Nussecken (German Nut Corners) combine a buttery shortbread base, sweet apricot jam, sticky hazelnuts, and an amazing chocolate glaze! They're a special treat to enjoy year-round and a true delight to share at Christmastime!
Nussecken AKA German Nut Corners
It just isn’t Christmas without a plate filled with delicious cookies and bars! My rich, decadent Nussecken nut triangles are the perfect addition to your holiday baking!
They’re German cookie bars that have a rich shortbread base, a layer of sticky apricot jam, a slightly boozy, chewy hazelnut layer, and then the corners are dipped in dark chocolate! Who could ask for a better dessert?
Buttery, nutty, and filled with delicious, sweet layers – my Nussecken bars are an absolute treat!
I especially love the hazelnuts (or filberts) in this dessert! Growing up in Oregon we had tons of filbert orchards nearby that I rode my horses through - and amazing local filbert stores where we found the best treats! The rich scent of hazelnuts reminds me of those precious days!
Nussecken (Nut Corners) is a traditional German nut and chocolate dessert that’s popular at Christmas and year-round! They have their origins in either Franken, Bamberg, or Nürnberg, Germany, and are especially revered at traditional German Christmas markets!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Perfect for the Holidays! These delicious little cookie bars are perfect for a holiday cookie spread! They’ll be eaten right up!
A Winning Flavor Combo! If you love chocolate and/or nut desserts, this will be perfect for you! The combination of the sweet, boozy hazelnuts and bites of chocolate make this dessert so wonderful!
So Special! These Nussecken are a labor of love—they’re the perfect way to show your family how much you care!
🥘 Nussecken Ingredients
These amazing Nussecken bars are so packed full of flavor! You’ll likely have a lot of these ingredients already if you’re doing holiday baking!
*Be sure to see the free printable recipe card below for ingredients, exact amounts & instructions with tips!*
Shortbread Base and Apricot Jam Ingredients
- Butter – For this you need the butter to be unsalted, softened, and at room temperature so it can incorporate well into the shortbread dough.
- Sugar – Good ol’ granulated white sugar is perfect for this recipe! This is to sweeten the shortbread.
- Eggs – You’ll want to bring these eggs to room temperature before mixing them into the dough.
- Vanilla Extract – I love the way vanilla adds that delicious bakery sweetness to the shortbread! You’ll use some here and some in the hazelnut layer.
- Baking Powder – This will give the shortbread bars some lift in the oven. Make sure you don’t mix up baking soda and baking powder!
- Salt – You’ll just use a pinch of salt to balance the flavors in the shortbread.
- All-Purpose Flour – This provides structure to the shortbread! I recommend using AP flour instead of self-rising, whole wheat, or cake flour.
- Apricot Jam – Use your favorite store-bought apricot jam, jelly, or preserves here! If you make your own, that’s great too! You’ll spread a layer over the shortbread dough before baking.
Hazelnut Layer Ingredients
- Butter – You’ll need more unsalted butter for this layer! This time you’ll melt it with the other ingredients.
- Rum – Rum gives a sweet, boozy flavor to the hazelnut layer. You can also use water if you’d prefer to avoid alcohol!
- Light Brown Sugar – Brown sugar makes the nut layer wonderfully chewy and helps it to come together!
- Vanilla Extract – This gives the nut layer extra flavor and sweetness!
- Hazelnuts – You’ll want whole hazelnuts for this, that you’ll then crush into smaller pieces.
- Hazelnut Meal – Ground hazelnuts will also mix into the butter and brown sugar mixture. The contrast in texture is amazing!
Can’t find ground hazelnut meal? You can use almond meal (not the same as almond flour) instead! Alternatively, you can grind your own hazelnut meal (See FAQs).
Chocolate Glaze Ingredients
- Dark Chocolate – You can use chopped dark chocolate bars, dark chocolate chips, or dark chocolate melting wafers for the glaze, whatever you prefer!
- Butter – You can use just a teaspoon of butter here to help make the glaze a bit richer and shinier! I recommend it, but it’s optional! Skip the butter if using dark chocolate melting wafers.
