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gimme some sugar.

Favorite holiday treats… go!

Chocolate covered pretzels.
Popcorn balls.
Peppermint bark.
Frosted sugar cookies.

And now, pecan pie bars.

After putting my fears of a molasses disaster aside, I made my first attempt at these sweet & salty treats over Thanksgiving.  I somehow managed to keep the sticky mess minimal and since they were such a hit, I decided to whip them up again for Christmas.

Delicious and festive?  Everyone wins.

My favorite part about this recipe is cutting them into bite size pieces.  A big slice of pie after a full meal can be intimidating and this way you’ll feel a little less full ..and guilty.  Even if you go back for a second.. third.. or fourth.  Shh, it’s the holidays, we won’t tell.

I’m easily intimidated by a baked goods recipe, so the first thing I do is get prepared.  Here is what you’ll need:

A small mixing bowl, multiple measuring cups & spoons, prep bowls(if desired), knife, whisk, spatulas of choice, a food processor & an 8×8 baking dish.

Plus your ingredient list:

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All-purpose flour, light brown sugar, molasses, salt, eggs, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, light corn syrup and toasted pecans.

Mmm, my mouth is already watering.

To start, heat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle.  Use foil to line the 8×8 baking dish and leave a few inches overhang on each side.  This helps tremendously in getting the bars out after baking.

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Next, let’s start the crust.  You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

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Combine the pecans, butter, flour, sugar & salt in the food processor.  If you have a smaller one like me, you can mix a little at a time, combining it all in a separate bowl after. In the end, the mixture needs to resemble course meal.  Press the mixture evenly into the baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly golden.

While the crust is baking and your kitchen begins smelling like holiday cheer, the filling can be prepared.  You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
    *The original recipe also calls for 1 tablespoon dark rum, but it is optional and I chose to leave it out.

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Whisk together the sugar, molasses, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, salt and eggs in a small bowl until well combined.  Once smooth, add the pecans and stir to coat.  Remove the baked crust from the oven and pour mixture over hot crust immediately.

Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes or until browned and set.  Hint: do not remove from oven until middle is set and does not jiggle when shook.

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Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing and cutting.  The longer it cools, the easier it will be to take the foil off and and cut.  During my first attempt, I let them cool for only a couple hours.  While it was cooled completely, the filling was still a bit gooey and harder to cut.  This time, I let them set overnight and had a much better experience.

I did cut this batch a little bigger than 1 inch and it resulted in 16 pieces.  if you stick to 1 inch, it should yield about 25.

Now, get your holiday platter out and serve them up!  I promise they will be gone in no time.

Recipe courtesy of Aida Mollenkamp on foodnetwork.com.  Click here for the original, printable version!
Pecan Pie Bars – Aida Mollenkamp – Food Network


Enjoy.

xoxo. a

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