Pecan Pie Bars

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Have you ever walked around on entirely numb feet? Well, let me tell you, it is so entirely not fun at all. In any way whatsoever. It is so incredibly painful. Like, I genuinely had to stop walking several times just so I could check that one of my bones hadn’t popped out of the bottom of my foot (it hadn’t). It really was that painful. It was also kind of embarrassing. I mean, imagine me walking up to the bus stop with a face displaying nothing but sheer pain & doing a weird hunched over limping shuffle type thing. It wasn’t pretty. Whatever tiny bit of street-cred I may have held before was now completely nonexistent. 

That’s when I began questioning my sanity. Why have I been claiming for as long as I can remember that this is my favourite time of year? Clearly all it brings is pain, embarrassment & the possibility of losing a toe to frost bite. The blasphemous thoughts were almost unending. Until I had a hot chocolate. With extra marshmallows. & a sprinkling of chocolate. Then I remembered some of the reasons I love this time of year: the food, the atmosphere, the warm feeling when you sit down in your cozy woolen jumper & sip on your hot chocolate. 

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& can we just talk about the food for a second? (Said she, on her food blog.) This time of year, the weeks leading up to Christmas, always brings about the best of the baked goods. For starters, people feel that baking during winter is more acceptable because, um, people need that little bit of extra warmth (hello, muffin top). Then, everyone fills their baked goods with the most delicious things available – pecans, caramel, maple syrup, chocolate (obviously), warm spices (cinnamon!), etc etc. If it’s delicious, it is baked during winter. That’s something I can get behind. I mean, what more could you want!?

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These Pecan Pie Bars are everything that one could ever want during the long cold days of winter. Feet numb from the cold? Pecan Pie Bar. Other half gone away for the weekend? Pecan Pie Bar. Avoiding that end of year assignment? Pecan Pie Bar. Study for exams? Pecan Pie Bar. Are you getting the message? These bars are good. Like, really good. So good that I’m fighting the urge to get one to nibble on again. We’re talking a thick buttery crust, covered with a gooey caramel layer that’s completely laden down with pecans. Yeah, it’s that kind of good. 

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You don’t really need me to go on any longer, you have eyes, you can see the deliciousness that these Pecan Pie Bars are. Do it, you know you want to. 

Makes 16 bars (inspired by Cookie Monster Cooking)

Ingredients 

For the base

  • 250g of butter, softened
  • ¾ cup of packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 ½ cups of flour

For the topping

  • 118g of butter, softened
  • ½ cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ½ cups of pecans 

Method 

  1. Line a 10×10 inch baking tin with tin foil, leaving an overhang. Lightly grease the tin with butter & set aside. 
  2. First, make the crust. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, salt, & butter together with an electric beater until light & fluffy. Add the flour into the bowl, 1 cup at a time, & beat until thoroughly combined. 
  3. Using your fingers, press the crust mixture into your lined baking tin, making an even layer. Prick the dough all over with a fork & leave in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill. 
  4. While the crust is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 175°C. 
  5. Once the crust has chilled for 20 minutes, place into the over & bake for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly golden in colour. When baked, remove from the oven & set the whole baking tin on a wire rack to cool. Also, turn the oven down to 155°C. 
  6. Now, the filling. Add all of the ingredients except the pecans to a medium saucepan. Place over a high heat & stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a boil. After it comes to a boil, stir constantly for 3ish minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of your spoon. As soon as it does, remove the pan from the heat & stir in the pecans. 
  7. Using a spatula, evenly spread the caramel & pecan mixture across the crust layer . Place into the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is ever so slightly bubbling. 
  8. Remove the pan from the oven & leave on a wire rack to cool completely. (Or, if you’re like me, put it in the fridge for some speedy cooling time.) Once cooled, slice up & serve. 


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