Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pecan Squares

My sweet tooth has been in full force lately.  And really, what's up with that?  It's nearly 90 degrees every day with humidity through the roof - shouldn't I be craving fat-free juice pops or frozen grapes?  Seriously.  And it doesn't help that I happened to catch an episode of Barefoot Contessa last weekend, and she made the most amazing, out of this world pecan squares dipped in chocolate....holy, holy. 

So, three days later I was at the store buying raw pecans and pounds of unsalted butter to make these darn bars, because clearly I had convinced myself that I couldn't live without them.  That Ina, I swear. 

There were a few things I knew going into this, however.  I knew I wasn't going to make as many as Ina did, I wasn't going to dip them in chocolate, and I definitely wasn't going to cut them as big as she did.  The recipe she published is really like a triple batch in my mind.  It fills {well, it really overflows} a large jellyroll pan.  That's a lot of bars - especially for 2 people!  So, I did a little research to see if anyone had tried to halve the recipe to no avail.  I decided I was going to try it on my own.  Remember:  I am not a baker!

I ended  up halving everything on the ingredient list with the exception of a couple things in the crust.  The original recipe calls for 1 1/4 pounds of unsalted butter.  I ended up using 2.5 sticks of butter or about 3/4 pound.  It also calls for 3 extra-large eggs.  Since it's a little difficult to get 1.5 eggs, I used 2 medium eggs.  It worked perfectly.  Everything else I cut evenly in half.  Also, I baked mine in a 9x13 cake pan instead of a jellyroll.  I read numerous reviews from people complaining about the filling oozing over the sides and burning at the bottom of their oven - making for a nasty mess to clean up afterwards.  That didn't sound like fun so I used the cake pan to prevent that.  Worked like a charm!

These bars are worth every ounce of effort.  Give them a try!


Pecan Squares
Recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
Photos by A Toast to Taste

Ingredients Needed:

For the Crust
2.5 sticks unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 medium eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For the Filling
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1.5 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 pound pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray.

For the crust, beat the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl until light, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix the dry ingredients into the batter until just combined.  Press the dough into your 9x13 cake pan.  The dough may be sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands with a bit of flour.  Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is set - you don't want it fully browned.  Allow to cool.

For the topping, melt the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large saucepan over low heat.  Cook until butter is completely melted, using a wooden spoon to stir.  Raise the heat and boil for about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in heavy cream and pecans.  Pour over the crust.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set.  Remove from the oven and cool.  Cut into bars and serve.


  1. looks so delicious .. thanks for the ingredients .. love it .. keep it up ..

  2. I think you ARE a baker! These look fantastic and very dangerous to have around! YUMMMMMMM!

  3. They look incredible. I'm a fan of all things Pecan ;) Love the adaptation, attention to detail, and tips for success. Definitely a recipe I'll be trying out. ~ thanks for sharing, tom


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