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Pecan squares


In true grizzly fashion, I’m following my last two healthy posts with the largest gut bomb known to man: Ina Garten’s Pecan Squares. This recipe has…wait for it…wait for it…..N I N E sticks of butter. Yes, nine…I’m almost ashamed. But this extravagance and outrageousness also makes me kind of love it.

Have you jumped on the Food Network bandwagon like the rest of the planet? It’s been my number one channel (I don’t watch much TV) for at least 7 years now, and as time moves, the number of cooks I love continues to dissipate. I have always had a big crush on Alton Brown and his unmatched intelligence, Anne Burrell is super cool, Claire Robinson is my kind of girl, I cannot resist Nigella Lawson and her seductiveness, or Michael Symon, for that matter. But Giada annoys me (I cannot take her random pronunciation of Italian words), I love “The Food Dude (douche?)” Guy Fieri’s recipes but I kind of want to punch him and his backwards sunglasses in the face, I wish the Neely’s would stop making out, Sandra Lee is too obsessed with Cocktail Time!, I’m convinced Paula Deen wants to kill us all, and when is Bobby Flay going to chill with his amount of shows? Finally, don’t even get me started on Rachael Ray.


I’ve got nothing but love for Ina Garten, though. Her and her little giggle are adorable, her recipes are fresh, simple, no-fuss, and they taste really freaking good! Everytime she does something I wanna stop everything I’m doing and make it immediately. Granted, she can be a little bit elitist with how she prances around the Hamptons, her obsession with good ingredients, and how she tells you it’s no big deal if you have too many dishes to do, just get TWO dishwashers! Drop thousands of dollars like it ain’t no thang.

pecanbars4 pecanbars5

I’ve digressed again. These pecan squares are deadly. And that’s an understatement. The pecans are smothered in what I am convinced is God’s nectar: melted butter, honey, heavy cream, and brown sugar. Um, I’m going nuts over here. I seriously wanted to bathe in that melted goodness. These are great for the holidays, or if you are feeling particularly indulgent. Which, for the record, I always am.


The pecan layer sits on top of a thick shortbread, and how can you ever go wrong with shortbread? This is along the lines of a handheld, thicker pecan pie. Dip yours in chocolate, if you wish, to take it to the next level. Then sit down, close your eyes, take a bite, and melt into pecan heaven. How easy is that?


Pecan Squares

Adapted from Ina Garten

Note: When you bake the pecan topping, line the bottom of your oven with foil because it tends to drip. And it’s really, really sticky. Since it’s so sticky, it might be a little difficult to remove from the pan, so it’s best to line your pan with foil as well. Additionally, the shortbread layer is good, but it’s not as dense as I’d like it to be due to the addition of baking powder. If you have a fool-proof recipe for shortbread, feel free to use it here.


For Shortbread

1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 extra-large eggs

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

For Pecan Topping

1 pound unsalted butter

1 cup honey

3 cups light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped

About one pound chocolate for dipping, optional

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the Shortbread
Beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.
Make the Pecan Topping
Combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.
Optional: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler: Set a heatproof bowl over a sauce pan with boiling water. Fill the bowl with chocolate and stir until melted. Dip half of each bar into the chocolate, cool slightly on parchment paper, and serve.

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