Saturday, October 27, 2007

super easy caramel 'n' chocolate pecan bars

This recipe got raves at a party last night, and it was so simple to make that I just had to share it with you. I got the recipe out of a magazine insert from Land O' Lakes butter. If every person in the country makes this butter-loaded recipe just once, the CEO of Land O' Lakes will be able to retire.

It's a simplified recipe for pecan bars, with no precooking of the crust nor caramelizing of any sugar. It takes at most 20 minutes to get the bars into the pan, and only another 20-30 minutes to bake. The only time component to take into consideration is cooling time. Once it's cooled down a bit, pop it into the refrigerator to speed the solidifying of the topping. But beware ... if it gets completely cold, it will be really hard to cut. Either cut about an hour after it goes into the fridge, or bring it to room temp before cutting.

2 c all purpose flour (I used 1 c King Arthur Flour white whole wheat, 1 c KAF all purpose unbleached)
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c salted butter
1 c pecan halves (didn't have any, used sliced almonds, very good!)

2/3 c salted butter
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 c semi sweet chocolate chips

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine all crust ingredients except nuts in bowl (of mixer or food processor)
  • Beat at medium speed until mixture resembles fine crumbs (it will look dry)
  • Press onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9 baking pan
  • Spread nuts evenly over unbaked crust
  • combine 2/3 c butter and 1/2 c brown sugar in 1 quart saucepan
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until entire surface of mixture begins to boil. Boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
  • Pour mixture evenly over nuts and crust.
  • Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until entire caramel layer is bubbly, rotating pan halfway through. Do not overbake.
  • Remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle with chips; allow to melt slightly. Swirl melted chips over bars, leaving some whole for marbled effect.
  • Cool completely. Cut into triangles or squares.
Makes 36 bars