Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chocolate-dipped Pecan Bars

Originally I wanted to make these little cuties for Thanksgiving but Josh just had to have pumpkin pie and I only had time to make one dessert. So I finally was able to try this recipe out today after a long busy week at culinary school!

Pecan pie on its own is really delicious but the addition of chocolate just makes even better. The fact that these are bars instead of a standard pie, adds a whimsical note to them. They can be dipped in chocolate, drizzled on top, completely submerged- the possibilities are endless with chocolate.

I took this recipe even further and sprinkled some pink himalayan salt on the tops of a few, which really takes the idea of decadence to a whole new level. The combination of caramel, chocolate and salt is like no other and because this dessert is so sweet and buttery, that extra salty bite balances very well with the other flavors.

Be prepared: this recipe calls for over 2 lbs of butter, and makes dozens of small sized squares so its great to bring for a holiday party!

Chocolate Dipped Pecan Squares
(adapted from Ina Garten)

Shortbread Crust
- 1 1/4 lb unsalted butter, room temp
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt

- 1 lb unsalted butter
- 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup honey
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 lbs pecans, coarsely chopped

- 1 lb block of baking chocolate, any cocoa percentage [I used 72% dark]
- 1/2 tsp pink himalayan salt [sea salt, or fleur de sel would work too]
- 2 pats of butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 12 x 18 x 1 half baking sheet
For the crust, in a mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time and beat well until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add to the wet mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Dump the mixture onto the baking sheet and press out with your fingers to form an even layer. This dough is sticky so dip fingers in flour first to help out.

Bake for 15 minutes until set. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  In a larger saucepan melt the butter over low heat with the brown sugar and honey. Once melted, turn the heat up to high and boil for 3 minutes. [*This is not the time to walk away]

After its boiled, remove from heat and slowly add the vanilla and heavy cream. It will bubble up viciously and might splatter so stand back. Stir to incorporate. Add in the pecans [*Note: After making this, 2 lbs pecans is too many for my taste, next time I would add half the amount]

Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and cover and refrigerate to set it.

Cut into squares, as big or small as you like.

To make the chocolate heat a saucepan with water ( about 1/2 way up) and create a double boiler with a heat-proof bowl [*Pyrex works great].

Chop up the chocolate and bring the water to a simmer. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Add the chocolate and 2 pats of butter to the bowl and stir gently until its melted. Turn off the heat once melted, but leave over the water. Dip each piece in chocolate and set on a greased wire rack to cool.

Sprinkle some with salt if desired.


1 comment:

  1. i wish i wasnt allergic looks yummy! xxoo leeat