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Pecan Brittle Bars {Recipe}

pecan chocolate bar cookie recipeI don't know what I was thinking when I signed on to the International Blogger Cookie Exchange 2011. My family eats sweets slowly; cookies, brownies and the like often become stale before we eat a whole batch. I am so grinch-like that I don't even have a Christmas cookie tradition. But I did sign up and receive a recipe for pecan chocolate bar cookies from Diana of Cookerati.

I made the cookies with a few adaptations. I halved the recipe to fit my baking pan and to prevent waste if they sat around too long. At Lil's suggestion, I increased the chocolate. The recipe below reflects the light brown sugar and white whole wheat flour used because that's what I had on hand.

The resulting bars are salty and sweet, rich and snappy. I have a hard time classifying these bars as cookies because the overriding crispy sweetness reminds me more of candy - good homemade candy. A small square is a filling dessert. I think the name Pecan Brittle Bars better reflects the taste and texture of this recipe.

I wasn't kidding that we don't eat cookies quickly; this batch is still going strong after four days. Brittle bars would definitely keep well for a mailed package.

I wish I could say that the recipe exchange changed me into the Christmas Cookie Queen but it didn't. I'm still a salty smoky gal. I do thank Diana for sharing a tasty recipe I will surely make again.

chocolate pecan brittle bars

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Pecan Brittle Bars Adapted from Cookerati's adaptation from Fine Cooking Annual Cookbook, 2007

Makes: 12 2x2 inch squares Time: 30 minutes cooking, 15 minutes baking

1 1/2 cups raw pecans

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces 1 cup unbleached all-purpose or white whole wheat flour 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp table salt

1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli brand)

for the brittle: 1/4 cup unsalted butter 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 2 1/2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk 1/4 tsp table salt

1) Position a rack in the center of the oven at 350 degrees F.

2) In a skillet over medium heat, roast pecans until just browned and nutty smelling. Remove from heat and pulse in food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.

3) Put butter in a food processor bowl (don't bother to wash from the pecans) along with flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Pulse until combined.

4) Scatter the dough into an 8x8 or 6x10 inch baking pan and press evenly over the bottom.

5) Bake the base until firm and lightly browned, approximately 20 minutes.

6) Remove from and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Set pan aside but don’t turn off oven.

7) As the cookie base bakes, in a saucepan melt the butter, then stir in the brown sugar, honey, cream and salt.  Simmer for a minute stirring occasionally.

8 ) Turn off the heat and stir in pecans.

9) Pour the mixture over the cookie base, spreading evenly.

10) Return to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling throughout, about 12 – 15 minutes.

11) Let cool completely in the pan.

12) Cut carefully into squares. I found scoring the top with a butter knife and then pressing down for a second pass worked best.

13) Keeps, covered, for up to five days.

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