Friday, January 19, 2018

Butter Pecan Bars

It’s too early to start baking springy, citrus things, even though we have had some record breaking warm weather. I still have some gingery recipes that I want to make, too. January is hard because I am never sure what to bake. Many folks are trying to eat healthy, and even if you aren’t, you may be looking for simple foods after the excesses of the holidays. So what to bake? Well, bar cookies are always a good option.

This bar uses classic ingredients: pecans, brown sugar, chocolate. The bars were originally named Butter Pecan Turtle Bars. I thought the bars abounded good, but I don’t quite think they warrant the label of a “turtle” candy. I suppose that the butter and brown sugar filling is kind of like a caramel, but it isn’t at all like the caramel I expect in a turtle candy.

If you are expecting a thick, gooey bar, this isn’t it. These bars somehow contain a lot of ingredients but are relatively thin. Don’t let the thinness fool you, these are very rich! I think that they taste a lot like butter toffee, rather than a turtle. They are very buttery! The chocolate ganache topping does remain soft. Don’t be tempted to put the bars in the refrigerator to set, the chocolate would stiffen too much, and the bars would be impossible to cut. If you want to refrigerate the bars after they’ve been cut, that’s ok.

Butter Pecan Bars
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans

2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make the crust: in a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour and then the salt. The mixture will look like sand. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9” x 13” pan. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.

Make the filling: in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the filling over the cookie crust.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the bars are lightly browned along the edges. Allow the bars to cool for 30 minutes before making the topping.

Make the topping: place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Microwave the cream until just about to boil (about 60 seconds). Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Stir the mixture with a whisk until it is smooth and glossy. Pour the topping over the bars and spread with a small spatula into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle with the ¼ cup chopped pecans.

Allow the ganache to set before cutting into bars, at least 15 minutes.

Recipe from Bake or Break

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