I have lived in England for 30 years this February and on the whole I am quite happy with the food and ingredients – British, Continental and from around the world – available in supermarkets and specialist shops (big change from 1986, even in London!). But sometimes you crave something from back home that is not so easy to buy and if you don’t want to wait until the next time you visit your folks, you have no other option than to roll up your sleeves and get baking.
Nußecken or Nut Corners are a staple of every Germany bakery and Konditorei and have been for decades. They are really easy to make at home and keep well for a few days.
Baking times and temperatures are for a fan assisted oven.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C (360F).
These are the ingredients for the base:
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 packet vanilla sugar (approx. 10g)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of water
100g cold unsalted butter in small pieces
Mix the ingredients in a bowl, either by hand or with a hand mixer or food processor, until you have a smooth dough. Form into a roll, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
In the mean time melt the following ingredients in a sauce pan:
150g unsalted butter
150 g sugar
2 packets of vanilla sugar (approx. 20g)
3 tablespoons of water
When the mixture is smooth and all the sugar has melted add:
100g ground hazelnuts
200g chopped hazelnuts (I also added some left over flaked almonds)
Leave to cool for 10 minutes or so.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment and roll out the cold dough (you might have to add a little bit more flour if it is a bit sticky).
Spread 3 tablespoons of calorie reduced apricot jam all over the dough.
Cover with the hazelnut mix.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
Leave to cool on a cake rack for about 30-40 minutes.
Cut the cake first into squares (approx. 8cmx8cm or 3×3”), then once more diagonally into triangles. I ended up with 18 Nußecken. Or cut the triangles once more to make mini Nußecken.
Melt 100g of dark cooking chocolate in a mug standing in boiling water (just make sure the water doesn’t get into the chocolate) and cover the two sharp corners of the triangles. You can either use a patisserie brush or, and I find that easier, just use a teaspoon to pour the melted chocolate over the corners. Leave to cool.