Tuscan Bars

No, not the kind of bar where you go to sit and enjoy alcoholic beverages with your friends in Tuscany.  I mean lovely buttery bars baked in a pan and sliced into squares.  These delicious bits of goodness are inspired by the flavors of Tuscany, however.  Enjoy these bars filled with chopped pine nuts and rosemary with some cheese and a small glass of wine and you’ll feel like you are in Tuscany, or someplace along the Mediterranean.  In my family, we usually enjoy homemade lasagna on Christmas Eve.  These Tuscan bars are the perfect dessert.  There’s still time to enjoy some hearty Italian food this winter, so give this recipe a try.

Tuscan Bars

¼ C pine nuts
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in 10 pieces
½ C powdered sugar
1 T chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried, minced
1 C all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pine nuts on baking sheet and place in the oven. Toast about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they are fragrant. Watch carefully as they burn easily. Place on a cutting board and chop finely. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Remove pan from heat and stir in the powdered sugar, minced rosemary and chopped pine nuts with a spoon. Then stir in the flour to make a stiff dough.
Spread dough evenly into an ungreased 8-inch-square baking pan. Press down with your fingers. Bake until bars are golden and firm at the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool pan on a rack for about 2 minutes, and use a sharp knife to cut into 16 squares. Let bars cool in pan at least 10 minutes before removing them with a small spatula. These bars are very rich, so consider cutting them into smaller pieces. As they are savory, they are very nice served with cheese and fruit and a glass of wine.

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