German Mini Nut Bars (Nussecken) Recipe

Hazelnut Triangles - Nussecken
Hazelnut Triangles - Nussecken. Credit: J.McGavin / Getty Images
    65 mins

These easy German Mini Nut Bars (Nussecken) recipe looks like you slaved all day but only take about 1 hour total to make. 

Nut cakes and nut bars are popular German bakery products. Cut on the diagonal, they are often called Nussecken or nut triangles (where nuss means "nuts" and ecken means "corners").

Hazelnuts, butter and sugar make this nut bar recipe with a butter crust very rich, so cut them small. You can bake these nut bars in an 8x8-inch or 7x11-inch pan with a 40-bar yield, or double the recipe for a 13x9-inch pan for a 80-bar yield.

Hazelnuts can be a bit pricey, so substitute filberts, almonds or your favorite nut instead.

Makes 40 German Mini Nut Bars

What You'll Need

  • Crust:
  • 5 tablespoons/65 grams margarine or butter-flavored Crisco
  • 1/3 cup/65 grams sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 large room-temperature egg
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons/150 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • Nut Filling:
  • 7 tablespoons/100 grams butter
  • 1/2 cup/100 grams sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup/100 grams ground hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup/100 grams whole hazelnuts, chopped, or 1 extra cup ground hazelnuts
  • Decoration: (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon butter 

How to Make It

Make the Crust

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the margarine or Crisco and the sugars until well incorporated. Beat in 1 egg (and vanilla extract, if using instead of vanilla sugar). Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until the dough forms a ball.
  2. Press the dough into a buttered pan. The bigger the pan, the thinner the nut bars. Spread the dough with apricot jam and set aside.

Make the Filling

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, bring butter, 1/2 cup sugar and water to a boil on the stove. Stir and cook for several minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is foamy.
  1. Stir in all the nuts. Remove from heat. Spoon the nut filling over the crust and smooth.

Bake, Cool, Cut

  1. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until light brown around the edges and set in the middle. Cool completely, then chill.
  2. Cut the bars into 20 squares, then cut across the diagonal into triangles to make 40 pieces. Remove the cookies to a work surface lined with parchment paper.

Decorate the Nut Bars

  1. In a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon butter in the microwave on high in 15-second intervals, stirring after each 15 seconds. This should take about 4 intervals before the chocolate chips are smooth and hot.
  2. Dip the bottoms of the nut bars into the hot chocolate chips and remove excess chocolate with a table knife or similar tool. Place back on the parchment paper and allow the chocolate to harden.
  3. If the chocolate in the bowl cools too much before you are done, microwave again for 15 seconds and stir.
  4. If you wish, you can add chocolate drizzles to the top of the nut bars with extra melted chocolate squeezed out of a decorator bag or a sandwich bag with a corner cut off.
  5. After the chocolate has hardened, store the nut bars in an airtight tin between layers of wax paper. You also can freeze them.