SHORTBREAD CRUST

1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar (try brown sugar)
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

TOPPING

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/-1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound pecans, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F.

  2. For the crust, beat the butter and granulated (brown) sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes.

  3. 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.

  4. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased baking pan. 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.

  5. For the topping, combine the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan.

  6. 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.

  7. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the filling is set. (Pecan bars should be a little wiggly when done, just not jiggly. They will set up as they cool.

  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.

HELPFUL HINTS

  • The dough will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and hands lightly with flour.

  • Try chopping pecans in a food processer to make easy work of the prep or buy chopped pecans.

  • Let bars cool completely before cutting (prefer to refrigerate overnight).

  • Use a sharp knife to cut the bars.

  • Use parchment paper to line the pan. When they are done cooling you can lift the bars out of the pan by the parchment and cut on a cutting board.

  • They freeze perfectly. Wrap in gallon size freezer bag with sheets of parchment paper between stacks of bars.