Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pecan Raspberry Bars

I haven't cooked or baked much lately because I've been doing other things... like visiting Northern Ireland. I'll spare you the details, but let me just say it was amazing! My dad, my sister, and I made the trip together, and it will forever live as one of my best memories with those two crazy awesome people.

Now about these pecan raspberry bars... They were originally almond raspberry bars, but I'm a bit of a rebel, and I used different nuts. True story. So I saw this recipe on the side of my Martha White flour bag, and it appealed to me because it would finish the raspberry preserves I had left in my fridge. Yes, the inevitable "if this doesn't get used, I'll have to throw it away" situation.

(Above picture displayed on Trifle Bowl stand.)

Pecan Raspberry Bars

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole pecans, chopped and toasted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks.

Combine flour, almonds, and salt in medium bowl. Stir into butter mixture until evenly moistened. Press half of dough in bottom of prepared 9x13 pan to form crust. Spread preserves evenly over crust to within 1/4 inch of edge. Drop remaining dough by spoonfuls over preserves. (Dough won't completely cover preserves.)

Bake 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.
Yield 48 bars.

If you don't know how to toast nuts, just stick them in the oven on 350 for 12-15 minutes.

This recipe calls for a lot of butter. I mean, we're talking serious butter. However, keep in mind that you're getting 48 bars here, so this butter shouldn't scare you. I calculated this on Weight Watchers, and each bar is 4 points. Not too good, not too bad. My trick for softening butter when I didn't plan ahead (best to leave it out overnight) is cutting it in small pieces and letting it hang out in a Stainless Mixing Bowl while I do whatever I do for a couple of hours. I'm slicing a stick on the Bar Board (it now has grips on sides) with a Quikut Paring Knife.

The prep work that saves a lot of hassle once you start assembling the recipe... Preserves in the Measure-All Cup, salt in a Measuring Spoon, sugar in an Easy Read Measuring Cup, egg separation happening with the Egg Separator on a 2-Cup Prep Bowl, yolks in a Pinch Bowl, flour in the Small Batter Bowl with a Measuring Cup and leveler tool sticking out. I used the Skinny Scraper to dig preserves from the jar, and everything is on the Cutting Board. My pecans were toasted on a Small Bar Pan, perfect for use in a toaster oven!

The Manual Food Processor is seriously the greatest thing ever for chopping more than a few nuts at a time. No plugs, no mess, no nothing. I heart this thing!

Warning: This dough tastes really good. I know that's disappointing to hear, but did you see how much butter it used? Combine that with freshly toasted pecans, and you can't help but nibble! I'm pouring it from a Stainless Mixing Bowl to the Rectangular Baker, one of my favorite pieces from the Stoneware Collection. The Mix 'n Scraper is my go-to for working with thick batter.

Sprinkle the top with the remaining batter, and it will end up looking like this. Here's a note about the Rectangular Baker and any other piece of Stoneware. After a few uses, the piece will become seasoned, so you don't have to wipe it with Crisco, etc. when you bake. Does that save you a few calories? I guess, but what really matters is that it saves you from dealing with a Crisco wipe down every time you want to bake.

Can we say beautiful? The Mini-Serving Spatula is the best tool for getting bars out of pans without ripping them up, especially when the servings are small like these. I'm moving them from the stone to the Cooling Rack where they'll get ready for cooled off transport. P.S. Notice that the edges are golden brown... thanks, Stoneware!

These are simple bars that aren't too sweet. I guess I'd say they're a little shortbreadish, maybe. I liked them, but they're not the recipe I'd choose if I was making cookies for a bunch of five-year-olds. They're too sophisticated for young pallets, which is obvious by the fact that I got them from the side of a bag of flour. Only the best for me!

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