I come from a small town. An 8000 people town.
Everybody knows the neighbours, half of the old people still living there and the gossips about the entire population.
Since I was a little one the main pastry shops have been two, Marongiu and Senis, named after the surname of the family who owns them.
My parents live next to the first one, just 3 minutes walk from it, you basically have to just cross the road, so it was their natural choice when they wanted to buy something sweet to feed their cravings. Plus my dad always complained that Senis pastry cream was not sweet enough for his tastebuds.
I have never been a fan of pastries filled with cream, for that reason my dad (it was his chore to go buy them for the family on Sunday morning while my mom was busy prepping the roast) has always bought a selection of dry biscuits for me, like amaretti, baci di dama and this nutty biscuit/bar that only that pastry shop used to sell (not anymore).
I am by no means an hazelnut lover, but I was crazy about them.
Unfortunately, even though the pastry shop is still there, up and running, when the sons and daughters of the owner took the management in their hands they stopped the production of it. It happened while I was still a teenager, so many years ago.
Than it happened that I moved to Germany for a year and I discovered the Nussecken and bam-bum-bam they were exactly like my beloved bars from my childhood. I have a feeling that before opening the pastry shop, as many Italians, the owner lived and worked there for a while and took this German pastry with him when he came back and started his business.
What an amazing surprise.
There is to tell that his Nussecken were way better than mine. No lies. And mine are freaking good. No lies here as well.
It may be the memory of them, the childhood memory of my father coming back with them, but unless I would go and ask for the recipes, I will never know.
- 125g plain flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 egg (50g)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 tbsp apricot jam
- 50g roasted finely chopped hazelnuts
- 90g roasted finely chopped almonds
- 110g butter
- 70g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp water
- Mix flour, baking powder, and sugar together.
- Add the soft butter and work the ingredients with your fingers until crumbly.
- Add the egg and vanilla and work quickly the mix until you get a smooth dough.
- Cover a 22x15cm brownie tray with baking paper. Use some butter to help it stick to the tray.
- Spread the dough inside the tray into a uniform layer, using your fingers.
- Spread the jam on it in a thin layer.
- Set aside to rest in the fridge and leave it there at least 20 minutes.
- In a pan melt the rest of the butter and the sugar.
- Once melted an bubbly add hazelnuts and almonds.
- Add 2 tbsp of water and cook on low heat few minutes.
- Turn the heat off, add the vanilla and let it rest 10 minutes.
- When you are ready to procede pre-heat the oven at 185 celsius degrees.
- Pour the nutty buttery mix on top of your jam and spread it evenly.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Once cold cut into bars.
- The original version is dipped in chocolate. I prefer my bars without it. But if you are a chocolate lover just go for it.