*Be sure to see the free printable recipe card below for ingredients, exact amounts & instructions with tips!*
🔪 How To Make Nussecken
This recipe may seem a little complicated, but it’s not – I promise! Take it step-by-step and it’ll be a breeze!
How To Make the Shortbread Base
- Prep Oven. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and trim a sheet of parchment paper to fit inside an 18x13-inch rimmed baking sheet. (This is also known as a jelly roll sized pan or baking sheet)
- Make the Shortbread Dough. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, cream ½ cup (or 1 stick) of softened butter with ½ cup of granulated sugar and cream until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add in 2 room temperature eggs, one at a time, and then add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Next, mix in 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt and beat to combine.
- Finish Shortbread Dough. To the wet mixture, add 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour and mix just until the flour is incorporated into a smooth dough. Then, transfer the dough to your prepared, parchment-lined baking sheet and press to fill the baking sheet in an even layer.
- Dock the dough. Use the tines of a fork to poke holes all over the sheet of shortbread dough.
- Add the Apricot Jam. Coat the top of the shortbread pastry dough with ⅓ cup of apricot jam, jelly or preserves. Make sure to spread into an even, thin layer. Then, you can set the shortbread dough layer in the fridge if you need extra time before making the nut layer or if you have a very warm kitchen.
How To Cook the Hazelnut Layer
- Make the Sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add 1 cup of butter (2 sticks), 5 tablespoons of rum, 1 cup of light brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Heat over medium, until the sugar is completely dissolved without bringing the sauce to a boil.
- Prep Hazelnuts. Either chop or crush 1 cup of whole hazelnuts until they’re a coarse texture. If crushing, place the hazelnuts in a plastic bag and use the flat side of a meat mallet, tenderizer, rolling pin, or anything heavy!
- Add Hazelnuts to Sauce. Add the chopped or crushed hazelnuts and 2 cups of ground hazelnut meal to the sauce and mix until combined. Drop the nut mixture onto the shortbread base in large dollops, then spread over the apricot layer using a spatula to push the nut mixture evenly over the entire surface.
- Bake Nussecken. In a 350°F (175°C), bake the Nussecken for 25 to 30 minutes or until the nut layer is a light golden brown on the edges. When done, remove the Nussecken from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature overnight. You can also allow the bars to reach room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours to set up completely.
How To Glaze the Baked Nussecken
- Cut into Bars. Using a sharp knife, cut your Nussecken into approximately 30 squares, then cut each square in half diagonally to make triangles.
- Make Chocolate Glaze. Melt 1 cup of dark chocolate in a microwave bowl with 1 teaspoon of butter if desired. Use 30-second increments on high power, stirring between each until melted and smooth.
- Dip Nussecken. Dip the corners of each Nussecken into the melted chocolate, then place the coated triangles onto a cooling rack or sheet of parchment paper to set. When they’re fully set, serve and enjoy!
This incredible, decadent Nussecken recipe is the dessert you’ve got to try for the holidays! I love to serve these delicious little bars on a holiday cookie spread. They’re great with cocoa, coffee, or tea—and they’re guaranteed to make everyone smile!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- Hazelnuts are also commonly called filberts!
- Roll the shortbread out between two sheets of parchment paper to easily fit your baking sheet!
- Warm your apricot jam with a drizzle of hot water for easy spreading!
- Re-heat the melted chocolate if needed to continue coating your Nussecken corners.
Nussecken Recipe Notes
You’ll get the best flavor from the whole hazelnuts if you take a few minutes to toast them!
- To do this, simply heat a clean, dry skillet over medium heat and add the hazelnuts. Stir occasionally until lightly toasted and fragrant. When done, remove from heat and transfer the hazelnuts to a clean bowl (don’t leave them in the hot skillet!).
- Alternatively, you can roast the hazelnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 350°F (175°C) for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring the nuts every 5 minutes. When done they should fragrant and slightly golden brown and sizzling, but not burnt!
If using rum for this dessert, use gold or dark rum!
