Pecan Bars – bite size!

November 10, 2010

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Thanksgiving is around the corner and I always bake, among many other things, my “famous” pecan pie.  My mother-in-law LOVES pecan pie and Thanksgiving, generally, falls on or around her birthday. Pecan pie usually adorns our dessert table – with a candle in it while nine adoring grandchildren, sing happy birthday to their “nana”!

I have been making this recipe for about 20 years and it just gets better with age.  Originally, I followed the recipe, exactly.  Then, as the years went on, I realized that I didn’t like the crust and worked really hard to find the right balance between the dry ingredients, the fats, and the wet ingredients.  I now have one basic pie crust that I use pretty much for all pies and tarts. And the filling evolved as well.  I now make it more like a tart rather than a pie.  Makes eating a small slice much more friendly.

I wanted to experiment a little this year and had an idea to make bite sized pecan bars.  I reinvented the filling for my pecan pie and made these in a 13″ x 9″ pan.  These bars have a shortbread crust and I replaced the white sugar with sucanat.  This is not my original pie filling, but it is a pretty good version of it.

I loved these bars. I am going to make them one more time before Thanksgiving and make them in mini muffin tins.  They will be more like a “tassie” rather than a bar. I think I am going to wrap these up, in little individual boxes and give to all the kids teachers as a little pre-Thanksgiving treat!

Pecan “Pie” Bars
yields: 32 mini bites

ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sucanat (or white sugar)
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup organic butter, cut into cubes
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 3/4 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

instructions:
for the shortbread:
• preheat oven to 350*
• butter a 13″ x 9″ metal pan.  line with parchment and butter the parchment.
• combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your food processor.  pulse a few times.  add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
• press dough evenly into prepared pan.
• bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the edges of the dough are light brown.
for the filling:
• while the crust is baking, combine the sucanat, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup of butter in a heavy bottom pan.  bring to a boil over low to medium heat.  Once boiled, immediately remove from heat.
• beat eggs in a medium bowl.
• ladle a small amount of the mixture into the beaten eggs.  do this a few times to temper the eggs (so they don’t scramble and cook on you).  once tempered add the rest of the hot mixture to the eggs and combine.
• stir in the pecans, salt, and the vanilla.  mix thoroughly.
• pour over cooked shortbread
• bake for 32-35 minutes or until the filling no longer jiggles when you shake the pan.
• cool completely on a wire rack.  once cooled set in fridge for about an hour.  this makes cutting them a bit easier.  cut into desired size bars or bites.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda November 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I have never seen these as a bar!!! How creative! And beautiful!Blessings-Amanda

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2 marla {family fresh cooking} November 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I appreciate the small size and the fact that you used sucanat as sweetener in these pecan bars. I think each one deserves a candle! xo

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3 Maria November 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I love the shortbread crust! Great treat.

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4 ♥peachkins♥ November 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm

WOW! looks heavenly…

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5 Beth November 10, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Susan These little cuties look amazing. I love how recipes evolve over the years and knowing that you have reworked and created these make me know that I will try them. Funny how I’m starting to bake more since this group began. Just another positive. Thanks for the post…B

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6 Eliana November 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Forget Thanksgiving! I could enjoy these wonderful bites all year ’round.

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7 Jennifurla November 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I love all the layers, what a nice treat

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8 Hazel November 10, 2010 at 6:34 pm

I have never cooked with sucanat before but recently in my lectures I have been learning about the flavour and hygroscopic properties of less refined sugars. I must get back into baking and start using some! It will definitely be in the pecan pie I make for Thanksgiving :)

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9 Cathy @ ShowFoodChef November 11, 2010 at 10:20 am

I’m a big sucker for any food in bitesize, and then add pecans to that and I’m a goner. This looks like a great way to serve a lot of people at once. Love it.

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10 Cathy @ ShowFoodChef November 11, 2010 at 10:20 am

I’m a big sucker for any food in bitesize, and then add pecans to that and I’m a goner. This looks like a great way to serve a lot of people at once. Love it.

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11 Kim November 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

These bars are probably soooo gooogg! here we love pecan pie too!

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12 lacasitainspirada November 11, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Pecan pie is one of my thanksgiving favorites… what a great idea to put it into a bar- That means I can eat it as a snack, too!! ;)That first picture is great!

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13 Paula {Salad in a Jar} November 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Better than candy! Small size is good portion control too.

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14 Carolyn November 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I have a fantastic pecan bar recipe too, that I have been making for years for Christmas. This year, I am planning on attempting to make it low carb. Wish me luck! I am guessing it won’t quite turn out as delicious as yours…but low carb beggars can’t be choosers ;)

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15 jami November 16, 2010 at 2:50 pm

These look delicious! Can’t wait to try them. (I’ve never heard of sucanat, though… is it readily available?)

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16 Amanda November 24, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Made these last night and LOVE them!!!

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17 Andrea November 16, 2011 at 11:29 am

these look so good. I must make them. thanks for sharing

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