Friday, December 24, 2010

One Baking Day Left Til Christmas


These Creole Pecan Praline Bars are addicting, delicious and, while I didn't find the recipe on a hand-written vintage card, are from a very old New Orleans recipe,  according to Maida Heatter, a fabulous pastry chef and cookbook author, and whose recipe I've adapted here.

While not strictly a Christmas treat, these beauties look lovely nestled in a tin filled with cookies, candies and other holiday sweets.  They're easy (if tedious) to prepare and are an simple way to impress friends, family and gain weight.


I used to make a big tray of these every week for a local cafe, and I must warn that placing individual pecans precisely on the expanse of bottom crust can conjure up images of The Yellow Wallpaper.  Call a friend or listen to NPR while doing this task; your mental health will thank you.

Right out of the oven, the tray is a field of pecans and sugar.

Creole Pecan Praline Bars

Crust
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 t. sald
2 c. packed light brown sugar
4 c. all purpose flour
about 4 cups of large, unbroken pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a half sheet pan (app. 13 x 17) with aluminum foil, with some extending beyond all edges.
Beat butter til soft in an electric mixer.  Add salt and sugar, beat.  Add flour and beat for a minute or so until the ingredients form tiny crumbs that will held together when pressed between your fingers.
Tun the mixture into the prepared pan.  With your fingers/hands spread to form a level layer, then press down firmly to form a compact layer.  (I used a straight-sided drinking glass as a rolling pin to even it all out.)
Next, place the pecans halves on the crust, flat side down, all in the same direction.
Now, make the topping.

Topping
3 sticks unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar

Put both ingredients in a saucepan with an 8-cup capacity, and stir over high heat with a wooden spatula until the mixture comes to a hard boil all over the surface. Continue to stir over the heat for 30 seconds.
Remove from heat and pour the hot mixture all over the pecans, trying to coat the entire surface.
Bake for 22 minutes.
Remove from oven, let cool and then refrigerate until cold.
Lift the bars from the sheet pan and lay on a flat surface to cut.
Enjoy.  Watch the pounds creep on, they're that good.

You can cut them into mini squares or make them larger.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the recipe! I think I'll make these for a New Year's day potluck...
    ~deenie in MN

    BTW< thanks for the Yellow Wallpaper reference...and the nice Little House memories

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  2. Denise: And my husband said that no one would get the Yellow Wallpaper reference!! And do make these; you won't be disappointed. Thanks so much for the comment.

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  3. how funny -- I have this book in my backpack! They were giving out free copies at the library today.

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