Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pecan Bars

My catering life has come back to haunt me this month with three events in one month!  Fortunately for me I enjoy all aspects of catering, with exception to the clean up, especially building the menu.  Tracking down recipes for menus is such fun, I really enjoy it.  Over the years I have come to learn what goes with what and what will keep, etc.  It just kind of comes to you after you do it for a while.  The evolution of this love for cooking has brought me to discover ways to make things simple and yet very tasty at the same time which was not always the case for me.  Kendra and I once made chocolate Truffles for valentines day and sold almost 1,000 of those suckers!  I still do not want to see a chocolate truffle and it's been almost 7 years!

Today I had the privilege of making desserts for the area minister's luncheon at church.  I was asked to bring cookies, different types of cookies.  I knew immediately that I was going to make these cookies.  I wasn't really keen on baking two other batches of cookies, so I decided on bar cookies instead.  Much easier and just as good.  I made Dolce Bars, which the recipe will be coming soon it's on my list--promise, for those who don't like chocolate or nuts, but do have a sweet tooth.  These bars are topped with a browned butter frosting that is just to die for.  I would eat cardboard if it had this frosting atop it.  I've always had in my head: something chocolate, something not, something nutty, something not as a rule of thumb for catering to groups.  The dolce bars helped mark two of those off the list.  So what about something nutty?  Pecans. Yes.  That's nutty and universally popular with every nut lover I know.  But that led to the problem.  I'm not very proficient at making pecan bars and believe me I've tried.  Today.  Today is the day that I can safely say I no longer have no pecan bar in my arsenal because I have these.

These pecan bars couldn't be any easier and  I would challenge anyone to find one that tasted better, as arrogant as that sounds. They hit all the nerves that a pecan bar should hit being buttery, gooey, nutty, somewhat salty, somewhat sweet, and delicious.  The ingredient list is short and the preparation is perfect for beginning cooks or children who are wanting to learn how to cook.  I hope you agree that these are great, too.

Pecan Bars


One box Yellow Cake mix
1 stick butter 
1 egg


3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
One can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
One bag toffee bits (readily available in most stores by they chocolate chips)
One egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 15x10 jellyroll pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray very generously, set aside.

In a medium bowl, add ingredients for crust mixture and stir to combine.  No need for a mixer a wooden spoon will do just fine.  When well combined dollop onto the jelly roll pan and press to cover the pan.  Buttering your fingers or dipping in water will help your fingers not stick to the dough.  

In another medium bowl (or rinse out the one you just used) combine all the ingredients for the filling making sure to combine them well.  Pour over the crust mixture and spread evenly.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool before slicing.  You can dust with powdered sugar if you want but I didn't.  

Note:  I think I'm going to try these in a somewhat smaller size pan, not that they are bad as they are, but to see how the crust/filling turns out thicker.  I also think these would be unbelievable made in a mini-muffin pan like you would make pecan tassies.  

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