Friday, January 8, 2021

Pecan Bars

It is about time.  

When I taught a class on business presentation skills, we did an exercise where we focused on accentuating a different word in the same sentence.  The speaker would change the emphasis, tone, and volume and it varied the meaning of the sentence, even though it included the same words.

IT is about time.

It IS about time.

It is ABOUT time.

It is about TIME.

While I have them, I tend not to espouse my political or philosophical beliefs on the blog because 1) cooking and baking is apolitical and 2) I recognize and accept that we may have different views.  Over the years I have tried to not let that influence my relationships with others – although at times it took an awful lot of patience and determination not to write people off.  That would have been the easy path but I refuse to cancel people out simply because we have different opinions.  But make no mistake, words and where you put the emphasis matter.

In the new year, it is about TIME.  Where will we choose to spend our time?  With whom will we allocate our most precious resource?  How can we use our time to incite good and benevolence and respect and listening and honesty? 

Alison shared this recipe from Once Upon a Chef with me.  Although we are working to wean ourselves from the sugar rush of the holidays, this one is too decadent not to share.


For the crust:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the filling:

  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped pecans

To make the crust:

Cover a 9-inch square baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Push foil neatly into corners and up sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure it overlaps all edges (the overhang will help removal from pan). Spray foiled pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the flour, cornstarch, confectioners sugar and salt in a bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size clumps of butter within. It will seem dry; that's okay. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the bottom. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. While the crust is in the refrigerator, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F. Bake the crust until crust is set but not browned, about 17 minutes. Set on rack to cool. Leave oven on.

To make the filling:

In a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil gently for 3 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and chopped pecans.

To assemble:

Pour pecan mixture over crust (it's fine if the crust is still warm). Bake until filling is bubbling and caramel in color, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on rack. To cut, use the foil overhang to lift baked square out of pan and onto cutting board. Loosen the foil from the edges, then cut with a sharp knife into 2-inch squares. Store finished pecan squares in air-tight container and serve at room temperature.


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