With a buttery shortbread base, a thick layer of Nutella in the middle, and crumble topping – these Nutella crumb bars are irresistible.
Last week I reshared my favorite strawberry crumb bar recipe. They have a buttery cookie base, a layer of sweet berry filling, and streusel on top. I had forgotten how much I love the recipe, and after all 3 of my sisters made them within a matter of days, I realized I needed to develop more variations and permutations.
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve made anything with Nutella – and hence, the idea for these Nutella crumb bars was born. The buttery base is not too sweet and balances perfectly with the chocolate hazelnut spread. You could think of these as a Nutella sandwich, only we’re replacing the bread with a buttery shortbread. The Nutella isn’t overwhelming – instead, you could think of it as comparable to the amount of chocolate in a chocolate chip cookie (if that makes sense).
The texture combination is pretty dreamy too. The base is soft, a little crumbly, and perfectly tender – just like you’d expect from shortbread. Then there’s slightly gooey Nutella in the middle, and the topping is deliciously crunchy. If you store the bars in the fridge, the Nutella center will be quite firm. But if you store the bars at room temperature, the middle will soften up a bit.
You’ll make the shortbread base first. Then the dough gets pressed into your lined pan, and pop it in the oven to bake. After about 20-25 minutes, the top should look set. Then remove from the oven and spread the Nutella over top. Sprinkle the crumb topping over top of the Nutella, then pop it back in the oven to bake. Be careful when adding the Nutella and topping though – the pan will be HOT! You can see this process pictured below:
Baking Tips & Tricks
- Shortbread always needs to start with high-quality butter. Margarine will not do the trick here. The butter should be softened, but not melty before getting started.
- Adding a little cornstarch to the shortbread base keeps it tender.
- This recipe will work in a 9-inch pan, however, the bars will be thinner. The base will bake for about 15-20 minutes (instead of 20-25), and after the topping is added it will only need to bake for 10 minutes.
- For clean, layered cuts – cool the bars 100% then place them in the fridge for 4 hours. Slice the bars with a sharp knife while they’re cold.
And for more Nutella treats, don’t forget:
Nutella Crumb Bars
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup Nutella*
- Preheat the oven to 325F (160C) degrees.
- Line an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang around the edges.
Make the Base
- In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour, cornstarch and salt. The mixture may be a bit crumbly, which is ok.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top looks set.
- Remove from the oven, leaving the oven turned on.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon.
- Stir in the melted butter - the mixture should be like wet/damp sand.
Assemble & Bake
- Spread the Nutella over the baked shortbread base. Be careful, the pan will be hot.
- Crumble the crumb topping mixture over top of the Nutella, squeezing it in your fist to form crumbles.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the top is golden.
- Remove from the oven and cool the bars fully in the pan. They should be completely cooled.
- Optionally, cover the pan and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour (after the bars have fully cooled) before slicing for cleaner cuts.
- When ready to slice, use the parchment overhand to lift the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Slice bars using a sharp, thin knife (not a butter/table knife).
- I do not recommend using homemade or natural chocolate hazelnut spread. It can separate and make the base layer oily and soggy.
- Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Nutrition info is based on 1 bar, assuming the pan is sliced into 9 equal bars.