Pecan bars are deadly...yet fabulous! I don't mean to scare you right off the bat, but the amount of butter and sugar and butter that goes into it? Yikes! You have to blame a lot of it on the pecans too, though. Pecans themselves are buttery calorific delights. But what can I say? They are just too darn delicious.
Now that I have cleared that out of the way, I found this version from Martha Stewart's Cookies. This recipe was created by John Barricelli (Martha's baking man that occassionally shows up on her show too) and I think they were a great choice for this baking occasion. My church asked for some baked goodies for the Christmas get-together thing and after a pretty traditional lunch (turkey and cranberries and ham) I thought nothing better than to finish it off with pecan pie...bars!
Make sure you keep your shortbread dough crumbly and not overbeaten, so that it would give a nice crumbly and soft texture.
I think I might have done something wrong or different than what was supposed to be done for the pecan filling part. In the picture of the book, the pecan filling is very glossy and full, but mine became quite dull after a day and less caramel-y looking. And.. the recipe call for a 9x13" pan, but it seemed that there was not enough filling. The pecans were quite bare for some of the parts. I'm not sure but maybe if I make it again, I might increase ever so slightly the filling amount (while keeping the pecans the same).
But the flavor was definitely all there. It was nutty and buttery and caramel-y and delicious! Mmm! And they smelled great!! People really liked these babies. (I saw one lady take about 5 pieces) Haha! Definitely will make this again.
Makes about 4 dozen pieces
from Martha Stewart's Cookies
for the crust:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (2 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups AP flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
2 cup (8 oz) pecan halves
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Make crust: Put butter and brown sugar into a bowl on an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on med speed until light and flufy. about 2 minutes. Mix in salt. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition. Continue mixing until dough to come together in large clumps.
2. Press dough about 1/4" thick into a 9 x 13" baking pan. Pierce the dough with a fork. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Reduce oven to 325F.
3. Make filling: Place butter, brown sugar, honey, granulated sugar, and heavy cream in a sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; stir in salt, nuts, and vanilla. Pour filling into the cooled crust.
4. Bake until filling bubbles, 15 to 20 minutes. Carefuly transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a paring knife around edges of the pan and invert onto cooling rack. Invert again onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1 by 3 " bars. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temp up to 1 week.
Okay and a random last picture. This is the view outside my door. Us Torontonians got a severe snow fall alert (which is why I stayed in all day, baking!). And boy did it snow out there. It piled up quite a bit. I mean, you can't help but admire the white fluffy sparkly stuff outside, but dear-oh, shoveling? Shoveling makes it not worth it no more. :( No more!