Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pecan Pie Bars

Do you like those tiny, bite-sized pecan pies that some very patient people make for teas and ladies' parties?  I do!  And I SO admire whoever takes the time to make them!  Somehow, they manage to line these itty-bitty cups with pie dough, then they must carefully pour just the right amount of filling into each one, and bake until just set-- not overdone or underdone!  These are skillful cooks, people!
Well, for the rest of us that LOVE anything pecan, but have neither the time nor the patience (and maybe even the talent! :) ) to make those cute little things, there are Pecan Pie Bars!  These are quick to put together, cut beautifully into sharp bars, and taste positively yummy!!!  Although I love the delicate miniature pecan pie, I cut these into rather large bars.  That way, you can tell yourself you'll eat only one :)
This is a recipe I adapted from "The Pastry Queen", a talented Texas chef!  She added coconut, and that's probably good, but it didn't seem "pecan pie-ish" to me.  Ha!  Everybody has their "hang-ups"!

Pecan Pie Bars (makes about 2 dozen big bars)
2.25 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt

6 large eggs
3.5 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbl. brandy or bourbon (optional)
4.5 Tbl. melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup flour
4.5 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1.5 cups pecans very coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray 9x15-inch jelly roll pan (or a 13x9 pan) with PAM.  
For the crust, mix the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer.  Add the flour and salt and mix until it forms a soft smooth dough.  Press the dough into the pan evenly and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Don't underbake.
Meanwhile, make the filling.  Mix the eggs and sugar together (you can use the same mixing bowl).  Stir in the rest of the ingredients.  
As soon as you take out the crust, pour the filling evenly over it.  Spread the pecans evenly if they don't behave.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set.
Cool at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares or bars.
Very good with vanilla ice cream also!

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