Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Barefoot Contessa's Pecan Squares

The Barefoot Contessa’s Pecan Squares

Thanks to a very thoughtful early birthday present, I decided to make my absolute favorite Ina recipe inspired by my new cookbook.  I haven’t always loved the Barefoot Contessa, in fact at first I really didn’t like the idea of anyone being barefoot in the kitchen.  But her recipes are absolutely indulgent and amazing.  Some of them are a bit complicated but her focus on classic flavor combinations that sing is the most signature aspect of her cooking that makes all recipes so magnificent. 
I’ve made only a few minor adjustments here, mostly just to reduce the quantities.

Ingredients for the Crust:
2 sticks (8oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ salt

Ingredients for the Topping:
2 sticks (8oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup honey 
2 tblsp. half and half or cream
1 pound of rough chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Begin with the crust.  Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is light and whipped.  Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly mix in the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined.  

Then press the dough evenly into a greased 9 x 13 1-inch baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey and brown sugar in a 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 and then stir in the cream and pecans. Pour the whole mixture over the crust but try your best to make sure the mixture doesn’t go all the way to the edge of the crust so that it doesn’t spill over while baking. Bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut into bars and serve.


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