Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Killer Dessert....Literally

I recently rented the dvd Julie and Julia and absolutely felt the urge to cook. I didn't want to cook from Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking though-just not my style. Lisa's sister in law is cooking her way through The Barefoot Contessa and has posted some awesome photos on her blog. Lisa was so thoughtful and gave me the cookbook for my birthday. After flipping through all of the recipes, I decided I was going to attempt the pecan bars. This dessert was deadly in two different ways. They are described as "pecan pie on a shortbread crust". As I was making a list of ingredients to pick up at the grocery store, I became curious about the nutritional value of these bars after realizing they called for 9 sticks of butter. I added it all up, and realized there was over 19,000 calories in the whole pan. WOW! They are delicious. Secondly, if you decide to make these, make sure to place a large pan underneath your baking sheet to catch the drips as it bubbles over. I failed to do this and my oven caught on fire and my house filled up with smoke. Isaiah though it was awesome. Ha Ha Ha. Not funny!

Ina Garten's Pecan Bars

* 1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 3 extra-large eggs
* 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt


* 1 pound unsalted butter
* 1 cup good honey
* 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

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