Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Cookie #1-Pecan Bars

It's December 1st and I am so excited to share this recipe with you.  I made them for Thanksgiving and loved them way to much (lets just say that I lost count at 5).  Pumpkin, cranberries, nuts and warm spices fill the air this time of year.  It is a fabulous time for baking because there is so much food inspiration everywhere!  I love the taste of pumpkin desserts but wanted to do something different.  Instead I thought that a nice and decadent Pecan Bar with a shortbread crust would be perfectly delicious.  I am always on the lookout for yummy recipes, especially this time of year when there are so many places to go and bring a great dish.

It is just something a little different but with the same wonderful flavors of the holiday season.  To make the pecan bars you will start with the shortbread crust.  Beat together 2 sticks and 2 Tablespoons of butter with 3/4 cup of brown sugar for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.  To that add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix well.  Then you will add a total of 3 cups of flour...1 cup at a time, making sure that each cup is incorporated before adding another.  It will be crumbly and look like this...

Press into a 9x13 pan that has been greased.  It should be an even layer about 1/4" thick.  Prick with a fork all over the crust and pop in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until cool.  Then bake at 375° for 16-18 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack until completely cooled.

For the filling you will add one stick of butter, 6 Tablespoons of honey, 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to a saucepan and cook on high until it boils.  Let it boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly and then remove from heat and add 2 cups of pecan halves and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Pour over cooled crust and put in a preheated 325° oven for 15 minutes or until bubbly on top.  Remove from oven and let cool completely (I let mine cool over night).

Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen bars and remove onto wire rack.  From there invert it back to a cutting surface and cut with a serrated knife.

I must say that I think I may have overcooked the shortbread a little bit (which is why I am having you only bake it for 16-18 minutes and not 18-20 minutes).  It gets baked twice so it doesn't need that much baking time.  The topping is amazing and the honey adds really nice touch.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.  Sweet pecans-J

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