1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (70 grams) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (25 grams) finely chopped pecans
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) dark corn syrup (or golden syrup)
2 tablespoons (20 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (75 grams) chopped pecans
Pecan Squares: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick cooking spray, a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) square baking pan.
Crust: In a small bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until soft and fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Then beat in the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal (do not over beat). Stir in the finely chopped pecans. (This mixture will be like crumbs.) Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 10 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
Pecan Filling: In a large bowl whisk or beat the eggs until foamy. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, flour, salt, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Pour over the baked crust and then sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until firm and nicely browned. Let cool in the pan and then cut into squares. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator
Makes about 36 - 1 1/2 inch (3.75 cm) squares.
Pecan Squares are a delicious combination of shortbread crust topped with a chewy and gooey pecan filling. Think of them as a bar form of Pecan Pie and yet so much easier to make. Pecan Squares do not have as much filling as you find in a Pecan Pie, so while I would describe them as tasting rich, it is not cloyingly so.
While some nuts are often used in both sweet and savory dishes, pecans definitely hit their stride when used in sweet dishes; desserts ranging from cakes and pies to pralines and ice creams. Their buttery, soft-textured, slightly bittersweet flavor is the ideal partner for fruits, chocolates, mascarpone cheese, caramel, coffee, nuts, and even maple syrup. Recipes calling for pecans will often say you can substitute walnuts for the pecans, and that is because these two nuts are both part of the hickory family. In fact, they even look similar although the pecan does have a smoother shell and its flavor is milder, more buttery. The reddish-brown shell of the pecan is long, oval-shaped, and smooth and inside is two golden-brown crinkled lobes with ivory-colored meat. When buying pecans, look for nuts with good color and shape and make sure there is no mold. You want to buy at a store with a good turnover as pecans have a high oil content so they will go rancid fairly quickly. Nuts can be stored in a cool, dry place but I prefer putting in the freezer where they will keep for up to a year.