Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Caramel Pecan Bars

If you like pecan pie, you will love these!  Think pecan pie cookie... with caramel.  After the holidays, I didn't want to make pie.  Also, I hate making pie crust.  But it was a friend's birthday dinner and he loves pecan pie.  I had just watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa where she made these raspberry streusel bars that looked delicious.  The shortbread-esque cookie base was really easy; you could top it with just about anything.  These are also great because you can easily cut them into any size you want: giant, indulgent squares or petite, bite-sized treats.  You can easily make these the day before (insert event).

Caramel Pecan Bars
1 stick softened unsalted butter
1/3 C sugar
1 1/4 C AP flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C (heaping) chopped pecans
1 egg
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 Tbsp maple syrup (can be subbed with another Tbsp of corn syrup)
2 Tbsp loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp caramel, mine were probably generous Tbsp (plus more for after it is baked, optional)
Streusel (optional):
2 Tbsp quick oats
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt (I suggest sea salt)
1 Tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil

   Beat the butter and sugar together.  Add vanilla and salt, combine.  Add flour, incorporate.  It probably will not form a solid mass of dough., but it will stick together when pressed.
   Line a 9x9 baking dish with foil or parchment paper.  Lightly spray.  Press dough into pan and form a very small lip around the edge to keep in the filling.
   Combine all the filling ingredients, except caramel.  Spread over dough, but don't go all the way to the edge.  Drizzle caramel over the filling.
   Combine streusel ingredients.  Sprinkle evenly over the top.
   Bake at 350 deg F for 40-45 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan.  Remove from pan and cut.  Drizzle with more caramel right before serving.
   Serves 9-16.

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