This Discover Cooking with California Olive Oil recipe contest submissions comes from Nancy Judd. Nancy tells us, “These decadent delicious bars are melt in your mouth delicious. The smooth We Olive Blood Orange Olive Oil offers not only fabulous flavor but richness to the crust. The nuts add crunch, a dash of cayenne pepper adds a touch of heat, and the ooey gooey chocolate layer has a great mouth feel and makes these bars taste like a million bucks! But watch out… these not only tantalize your tastebuds but become downright addictive. You, your family, friends and guests will love them and be clamoring for more!! Enjoy!”
1 ¾ cups flour
1 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons grated orange peel, divided (and more for optional garnish if desired)
9 Tablespoons plus more if needed We Olive Blood Orange Olive Oil, divided
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped cashews, divided (reserving 3 tablespoons for garnish)
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, divided (reserving 3 tablespoons for garnish)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping (divided for garnish)
Optional Garnish -grated orange peel (see orange peel above)
Heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
Mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest in a bowl until blended and pour about 7 Tablespoons of the We Olive Blood Orange Olive Oil into mixture and blend mixture with a fork or spoon, or your fingers until it makes a coarse clingy crumb mixture. You may need to add another tablespoon of the olive oil. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press mixture with your fingers to evenly form a crust to edges. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a very light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Sprinkle 1 cup of the chopped cashews and ½ cup of the chopped walnuts evenly over top of crust.
Meanwhile put chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish and microwave one minute and stir. If not melted and smooth after stirring, then microwave another 15 seconds if necessary. Repeat if needed until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. In a bowl beat eggs. Add corn syrup, 2/3 cup sugar, cayenne pepper, 1 Tablespoon of the We Olive Blood Orange Olive Oil and vanilla and blend well. Add cooled melted chocolate and mix until well blended. Spread mixture onto baked crust with nuts. Bake about 22 -25 minutes. In a small bowl, mix remaining 3 tablespoons of cashews and remaining 3 tablespoons of walnuts. Set aside.
When bars are done remove from oven and cool. (Note: If in a hurry to serve, cooling can be sped up by putting bars into freezer for 30 – 40 minutes or more.) When cooled (bottom of pan may still be slightly warm) cut into desired number of bars and top each bar with a small dollop of whipped cream or whipped topping and a sprinkle of the nut mixture dividing evenly. If desired as an optional garnish grate more orange zest onto the whipped cream dollops. Serve. Makes 20 or more bars depending how bars are cut in pan. ENJOY!
Notes: For convenience other nuts may be substituted if desired. I have also used Chopped Pistaschios and Chopped Pecans with delicious success.