I meant to write about my recipe for pecan pie bars at the beginning of last week but I was punched down by a super-storm. We lost electric power for eight long days and nights. I lit candles and walked around with a flashlight. I ate pasta more times in a week than I usually do in three months (it’s easy to cook on a gas stove top). I drank hot chocolate with marshmallows every single day (yes, really). I found a quarter of a bag of leftover potato chips from my husband’s mid-October tailgate party at the Giants game – and I ate them all with a lot of red wine. I didn’t exercise. I made do.
And now ten days later, it’s as though I’ve been crawling out of a long, dark hole. Even though my lights came back on this past Tuesday afternoon, I still feel emotionally spent and physically exhausted from the eight days without power (and I was one of the lucky ones – I still have my house …….and my roof).
When the sheer delight of being able to turn on a light switch started to wear off, I went back to the kitchen and baked up a batch of these delectable treats for the weekend (and so I could take a picture for you).
I’ve tasted a lot of pecan bars in my life. They inevitably show up on holiday cookie trays and picnic tables. But I’d never tasted one that I liked well enough to ask for the recipe. I decided to create my own. As I started looking through trusted cookbooks, it seemed that most recipes resulted in a variety of cookie-like bases topped with a thin, sweet layer of pecans. I was looking for something more– more like pecan pie in terms of taste and complexity, but with a simple cookie crust. And they had to be faster and easier to make. I set to work and created gluten-free pecan pie bars good enough to satisfy all the pecan pie lovers in my life. Try them for the upcoming holidays. They keep really well in the freezer and you’ll be able to have a great dessert that you can pull out at the last minute when friends and family stop by to visit.
Gluten-Free PECAN PIE BARS
These addictive pecan pie bars will become a much requested part of your baking repertoire. More substantial and flavorful than ordinary pecan bars, they’re faster and easier to make than pecan pie and perfect for dessert buffet tables, picnics, barbecues and afternoon snacks. To make a dairy-free version, I suggest using Earth Balance; it works well in the recipe.
1 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix*
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (or Earth Balance)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack in center of oven. Grease bottom of 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and generously dust with rice flour.
- Put flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, and xanthan gum in large bowl of electric mixer; mix to blend. Add butter and mix on low speed until crumbly. Gently press into bottom of baking pan (if you pack the dough too densely, the crust will be hard to get out of the pan. If you pack it too loosely, the crust will be a bit crumbly).
- Bake in center of oven for 10 minutes or until very light golden.
*Find my Brown Rice Flour Mix in the Guide to Flour Mix section of this blog.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup unsalted butter (or Earth Balance)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
- Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in heavy saucepan over medium heat; stir frequently until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Beat the eggs in a small bowl and quickly whisk into saucepan. Add vanilla and pecans; mix well. Pour onto partially baked crust.
- Bake in center of oven for about 25 minutes until center is set. Cool on a wire rack and then chill before cutting into bars. Cut into 16 squares (or triangles) and remove from baking pan. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Serve chilled or at room temperature. Best when eaten within four days of baking. Bars can be wrapped with plastic wrap and then with foil and stored in freezer for up to three weeks. Pecan Pie Bars freeze well.
(c)2012 by Annalise Roberts