Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Pecan Bars

Today I was cleaning out my refrigerator and freezers (standard and a chest freezer downstairs) obsessively yesterday (more on that in the next post) and found a whole big bag of pecans that I must have acquired around Christmas with the intention of making my mom's famous Christmas pecans. I obviously didn't do that, so I needed a new use for them. I settled on this recipe for pecan bars. As I explained to Erica, who has never even had pecan pie, this is kind of like pecan pie but doesn't have egg in the filling so it isn't as gooey, it's just more caramelly. The whole thing is delicious but I didn't love the addition of the egg to the shortbread crust and wished it were more like the crusts on this or this. Oh well. At least it isn't as unhealthy as this version! It was delicious and even my pecan-hating brother loved it. Hooray!


Pecan Bars
Everyday Food, December 2004

These buttery treats are made with an easy press-in-the-pan shortbread crust.

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter -- (1 stick) chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg -- lightly beaten

For the Filling:
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces pecans -- (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter -- (1 stick) cut into small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg; pulse just until a dough forms.

2. Transfer dough to prepared pan; with floured fingers and an offset spatula, press firmly into bottom and 3/4 inch up sides. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

3. Prick bottom of dough; bake until lightly golden, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool while preparing filling.

4. Make the filling: In a large saucepan, bring butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly, until smooth; continue boiling, without stirring, until slightly darkened, about 2 minutes.

5. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cream and salt; mix in pecans.

6. Assemble and bake: Spoon hot filling evenly over crust, using spoon to arrange and press in nuts so they fit snugly (create as flat a surface as possible).

7. Bake until bubbling and amber-colored, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

8. Using foil, lift cake from pan; peel off foil. With a sharp knife, trim edges (if desired). Cut into 6 even strips; cut each strip crosswise into 4 even strips to make 24 bars.

Yield: 24

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