Honey Pecan Bars
My husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary last weekend with a trip all by ourselves to Block Island. I’ll spare you all my sentiments on our past 10 years but man, all those “old married couples” were right when they said the time flies! We had a fabulous relaxing weekend though and Block Island was simply charming. We biked to light houses and stunning bluffs overlooking aqua blue water. We sailed on the Atlantic Ocean (and managed to keep lunch down 🙂 ), hiked along rocky beaches and all that tired us out so much that by the third day we rented a moped and rode around the Island. And then there was the food! Melt in your mouth lobster, knock-your-socks-off duck, pork so moist and flavorful I almost swore it wasn’t a pork chop and more seafood bisque’s than I probably should have eaten 🙂
But in between all this eating we were actually touring the island and on our way to the Northern Lighthouse there was a charming little honey stand selling local honey. I’m such a sucker. I picked up a cream style honey that I’ve been eating with a spoon because its so rich and delicious, it’s like the honey equivalent of nutella. seriously. I spared a few tablespoons to bring you these bars though.
Normally I make these bars for my holiday baskets but I wanted to play with the recipe a bit and having a new honey seemed like the perfect time! It’s a Martha Stewart recipe so you really can’t go wrong but I changed up a few things to make them thicker, gooey-er and more honey flavored. To give you any indication on their success, I’ve eaten over half the pan. The topping is rich and packed full of pecans all spread over a buttery shortbread crust. I dare you to eat just one 🙂
One Year Ago: Caramel Peanut Blondies
Honey Pecan Bar
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Holiday Magazine
Yields 16 bars
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 tablespoons honey (I used a cream style, you can use regular but I would try to find a really good variety of honey-store brand stuff won’t pack the same flavor
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup of pecan halves
1. For the Crust: Line the bottom of an 8 inch X 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper (use a little butter to hold it in place) and set aside. Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamed and much lighter in color, about 2-3 minutes. Add in salt and begin adding the flour a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition. Continue mixing until the dough comes together in large clumps.
2. Press the dough into the prepared baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm to the touch (about 20-30 minutes). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F). When the dough is finished chilling, remove the plastic wrap and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. For the filling: Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees (F). Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, sugar and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of the spoon, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt and pecans. Pour the filling over the crust.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling bubbles. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting in squares. These can be stored in an air tight container for up to 1 week at room temperature.