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Here’s a delicious nutty traybake that is a glorious combination of textures. A crumbly shortbread base, topped with crunchy California walnuts enveloped in an indulgently sticky honey caramel. They have a lovely hint of orange zest too; heavenly!
Honey Walnut Squares Recipe.
Like many tray bakes this recipe is made in two stages, although I think it is still a straightforward recipe to follow. Enjoy these honey walnut squares as a sweet treat, or bring along to your next picnic or BBQ and see how popular you are!
For the shortbread:
- 150g plain flour
- 80g caster sugar
- 150g butter
For the honey walnut topping:
- 100g butter
- 90g brown sugar
- 170g honey
- 180g California Walnuts, roughly chopped
- 100ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Zest of 1 orange
Start by pre-heating your oven to 180c, and lining a springform 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar using an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Next add in the flour and use a wooden spoon to bring together into a dough. Use clean hands to then work the dough a little until it forms into a crumbly ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough: you want it to be crumbly so that it has that lovely shortbread texture.
Take your shortbread and spread it evenly into the base of your baking tin. Use a fork to prick evenly across the surface and then bake for 15 minutes. The shortbread will take on a very light colour. Set aside whilst you make your honey walnut topping.
In a large saucepan heat up the butter, sugar and honey on medium heat, stirring until melted and combined. Reduce the heat a little and allow to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will foam up a little. Please be careful at this stage! Make sure no pets or children are in the kitchen with you.
After 5 minutes remove from the heat and add in the California walnuts, double cream, vanilla and orange zest and stir to combine. Pour the mix evenly over the top of the shortbread base and then bake for 20 minutes. When removing from the oven the honey walnut topping will be bubbly and runny; this will thicken as it cools.
Once it has cooled and begun to set, remove from the baking tin and use a large buttered knife to cut into squares.
Honey Walnut Squares
- Chopping board
- Large saucepan
- 20cm baking tin with loose base
- 150 g Plain flour
- 80 g caster sugar
- 150 g butter
Honey Walnut Topping
- 100 g butter
- 90 g brown sugar
- 170 g honey
- 180 g California walnuts, roughly chopped
- 100 ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 zest of one orange
- Pre-heat your oven to 180c, and line your baking tin with greaseproof paper.
- First we make the shortbread base. In a bowl whisk together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the flour and combine until a crumbly dough forms. Mould this into your baking tin until evenly spread. Prick with a fork all over and bake for 15 minutes until pale golden.
- Now we make the honey walnut topping. In a large saucepan heat up the butter, sugar and honey on medium heat and stir until melted and combined. Reduce the heat a bit and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will foam up a little. Be careful as the caramel is very hot.
- After 5 minutes remove from the heat and add in the chopped California walnuts, double cream, vanilla and orange zest and stir to combine. Pour the mix over the top of the shortbread base, spread evenly and then bake for 20 minutes. When removing from the oven the honey walnut topping will be bubbly and runny; this will thicken as it cools.
- Once the squares have cooled and begun to set, remove from the baking tin and use a large buttered knife to cut into squares.
About California Walnuts
Did you know that 99% of the walnuts produced in U.S. are grown in California? And internationally, California walnuts supply two-thirds of the world’s walnut trade! The taste, texture and nutrition benefits of California Walnuts makes them a great choice for all sorts of sweet and savoury dishes no matter the occasion. As well as baking with them I love to pop walnuts into salads for some texture.
You can check if your walnuts are from California by checking the packaging; it will state that the walnuts are produce of California or Produce of USA on the pack.
California Walnuts Nutrition
California walnuts are extremely nutritious:
- Walnuts are the only tree nut to contain a rich source of the plant-based omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 2.7g/ 30g which the body can’t make on its own so must come from food
- 30g of California Walnuts offers 4.4 g of protein and 1.4 g of fibre 
- Over 30 years of research suggests that California Walnuts may offer benefits for heart health, cognitive health, diabetes, gut health, reproductive health and weight loss.
A handful a day (that’s about 30g) is all you need to get the benefits. You can learn more about heart health benefits here.
How best to store your honey walnut squares
I prefer to keep mine in the fridge for freshness and longevity. using an airtight container they will happily keep for one week… if they last that long in your house! California walnuts are also best kept in the fridge to maintain their flavour. You can also store walnuts in the freezer for 12 months if you fancy.
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 Food Standards Agency (2002), McCance & Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, Seventh summary edition. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry