Chocolate Pecan Bars & a Hike

IMG_3269 His there–  Here is a batch of chocolate pecan bars that we took down to my brother’s house for an after-the-fact Thanksgiving on Sunday.  We hiked down together into Wood Canyon, with views across the hills and through stands of old California Oaks.  After the hike we headed back home for that traditional Thanksgiving fare– tacos!  And pecan bars.  It was a grand day together.

CHOCOLATE PECAN BARS

CRUST
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

With a mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar until creamy.  Then beat in the flour and salt until it’s crumbly.  Press the dough into an 8″x8″ pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

TOPPING
1/4 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tab. honey
1 tab. cream or half & half
1 rounded cup of chopped pecans
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Meanwhile, as the crust is cooking, drop the butter, brown sugar, honey and cream into a heavy pan.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture simmers for just one minute (no more!).  Take it off the heat and stir in the pecans.  Spread the the pecan mixture over the half cooked crust and sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the top. Return it to the oven for 20 more minutes.  Cool them as long as you can stand to wait, before cutting them into neat little squares.  Delish!

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Hikers ready to take to the trails…  Thanks for the great day Mark and Joanne!!

Cream Cheese Pecan Bars

IMG_2584Hello there–  I’m saying right up front that pecans are my favorite kind of nut– and I am pretty nuts about all nuts in general.  (does that make sense?)  So take a pan full of pecans and layer them over a little cheese cake and a graham cracker crust and you’ve go a delectable winner.

Made these bars for friends last week, and I’m reluctant to admit that I kept nibbling away at the leftovers and ate most of them right out from under Larry’s nose.  They were THAT good.  (sorry Larry).  All that to say– I think you should try them.  I loved, loved them!

CREAM CHEESE PECAN BARS

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 4)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tab. butter, melted

Cream cheese filling:
8 oz. cream cheese*
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk (0r half & half)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. flour

Pecan layer:
1 cup chopped pecans (or a little handful more if you love nuts like I do!)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tab. butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
pinch of salt

IMG_2588Crush the graham cracker crumbs in a bag with a rolling pin or in your food processor.  Then in a bowl, stir them up with the sugar and 4 tab. melted butter.

Spread the moist crumbs over the bottom of a 7″x11″ pan (or a 9″ square) that has been sprayed with cooking spray to make a even thin layer.  Then put it in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes while you whip up the cream cheese layer.

With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and sugar to a smooth paste.  Then beat in the eggs, milk, vanilla and flour.  Pour the mixture over the crust gently (so you don’t disturb the crust) when it comes out of the oven.

Pop it back into the oven for 25 minutes just until the cream cheese is set.  Then take it out and let the cream cheese layer cool for 20 minutes.

Next stir together the pecans, corn syrup, 2 tab. melted butter. brown sugar, 1 egg and salt.
Carefully spoon the pecan mixture over the cream cheese layer and send it back to the oven for another 20 to 25 minutes until the pecan layer is firm.

Let it cool an hour or so and then put it in the fridge to set up so you can cut it into neat little squares. (they do taste better chilled right out of the fridge)

A little whipped cream would turn it from cookie bar to full fledged dessert!!

Pecan Pie Bars

Hello all–  I know, I know.  At Thanksgiving everyone lines up for the pumpkin pie.  It’s OK, I guess– if there are piles of whipped cream on top.  But my real favorite on the Thanksgiving table is pecan pie, sweet and crunchy, with all that gooey filling and a tender crust.  Well, why wait for Thanksgiving?  I made up these “better than pumpkin pie” pecan bars for my Monday friends, and they were so yummy!

PECAN PIE BARS

CRUST
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

With a mixer, combine the butter and brown sugar until creamy.  Then beat in the flour and salt until it’s crumbly.  Press the dough into an 8″x8″ pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

TOPPING
1/4 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tab. honey
1 tab. cream or half’n’half
1 rounded cup of chopped pecans

Meanwhile, as the crust is cooking, drop the butter, brown sugar, honey and cream into a heavy pan.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture simmers for just one minute (no more!).  Take it off the heat and stir in the pecans.  Spread the the pecan mixture over the crust and return to the oven for 20 minutes.  Cool them as long as you can stand to wait, before cutting them into neat little squares.  Delish!