Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

Have you ever agreed to something, volunteered for something, been volunteered by someone else for something? Then you realize all those things are in the same week and your mind explodes?

*raises hand*

I've gone through so much butter, sugar, eggs and flour in the past week and a half it's ridiculous. My mixer has been getting a good work-out, unlike me:). This past Saturday I made pecan bars for the lunch for the pioneers (This was one of the things someone volunteered me for:), I was happy to help though). I was a little nervous since I have never made them before, but I think they turned out really well.

When I think of a pecan bar I picture a flaky buttery crust, a soft sugary center (preferably with bourbon in it- yum!), and then a nutty crunchy top. These were a little more crispy/crunchy, the nuts were mixed into the sugar and butter topping so it was two layers instead of three. The crust was just as I imagined though, melt-in-your-mouth good:) I would like to try another recipe I found for them at some point, just to compare.

Pecan Bars

For the crust you will need:

  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for dish
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 13 by 9 inch baking dish with tin foil allowing an overhang about 2 inches off the sides. Butter the foil.

In a food processor, blend together flour, sugar, butter and salt until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add 2 tbsp cold water and mix until the down just holds together.

Press the dough into the bottom of the buttered dish and bake in oven until golden in color, about 20-25 minutes. *A big thanks to Matt, who found the piece that fits over the shute in the lid so things don't go flying out of it whenever I run it.*

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, brown sugar and a pinch of salt and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the corn syrup, flour and pecans and mix until just combined.

I need to show Matt that I actually use that Nut Chopper we registered for:)!! It is pretty nifty.

Spread the filling over the baked crust and bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan.

Remove from pan by pulling up the foil sides and putting it on a cutting board. Cut bars in desired size with a sharp knife and arrange them on a serving tray.

Tips and Reminders:
  • Make sure your butter for the crust is cold. Try not to handle it too much while cubing it, allowing it to soften. 
  • Fill a cup with cold water and a couple ice cubes to use for the crust. I added 1 tsp extra for it to come together. 
  • I checked it at 30 minutes and let it go to 35. This was a mistake. The edges were a little overcooked and I had to trim them off. Depending on your oven, I would go with the shorter time, it will continue to cook a little in the pan after you take it out of the oven anyway.


Source: Claire Robinson at FoodNetwork.com

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