Posts Tagged 'Pecans'

Pecan Bars

My mom and I have been working on our Thanksgiving menu for the past week or so.  Choosing our dishes for the main meal was a snap, but we got stuck on dessert.  I could think of at least five or six things I would love to serve, but we would have ridiculous amounts of leftovers.  (Leftover turkey?  Yes, please.  Two weeks’ worth of leftover pie?  Trouble.)  We finally agreed that we should have something pumpkin (Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter Dessert Squares), something apple (the Caramel Apple Pie I made last year), and something pecan (my dad’s favorite!).  As much as I enjoyed it the first time I made it, I knew I didn’t want to make Martha’s Maple-Nut Tart again after the struggle I had getting it out of the tart pan.  I found a basic recipe for Pecan Bars on her site, though, and thought they could be a fun, easy-to-serve option.

To make the crust, I used the paddle attachment on my stand mixer to beat together 2 sticks of unsalted butter, 1/2 cup of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt until light.  On low speed, I beat in 2 cups of all-purpose flour until the mixture formed a mass.  I transferred the dough to a 9 x 13-inch pan and used a sheet of plastic wrap to press it evenly into the bottom of the pan.  I discarded the plastic wrap and baked the crust at 375°F until golden (25 minutes).

While the crust baked, I made the filling.  In a small bowl, I whisked together 2 more tablespoons of all-purpose flour, another teaspoon of salt, and a scant 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.  Using an electric mixer, I beat 2 large, room-temperature eggs with 1 1/2 cups of packed light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of dark corn syrup until light.  I folded the flour mixture into the egg mixture, followed by 2 cups of pecans (coarsely chopped) and 1 cup of sweetened flaked coconut.

When the crust had finished baking, I gently spread the filling over it and baked until the filling was set (20 minutes).  Immediately after the pan came out of the oven, I ran a metal spatula around the edges and then set the pan on a wire rack to cool.  Once cool, I cut the bars into 24 servings.

Pecan Bars

First things first: If you’re into salty-sweet things (I am!), these bars are absolutely delicious.  You get a buttery, flaky, tender crust on the bottom, a chewy center, and oodles of coconut-pecan flavor.  If you don’t like sweet things, these may be too much for you; substituting unsweetened coconut for the sweetened coconut would dial things back a bit.

My only beef with this recipe is that it extolled the virtues of serving something that guests could hold in their hands.  Unless you’re into crumbs everywhere, there’s just no way.  I tried using several different kitchen tools (spatulas, bench scrapers, knives) to get a nice, clean edge when cutting the bars; as you can probably tell from my photo, things didn’t work out very well.  For better or for worse, crumbly deliciousness apparently equals mess.  If you served these on a plate, though, you’d be fine.  If you served them warm on a plate with ice cream, your guests might try to move in.  Choose your serving method wisely. 😉

Recipe link: Pecan Bars

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Fuel Cafe’s Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

I am pleased to report that I discovered another fantastic recipe for the high-altitude baking arsenal this weekend: Fuel Cafe’s Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Pecan Cookies.  I had practically given up on 5280‘s Cookie Jar column since the last recipe I tried fell amazingly flat (literally), but I think the magazine has redeemed itself.  I haven’t been to Fuel Cafe yet, so I’m not sure if the recipe results are an accurate representation of the real thing.  Regardless, they’re amazing.  Here’s the recipe:

Fuel Cafe’s Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Pecan Cookies
Makes 16 – 18 large cookies or 24 – 30 smaller cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened but not melted
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant)
2 cups mini chocolate chips
2 cups pecans, chopped and untoasted

Method:
Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar, and regular sugar for about 5 minutes.  Add salt and baking soda.  On low speed, add one egg at a time until incorporated.  Do not over-mix. Add vanilla.  Mix in flour at low speed until incorporated.  Do not over-mix.  Add oats, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans, only until combined.  (Over-mixing results in tough cookies.)

Scoop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet.  Fuel uses 1/4 cup dough per cookie, baked for approximately 11 – 12 minutes until golden brown.  For smaller cookies, use one heaping tablespoon each and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool briefly on baking sheet before transferring to wire cooling rack.

Fuel Cafe's Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

This is the first time I’ve made what I consider to be a truly successful chewy chocolate chip cookie here in Denver.  They’re so tasty.  They’re pleasantly nutty because of the pecans, there’s plenty of chocolate from the mini chips, and the oats make them dense.  The outside edges are crisp, but the centers are perfectly chewy.  Mmmm.  I sent what remained of my batch to Dr. O’s office this morning, and they’re getting rave reviews.  Give them a try!

TIPS:  I made a half recipe and portioned the dough using my 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop; I ended up with exactly 2 dozen cookies.  Each batch needed 10 minutes at 375°F at my house.  I also noticed that the cookies didn’t spread as much when I baked them on a shiny, light-colored, rimmed baking sheet; they spread a bit more on my flat cookie sheets.  I did line my sheets with parchment as the recipe suggested.

Recipe link: Fuel Cafe’s Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Pecan Cookies




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