Last Thanksgiving, when I made the meal on my own, I wanted something pecan-pie-ish, because Kendell loves it and my mom normally makes one. But as I was planning on an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and a berry pie, I didn't think we needed another pie.
(Plus I think pecan pie is sort of gross. The filling under the pecans is too Jello-esque to me. Yes, a caramel-flavored Jello texture, but still.)
So I did something novel and amazing: I made something with a recipe I had pinned!
Actually, I started with a recipe I had pinned, and then I tweaked it a bit, and I then I made pecan bars.
And, you know...everyone loved them. Even Mr. Picky Himself! (OK, take your pick, I'm not sure which boy of mine is officially Mr. Picky, although Kaleb is the closest.) It makes a pretty big batch and we snacked from the pan the entire weekend, and then I decided that I will always make pecan bars for Thanksgiving. I made them this year and took them to my sister's, with similar results: most everyone loved them. (Except for my niece, who doesn't like nuts, and when she told me that her husband piped in with a nut-related joke and then it went downhill from there!)
Then this week I had to bring a dish to share for our library Christmas party. Last year I won the cookie contest, and I sort of have a reputation for making good treats, a reputation I had to uphold. So I made the pecan bars again.
There wasn't a contest this year, but I think I would've won again if there had been. I'm not saying that because of my skills but because of the prodigious amazingness of the recipe.
Seriously. These are good pecan bars!
Here's the process with some photos, but if you scroll down to the bottom, you'll find a printable PDF.
1. Cream the butter, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla.
2. Add the flour. WARNING: It will puff up everywhere if you add it too quickly. Basically, you are cutting the flour into the butter/sugar mix. It will look like sand when you're finished (buttery, delicious sand.)
3. Press it into a 9x11 glass dish (which you've prepared by lining with tinfoil and spraying with Pam) and put it into the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.
While it is baking, make the filling. The strange thing about this is it takes almost exactly twenty minutes to make the filling. Unless you're not a ridiculously slow nut chopper. (No! I'm not afraid of kitchen knives now!*)
4. Chop the nuts. You want to measure them after they are chopped, which requires some guess work as to how many to pour onto the cutting board. That is OK.
I chop the first batch pretty fine, and then I toss them in the measuring bowl and chop a second batch to bring it to 3 cups, only I leave the second batch a little chunkier. Chopping nuts always makes me think about baking cookies with my mom when she was a kid. She always put walnuts in the cookies, and I remember one time trying to grab one while she was chopping. She pushed my hand away and said "that's a little girl who's going to get her finger cut if she's not careful" and then she gave me a walnut. I bet she doesn't remember that but for some reason I always remember it when I chop any kind of nuts.
5. Make the filling by first melting the butter and then pouring in everything else. Isn't it pretty?
6. Here's a tip. Use the little bit of left over butter on the wrapper to grease the cup you measure the honey with. It will slide right out of a greased cup!
7. Stir and mix and gently boil. When the crust is finished, pour the mixture onto the crust. Make sure you put the oven mitt back on before you pick the pan up. Seriously.
8. Bake for twenty minutes.
Another ideal thing about this: it takes about twenty minutes to wash all the mixer parts and the pans, put away all the ingredients, and wipe off the counters.
9. Cut into whatever sized squares you want. Or just leave a knife in the pan so your family can cut off nibbles and bites and pieces. Whatever works for you!
Here is the printable PDF: Download Pecan bars