- I don’t recommend using white rum for this dessert. You want to use a decent gold or dark rum, so it complements the flavors of the butter and brown sugar! Bacardi gold is my go-to rum for this dessert!
To store these beautiful Nussecken, place them in an airtight container with a sheet of parchment paper between the layers to keep them from sticking. They’ll keep for 3 to 4 weeks this way—but they’ll certainly be gone before then!
You can freeze Nussecken too! Place the cooled cookies into freezer storage bags or airtight containers with a sheet of parchment between the layers and they’ll keep for up to 3 months! Let them thaw at room temperature when you’re ready to eat!
Yes! Nussecken is the German word for nut corners! Nuss = Nuts and Ecken = corners! These are also sometimes known as nut triangles! Though they have a few different names, they’re all the same and so delicious.
Absolutely! If you can’t find hazelnut meal and want to make your own, simply grind 1 cup of whole roasted hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground. This should yield about 1 ¾-2 cups of hazelnut meal.
*Tip: Adding a bit of granulated sugar will soak up the nut oils and prevent your ground hazelnuts from turning into a nut butter!
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Nussecken (German Nut Corners Bars)
Shortbread Base & Apricot Jam
- 1 cup dark chocolate (chopped - or dark chocolate chips)
- 1 teaspoon butter (optional)
Make the Shortbread
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and trim a sheet of parchment paper to fit inside a 18x13 rimmed baking sheet. *This is the jelly roll size baking sheet.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer cream the softened butter with granulated sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, as well as the baking powder and salt then beat until combined.½ cup butter, ½ cup sugar, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 pinch salt
- Add the flour and mix in until your flour is fully incorporated into a smooth dough. Transfer the dough to your parchment paper-lined baking sheet and press to fill the baking sheet in an even layer. *You can also roll the dough out between sheets of parchment paper until is close to your pan size, then transfer and finish pressing to fill the baking sheet.2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Dock the entire surface of the shortbread base using the tines of a fork. Then, coat the top of the shortbread pastry dough with a layer of the apricot jam, jelly, or preserves. *Use a drizzle of warm water to make the jam more spreadable.⅓ cup apricot jam
Make the Hazelnut Layer
- In a small saucepan add the butter and rum (or water), light brown sugar, and vanilla extract and heat over medium until the sugar is dissolved without bringing the sauce to a boil.1 cup butter, 5 tablespoon rum, 1 cup light brown sugar, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chop your hazelnuts or crush them in a plastic bag using the flat side of a meat mallet or tenderizer (or anything heavy!) until course in texture.1 cup hazelnuts
- Add the chopped hazelnuts and ground hazelnut meal to the sauce and mix until combined. Drop onto the shortbread base in large dollops, then spread over the apricot layer using your spatula to push the nut layer over the entire surface in an even layer.2 cups hazelnut meal
- Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 25-30 nor until light golden brown in color on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely overnight, or until the bars reach room temperature and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to set up completely.
Glaze the Nussecken
- Use a sharp knife to cut the Nussecken into 30 squares, then cut each square in half diagonally to make triangles.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl (with optional butter if desired) in 30-second increments on high power. Stir between each heating until melted and smooth.1 cup dark chocolate, 1 teaspoon butter
- Dip the corners of each Nussecken into the melted chocolate then place the coated triangles onto a cooling rack or a sheet of parchment paper to set.
- The flavor is so much more wonderful when you take a few minutes to dry roast the whole hazelnuts before crushing. To do this heat a clean, dry skillet to medium heat and add the hazelnuts. Stir occasionally until lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl (and out of the still-hot skillet!).
- Allow toasted hazelnuts to cool for a few minutes before bagging them to crush into 'chopped hazelnuts' size.
- If using raw whole hazelnuts, you can toast or roast to remove the skin. Toast until the skin blisters, then roll the nuts under your palm or rub with a kitchen towel to remove the skin. Alternatively, you can also roast hazelnuts in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes, stir the nuts every 5 minutes while roasting.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3-4 weeks. Keep Nussecken in a single layer, or place parchment paper between layers.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!