We’re less than 24 hours away from the biggest food day of the year, when our stomachs face off against tryptophan and our skinny jeans get the heave-ho in favor of sweatpants. Are you ready?
I’m just about to board a plane to head home to San Diego, where my parents have been feverishly at work ironing table runners, writing place cards, and preparing to welcome a dozen family members and friends at our Turkey Day table. The infrared turkey fryer has been fetched from its spot in the garage. The 24-Hour Salad is on hour 14. And the Pumpkin Bars are ready for slicing.
There is a whole lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, as it’s been a crazy amazing couple of weeks. I was able to share with you the news about the release of my book, and just last Friday my sister learned she’d passed the California State Bar Exam (high-five for free legal advice for life!). I made these Pecan Pie Bars in her honor. Get it? Bar exam … Pecan Pie Bars … in her honor. Oh boy.
Ever since writing the book, I’ve discovered my affinity for food puns has reached that delicate line between hilariously witty and seriously annoying. But at least I’m sparing you the physical pain of dealing with pastry dough, because these bars pack the classic pecan pie flavor sans all the chilling, rolling and blind-baking that accompanies a golden brown crust. And in the event you’re wondering just how you’ll have enough room for dessert after feasting on turkey, stuffing and sides, you can learn to gorge like a legit professional in my latest Gourmet Live article, A Competitive Eater’s Guide to Thanksgiving Overeating.
Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and all of your favorite foods!
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Pecan Pie Bars
Yield: 12 - 16 servings
- For crust:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For topping:
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9x13-inch pan with foil, leaving enough for a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
- First make the crust by creaming together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add in the flour and salt and mix until crumbly.
- Press the crust into the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a saucepan and stirring it over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 1 minute, then stir in the chopped pecans.
- Remove the crust from the oven and immediately pour the pecan filling over the hot crust spreading it to cover the entire surface.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan and allow the bars to fully cool in the pan.
- Use the foil overhang to lift out the bars and transfer them to a cutting board. Peel off the foil, slice into bars and serve.
Filling recipe adapted from Gourmet.