Saturday, February 6, 2016

Southern Pecan Bars

Just a little square is plenty--

Pecans are best used when fresh.  Nothing is worse than eating a stale pecan.  Or any stale nut for that matter.

And I have ruined several recipes by not tasting the nuts first, going ahead and putting them in, and then being very disappointed with the outcome.  Plus nuts are expensive and I hate to see them go to waste.

So, I make an effort after the holidays to use up the partially opened bags, especially the pecans, which seem to go "off" quickly.

I found this recipe in the Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook. It had to be easy.  Something I could whip up easily.  Southern Pecan bars fit the bill perfectly.

"This recipe comes from Pillsbury's 5th $100,000 Bake-Off contest, which was run in 1954."

Southern Pecan Bars
(The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook, page 258)

Makes about 36 bars, 1.5 inches square

1 cup flour
1/4 t. baking powder
4 T. (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

For the topping:
2 eggs
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4  cup pecans, chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  (note from B: Be sure that your butter and eggs are at room temperature)
Grease a 9-inch square pan.

Sift together the flour and baking powder.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together for 3 minutes.

Add the flour mixture and continue beating until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Stir in the pecans and mix with a wooden spoon.
Pat firmly into prepared pan -- a measuring cups works well for making a compact, flat crust---
and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  It will be pale brown.
For the topping, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until foamy.
Add the next 5 ingredients (corn syrup through vanilla) and whisk until combined.
Pour over baked crust.
Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool in pan, then cut into bars.

I also made an almond variation using leftover almonds.  Substitute toasted almonds for the pecans, light for the dark caro syrup, and almond extract for the vanilla extract.


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