So how did you kick off the first days of fall? Pulling sweaters and jeans (except those evil skinny ones) out of the back of the closet in anticipation? Instagramming pictures of the changing leaves? Skipping in joy through cool morning air? Digging up dead basil from your herb garden? (or did that last one only happen to me?)
It seems many people celebrated the start of fall with pumpkin in their bellies with all the delicious-looking pumpkin treats I’ve seen floating around the food blogosphere. And while I do love pumpkin, it’s not really something I’m chomping at the bit to dive into at the first sign of fall. My pumpkin desires don’t really kick in until November, ya know, with that whole Thanksgiving thing. My pecan pie desires, however, are in full force.
But just to be sure I wasn’t getting too predictably Thanksgiving-ish about it, I made pecan pie in bar form with cinnamon shortbread crust and cinnamon pecan filling. Because that totally changes everything…
Actually, it sorta does. Mainly the super cinnamon factor and the increased portability. Because who doesn’t want gooey cinnamon pecan awesomeness on the go? No one. That’s who.
Sticky Cinnamon Pecan Bars
makes 20, 2 1/2(ish) x 2-inch bars
adapted from Not Derby Pie
375 g (3 cups) all-purpose flour
100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
225 g (1 cup) cold butter, cubed
170 g (3/4 cup) butter
240 g (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp.) light brown sugar, packed
90 ml (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp.) light corn syrup
90 ml (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp.) heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
340 g (12 oz., about 3 cups) raw pecans, roughly chopped
Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a bit of an overhang. Set aside.
Make the crust. Place flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Sprinkle butter over the top of the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add eggs and pulse just until a dough comes together in moist clumps. If you don’t have a food processor, simply whisk the first four ingredients then work the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your finger tips until texture is sandy. Then mix in the eggs with a spatula until dough comes together.
Transfer 3/4 of the dough to the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan. (The remaining dough can be rolled out, cut into cute shapes, and baked into delicious cinnamon shortbread cookies. You’re welcome.) Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, or until firm. Prick the dough and bake until just golden on the edges, 20 – 24 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while making the filling.
Make the filling. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, begin to melt butter. Before butter is completely melted, add brown sugar and corn syrup and whisk until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula. Once the mixture reaches a boil, continue cooking without stirring until it begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in cream, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Stir in pecans until evenly coated.
Pour filling over the crust and spread/smooth out with a spatula to make an even layer. Bake until bubbling and begin to turn amber in color, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using the parchment, lift bars from pan, place on a cutting board, and slice. Bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. I wrap mine in plastic wrap for easy transporting!