Fact. Pecan bars are better than pecan pie. Mainly because pecan bars don't have that weird eggy, gooey center, but it's more than just that. These bars are built on a solid foundation of thick, buttery shortbread. Then, they're topped with a velvety caramel topping made with wildflower honey, brown sugar, butter, citrus zest, and lots (lots) of pecans. Fancy without the fuss, this recipe will make you a believer in just one bite.
This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten's Pecan Squares recipe and tweaked, slightly. Source.
Note: This recipe makes two batches, but if you would prefer thicker bars (as shown in image above), make one batch and increase the bake time at each baking step by 5-7 minutes longer.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press 1/2 the dough evenly into an ungreased 13" x 9" baking pan, ideally with at least 2-3" sides, so that the dough is about 1/2" to 3/4" thick. The dough will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.
For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or medium to large pot. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour 1/2 the pecan mixture over the crust. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Repeat with the second batch, same as directed above.
Once both batches have cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. When ready to cut, take the bars out of the refrigerator, let the bars come to room temp, then cut into squares. Cover the bars with plastic wrap and serve at room temperature.
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