Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Cookies I

Pecan Bars/Squares, not sure what the difference is other than maybe how one cuts the cookies? After running into Deb's review of these Pecan Squares, I decided they seemed quite appropriate for Thanksgiving this year. This cookie spread (I, II & III) is for my boyfriend's family...I hope they enjoy it. Unfortunately I won't be able to join him this year, I'll be staying in Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I heeded Deb's advice & opted to use another shortbread crust recipe. It was hard choosing something, since I lack experience with shortbread, but decided on Nicole's crust, it seemed simple & manageable, therefore lowering my screw-up probability. I had a difficult time deciding between the crust for her Lemon Meringue Bars or her Sour Cream Lemon Shortbread Bars. I would agree with Deb that the zest makes the cookies! I personally love citrus fruit zest. I gave my parents a small sample & they absolutely loved these bars!
Pecan Bars

1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest

6 tblspns butter, chilled & cut into chunks (freeze for 15 minutes)

1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp orange zest

1 tblspn heavy cream
8 ounces pecan halves (~1 cup), lightly toasted & roughly chopped
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Toast pecans, coarsely chop & set aside. Line bottom of 8-inch pan with parchment paper.
  • To make the crust, combine flour, sugar & lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor.
  • Pulse in butter until butter is well distributed & the mixture resembles moist sand.
  • Pour into a 8×8-inch baking dish & spread evenly.
  • Press down to create a firm, even layer. If necessary, use the bottom of a glass to press down on the crust.
  • Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until edges are slightly golden & set. Allow to cool.
  • Meanwhile, for the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, & zests in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir.
  • Raise the heat & boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Stir in the heavy cream & pecans.
  • Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan.
  • Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until the filling is set.
  • Remove from the oven & allow to cool.
  • Once cooled, wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.
**I think I may reduce the amount of butter for the topping next time. Since I did all sorts of things with sizing down & changing the recipe, the center crust was a little moist & definitely more buttery. I personally would like the center to be drier & more similar to the edges of the pan. Or I may try a different shortbread crust recipe next time.

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