Walrus Bars

Caramel, chocolate and rich California walnuts – what could be better? This sinfully delicious dessert is best served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – that is if they’re not immediately devoured right out of the pan!


Shortbread base:

1 cup all-purpose flour (250 mL)
1 cup corn starch (250 mL)
1 cup icing sugar (250 mL)
1 cup cocoa (250 mL)
1 tsp salt (5 mL)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (250 mL)


1 cup unsalted butter (250 mL)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (250 mL)
1/2 cup liquid honey (125 mL)
3/4 tsp salt (4 mL)
1/4 cup heavy cream (50 mL)
1 tbsp rum extract (15 mL)
3 cups coarsely chopped California walnuts (750 mL)


Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a 9 x 13 x 1-inch (30 x 20 x 3-cm) pan with aluminum foil, pressing foil against sides and corners of pan with edges hanging over sides of pan. Spray or grease bottom and sides of foil.

Shortbread: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, corn starch, icing sugar, cocoa and salt. Add softened butter and mix, using hands, until mixture is moist and crumbly. Press firmly over prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Filling: Combine butter, brown sugar, honey and salt in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Once bubbling stops, stir in heavy cream and rum extract. Stir in walnuts. Pour over shortbread base, spreading walnuts evenly. Pack firmly. Turn down oven temperature to 300°F and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes. Remove carefully from oven (filling will be very loose, but will set as it cools).

Let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Once completely cooled, use overhanging foil to lift out of pan. Cut into squares or triangles and serve. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to one week.

Makes 18 bars

Nutritional information: Calories: 514, Total Fat: 33 g, Saturated Fat: 11 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 12 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 96 mg, Sodium: 418 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 51 g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 8 g

Courtesy of Liako Dertilis and Pamela MacDonald/Curious Epicureans. Recipe courtesy of the California Walnut Commission. For more recipe ideas and information about the health benefits of walnuts, visit www.walnutinfo.com.