Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pecan Bars

I made these pecan bars for thanksgiving and they were a huge hit. I left the chocolate off, but I think it's make a great addition (especially if you drizzled just a little bit on).


I know the amount of butter is insane (and this recipe is actually cut in half from the original), but this recipe makes a ton of bars and sometimes it's just nice to indulge. And by indulge, I mean clog all your arteries.

The first time I made this recipe I made the whole recipe in a sheet pan like the recipe called for. Please, whatever you do, don’t do that. Not only did I make a huge mess in my oven, but a good portion of the bars were inedible since they essentially cemented themselves to the sides of the pan. This recipe though, is perfect for a 9 by 13 pan. You can either slide some strips of parchment under the sides of the crust or just foil your pan. I did the latter, and not only was it easy but it made removing the bars super easy.

Pecan Bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:
18 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

For the topping:
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 lb. pecans, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 9×13-inch baking pan. The dough will be very sticky, so you can use a piece of plastic wrap around your fingers to help prevent the dough from sticking to you. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

Once the crust has cooled a bit, it will have shrunk away from the sides of the pan. Cut long, thin strips of parchment paper and stick them between the crust and the pan. This will help prevent the filling from oozing underneath the crust, and from sticking to the pan.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar and citrus zests in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and chopped pecans. Pour over the crust.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve. Once cooled, dip half of each bar in melted chocolate and allow to set on wax paper, if desired.

Adapted by Annie's Eats. Original recipe and picture from Ina Garten.

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