cakes

Carolina Pecan Bars

Carolina Pecan Bars

Indulge in the delightful flavors of Carolina Pecan Bars, a sweet treat that never fails to satisfy cravings. With a buttery shortbread crust and a luscious layer of caramelized pecans, each bite offers a perfect balance of sweetness and nuttiness. These chewy bars, accentuated with a hint of saltiness, are a beloved favorite in any household, whether enjoyed as a dessert paired with vanilla ice cream or savored alongside a cup of coffee. Discover the joy of baking these irresistible bars and delight your taste buds with every mouthful.

Ingredients:

For the Shortbread Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

For the Pecan Filling:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Carolina Pecan Bars

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Shortbread Crust:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang for easy removal.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Cut in the cold butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cold water until the dough starts to come together.
    • Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare the filling.
  2. Prepare the Pecan Filling:
    • In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the brown sugar, honey, butter, heavy cream, and salt. Stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
    • Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil, without stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and chopped pecans until well combined.
    • Spread the pecan filling evenly over the partially baked crust.
  3. Bake the Bars:
    • Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and set.
    • Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, use the parchment paper overhang to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into squares or desired shapes.

How to Serve and Store:

  • Carolina Pecan Bars can be served warm or cold and are delicious on their own or paired with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
  • Store the bars at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. For longer storage, refrigerate the bars.

Tips for Improvement:

  • Ensure ingredients are at the correct temperature for optimal results.
  • Use high-quality butter and fresh pecans for the best flavor and texture.
  • Press the crust evenly into the pan to ensure even baking.
  • Boil the filling for exactly 1 minute to achieve the perfect consistency.
  • Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting for clean, neat slices.
  • Adjust the sweetness to taste by reducing the amount of brown sugar in the filling or adding spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for additional flavor.

Ideas for Serving:

  • Enjoy Carolina Pecan Bars as a delightful dessert or sweet snack for any occasion.
  • Pair with ice cream or whipped cream for an extra indulgent treat.
  • Serve alongside coffee or tea for a delightful afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Create a dessert charcuterie board featuring chopped pecan bars alongside other sweet delights.
  • Share homemade Carolina Pecan Bars as a thoughtful gift for holidays or special occasions.

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