Yippee! It’s now totally acceptable to discuss holiday baking and what better way to start than with good ol pecans. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them I do know that. Currently being highlighted in store displays, pecans are totally having their moment.
So let’s take advantage. Of course there is the traditional pecan pie. And you can go that route, totally delicious. Or, you can shake things up a bit this year and make these lovely pecan bars.
I love them so much for so many reasons. They make a ton which is oh so perfect for company, especially when you don’t know exactly who will be dropping by. The crust is magical and heck yeah, no dough rolling. The sweetened pecans are slightly caramelized and have a hint of zip from the lemon and orange zest.
Oh and well, there is some butter in these. And by some I mean kind of a heart attack inducing amount but that’s OK. Because even pecan bars, in moderation, are 100% okay in my book. Especially in November.
- 1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- 1 cup good honey
- 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 pounds pecans, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. The dough will be super sticky, flour your hands to help. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned and allow to cool while you work on the topping.
- For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Increase the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and chopped up pecans. Gently pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. I typically refrigerate or stick outside to help this process. Cut into bars and serve.