Walnut Bars. This was a new recipe for me, although once I had cut it into squares it did look familiar. Maybe I have come across it in the past. Or maybe it’s just that the cherries/marshmallow/nuts/digestives combination is a recurring theme through so many traybakes.
Either way, back to these Walnut Bars. Now, why they are called Walnut Bars is a bit of a mystery. OK, so there are walnuts in the topping. But that’s it. There are as many glacé cherries in the topping, but whoever is responsible for this recipe decided to go with the walnuts.
Anyway, these Walnut Bars have a baked base of Digestives, coconut and cocoa powder. And then it’s topped with a fairly stiff marshmallowy layer with cherries and walnuts folded through. The original recipe called for angelica in the topping, which seems to be very difficult to find these days, so I just increased the amount of cherries and walnuts instead. If you can find angelica, then feel free to use that. The little green flecks through the marshmallow would look pretty.
And for all you glacé cherry haters out there, you can add whatever you like! I know there are a lot of you given the responses I get when I post recipes with cherries in them! In fact, I was thinking that chocolate chips or freeze dried raspberries would work well in this, especially with the chocolate flavor in the base.
There is quite a lot of gelatin in this traybake, which makes for quite a firm topping. Just remember to be careful to dissolve the gelatin fully in the hot water before adding to the sugar. If you don’t, you’ll end up with little bits of jelly in the topping and that isn’t great. I’d advise straining it into the sugar through a fine sieve just to make sure. For another recipe that makes a marshmallow layer (along with some Weetabix in the base!) check out my Mallow Squares.
And be gentle when you’re handling the traybake after it’s set as the top layer can sometimes detach from the base! Oh, and don’t forget to line your tin! The topping is pretty sticky and it’s much easier to remove from the tin if you have lined it with parchment paper or similar.
- 4 oz or 110g butter, melted
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 4 oz or 110g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1 egg
- 6 oz or 175g Digestives or Graham Crackers, crushed
- 3 oz or 85g desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp water
- 8 oz or 225g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- ½ oz or 14g gelatin
- 6 tbsp hot water
- 3 oz or 85g glacé cherries, chopped
- 3 oz or 85g walnuts, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350F/180C and line an 8"/20cm square tin with baking parchement.
- To prepare the base, melt the butter and add the cocoa and icing sugar.
- Mix in the beaten egg and vanilla, then stir in the crushed Digestives and coconut until combined.
- Spread into the tin and bake at 350F/180C for approx. 15 minutes. Leave to cool.
- To prepare the topping, place 3 tbsp water and the sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until thick.
- Dissolve the gelatin in the 6 tbsp hot water. Add this mix to the sugar (strain through a fine sieve if there are any lumps of jelly that didn't dissolve). Beat until white and thick. This is best done with an electric hand whisk and should take 2-3 minutes.
- Fold in the chopped cherries and walnuts and spread this mix over the base. Allow to set, then cut into squares. Dust the top with icing sugar if you prefer.