thin layer.

For the topping, heat the margarine in a pan on the hob, once it's melted add the sugar and vanilla and stir until disolved. Take of the heat and stir in the ground hazelnuts.

Pour the nut mix over the dough and jam and spread out until it covers the whole tray and has an even thickness.

Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

While it's still warm cut into triangles using a sharp knife, by first cutting it into squares and then cutting the squares diagonally.

Once cool take the triangles and dip the corners of each triangle into the melted chocolate.

Place on a wire rack to set.

These will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight biscuit tin, layered between grease proof paper, if they don't get eaten first.

9 comments:

Peter M said...

Sylvie, I love hearing of Christmas traditions and these triangles make me want to break out & sing "Oh Tannenbaum"!

Marie said...

Those look delicious Sylvie! I love German baked goods, especially German Christmas Baked goods!!

Jan said...

Oooh they look good Sylvie!
Glad you are better now.

Anne said...

These look great and can't wait to try, am a sucker for anything like this!

Raquel said...

Oh, sylvie those look wonderful! Do you ever make dominostene?(sp.) I love your recipes! Much love, Raquel XO

Sam said...

They really do sound amazing! Another recipe for me to try this Christmas!

the sister said...

I really, really love those and my colleague´s wife kind of has a yearly commission to bake at least some if not a lot for us. They´ve became part of our holiday traditions in the office. :)

Jules said...

These look delicious.

Bellini Valli said...

These do sound like the worlds best nut triangles. They are almost like buttertart squares which are one of my favourites:D