HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Cupcakes! We hope you are all enjoying bountiful feasts of food and plenty of dessert, like Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie and Cookies and Gingerbread and Cheesecake and Pecan Pie...
Well, actually. We have a small issue with Pecan Pie. More specifically, we have 4 issues with Pecan Pie.
First and foremost, it is WAY too sweet. Like, even for us, Blue-Eyed Bakers, who really like sweet things.
Secondly, there is no chocolate. There is no chocolate in any traditional Thanksgiving dessert which we see as kind of a major problem. Who invented a series of holiday desserts and didn't include chocolate? We'd like to have some words with that guy. Or gal. Either way. It's wrong. Chocolate should be required.
And thirdly, you can't really justify having more than one slice, unlike say cookies and brownies.
Like, if you take two slices of pie, people are all "that girl took two pieces of pie."
Not us, of course, we don't judge. Rather we would cheer you on and prolly give you a blue ribbon and it would make us feel better because we can never stop at just one piece of pie and um, hi, the more the merrier, right? It's Thanksgiving after all. Eating a lot is sort of in the rules.
But, other people, they might not be so nice.
Finally, pie doesn't travel well.
As a random example, if you were driving to New York for Thanksgiving and you wanted to snack on some pie...you know, to make sure it tastes good. You wouldn't want to serve bad pie! Obviously, you have to TRY some first. Duh.
But trying to eat a piece of pie while driving would be like trying to blow-dry your hair while showering. It's messy and potentially explosive.
But, we have found a way around all of these issues.
YOU ARE WELCOME.
Now you can enjoy multiple pieces of not-sweet pie dipped in chocolate and you can do so while driving (or walking, sleeping, running, playing Wii and drinking wine).
Something to be thankful for, no?
PS - All our fun packaging is from Garnish. We heart pretty packaging. In fact, December, here we come...
Pecan Pie Bars
Makes 24 bars
For the Shortbread Crust:
1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed, light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Pie Filling:
2 heaping cups of whole pecans
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed, light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Dipping (optional):
8 ounces good quality dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with parchment paper or foil leaving some excess hanging over the ends.
To make the crust, cut the butter into a 1/2-inch dice. Then, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process all the ingredients for the crust together (including the diced butter) until the mixture begins to form tiny lumps and appears downey, about 30-45 seconds. Tip this mixture into the prepared pan and using your hands or a big spatula, evenly press the shortbread crust into the bottom of the pan. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden, about 18-20 minutes. While the shortbread crust is baking, prepare the filling.
To make the filling, roughly chop the pecans. It's ok to have some whole pecans and some pecan pieces. Set aside. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, brown sugar, honey, cream and salt. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and pecans. Pour the pecan filling into the hot shortbread crust and spread as evenly as possible. Bake in the middle of the oven until bubbling evenly all over, about 12-15 minutes.
Cool completely, lift out of the baking pan using the overhanging parchment or foil and cut into bars. At this point, you can just start eating the bars, they are very tasty plain.
However, since we wanted to add chocolate, we dipped the cut and cooled bars in melted chocolate. We had some Dark Chocolate Orange on hand so we used that.
To do this, first, prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. To melt the chocolate, put 6 ounces of the chocolate and the oil together in a glass container that is taller than it is deep (this will make it easier to dip the bars) and heat in the microwave in 30-second increments stirring after each round. It took us about 1 minute and 15 seconds. When the chocolate is just melted, add the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate and stir until completely smooth and glossy. Dip the bars into the chocolate allowing the excess to drip off. Place on the prepared baking sheet to cool and firm up.
These bars will keep, covered, for 5 days at room temperature.