Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vanilla Pecan Pie Bars

One of my favorite desserts is pecan pie! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE it, but never want to make a whole pie. So, I set out on a hunt to find a FABULOUS pecan pie bar. Luckily, I have found one on Cooks Illustrated, and could NOT wait to share it with you! This is so easy and a great dessert to bring along to those summer barbecues. Wow! They are even fantastic if you eat them hot with some ice cream! These were TO DIE FOR! SSOOO good!

Ingredients for the Crust
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
1/4 cup toasted pecans , chopped coarse
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Directions for the Crust
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise to measure 9 inches wide. Following illustration below, fit 1 sheet in bottom of greased pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan (overhang will help in removal of baked bars). Fit second sheet in pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place flour, brown sugar, pecans, salt, and baking powder in food processor. Process mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal, about five 1-second pulses.

3. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles sand, about eight 1-second pulses.

4. Pat mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake until crust is light brown and springs back when touched, about 20 minutes.

Ingredients for the Filling
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg , lightly beaten
2 cups toasted pecans , chopped coarse

Directions for the Filling
1. While crust bakes, whisk together brown sugar, melted butter, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until just combined. Add egg and whisk until incorporated.

2. Pour filling on top of hot crust and sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Bake until top is brown and cracks start to form across surface, 22 to 25 minutes.

3. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Remove bars from pan using foil or parchment handles and transfer to cutting board. Cut into bars.

1. Sometimes I have wondered if my baking powder is still good and have finally discovered a way to check it. So before you use your baking powder or go out and buy some new stuff, try this technique. Place about 2 teaspoons of baking powder in a cup of water. If the water fizzes right away, your baking powder is still good to go. If the reaction is delayed or weak, its time for some new baking powder.

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