Caramelized Pistachio & Chunky Chocolate Chip Bars by Chef Gerald Hirigoyen

Serves 8-10

½ cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 cups pistachio kernels
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2.5 cups flour
½ cup raw oats
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 heaping tsp. kosher salt + 1 large pinch to garnish
12 oz. (340 g) good quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or large chips)


Combine the water, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. As oon as the liquid begins to boil add the pistachio kernels. Stir the mixture continually until the liquid evaporates and leaves a syrupy coating on the nuts. Pour the nuts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Separate pistachios using a large fork. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. On low speed, slowly incoporate the flour mixture. When the dough is thoroughly combined, add the chocolate chunks and caramelized pistachios and beat dough on high speed just until the nuts and chocolate are evenly distributed.

Press the dough into two buttered 8 x 8 glass baking pans and sprinkle a pinch of salt lightly over the top. Bake one pan at a time in the pre-heated oven for approximately 12 minutes, or just until a toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake, as bars will continue to cook slightly in the hot pan even after being removed from the oven. Allow to cool to the touch, cut into 2 x 3” bars and enjoy!

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!