Friday, April 8, 2011
Pecan Pie Bars
I don't like to label myself, but did you know I'm "the weird girl"?
Did you know that when I take naps, I sleep with my head at the foot of the bed and my feet on my pillows?
Or that I get really grossed out when I find coffee grinds in the sink?
Or that I actually like doing the dishes? (But only when there are no coffee grinds involved. None. At all.)
Don't tell any of the virile 20-something men you know about these things. I need to keep all my options on the table. Because, you know. Who really wants a future wife who freaks out about coffee grinds?
If you could also not mention the fact that I still have fifteen cans of pumpkin sitting on my shelves (to which I may or may not have assigned names, dates of birth, and favorite colors, thus making it all the harder to actually use them) and that I crave pecan pie in the middle of April. And, you know. That I would be perfectly happy to live in a world where the only two months were October and November. That would be awesome, too.
In my opinion, though, when you crave something as utterly specific as pecan pie, you have no choice but to do something about it. Even if it's April. Even if, as of tomorrow, you are going to have to start studying for the medical boards for 12 hours every day (and yeah, I wish I was exaggerating too). Even if you are going to be running 26.2 miles on broken calves in a week. Even if you are going to start training for another marathon with Team In Training almost directly after that. Even with all of these weird, random things going on in your life. You just have to do it.
And with a recipe this rock-star good. You really have no excuse. There were lots of pecan pie bar recipes I could have chosen from, but what I liked about this one was that it used honey instead of corn syrup. I really hate using corn syrup. It makes me shake in really unattractive ways. Thus counteracting any kind of appeal that may arisen now that I am "the girl who makes pecan pie bars", weird notwithstanding. So, yeah. If you want to tell your 20-something virile male friends that. And leave out all the rest. And then send them to NYC by red-eye because I'm still looking for men whose arms I can fall into at the end of that marathon next week. That would awesome.
Pecan Pie Bars
Makes 1 9x13-inch pan, adapted from Gourmet
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz pecans (about 2 cups)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp half and half
1. Preheat oven to 350. Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces. In a food processor, process the first four ingredients (butter through salt) until mixture begins to form small lumps. Sprinkle into a 19x13x2-inch pan and with a metal spatula, press evenly onto bottom. Bake shortbread in the middle of the oven until golden, about 20 minutes. While shortbread is baking, prepare filling.
2. In a food processor, coarsely chop the pecans. In a heavy saucepan, melt butter and stir in brown sugar, honey and cream. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
3. Stir in pecans. Pour pecan mixture over hot shortbread and spread evenly. Bake in the middle of the oven until bubbling, about 20 minutes.
4. Cool completely in pan and cut into 24 bars. Will keep, covered, for 5 days at room temperature.