I’ve got an absolutely massive soft spot for cookies. You can probably tell from the number of cookie recipes I’ve done over the last few years since I started this blog. From your basic choc chip cookies through to caramel stuffed cookies or brownie crackle cookies. This does mean that I’m starting to reach a point where my core recipes are actually all fairly similar, but I just mix up the flavours and fillings. This one is slightly different though, and indulgent; Brown Butter Cookies. One of my favourite flavours of ice cream is London’s Chin Chin Lab’s ‘Burnt Butter Caramel’, which has its grounding in the same technique. Browning the butter gives it a more caramel-y edge, giving it hints of toffee. This makes it perfect to go with fillings like pecans, chocolate and salt.
As mentioned in my last post, where I talked at length about my love for cheese, I had some friends over the other day to play board games and drink a copious amount of alcohol. As well as the bread I finally nailed my pecan pie recipe once and for all. After trying on a couple of separate occasions recently and failing, pastry falling apart and filling overflowing everywhere like a river bursting its banks, it turned out all I really needed to do was sort my pie dish out.
I know it’s a couple of weeks late, but my American workmate hosted a Thanksgiving party, and here’s the recipe I said I’d make. Things have been so busy, and I’m now without internet until I don’t know when, so things may become even more intermittent, apologies in advance. Anyway, I said I’d bring a pie and considered a re-bake of my Nutella & Pumpkin Pie but decided it was finally time to make a Pecan Pie. I’ve meant to for ages, but the cost of Pecans and (before this year anyway) I felt my pastry skills weren’t up to scratch. I’ve been practising with pastry a lot this year, I’ve made a number of pies, and a pecan pie felt like the next logical step, especially at this time of year.
What the hell is it with Blondies and Brownies just makes me unable to photograph them well? I mean, nights are setting in so I cracked my lighting kit out for the first time this “Autumn” which didn’t help as I was only starting to get used to it before so now months without practise haven’t been good. I baked this back when Autumn was first starting up. There’d been a chill in the air for about a week or so, with a few cold days on top of the crisp mornings. I welcomed it. Summer is overrated. To quote Brand New (who I was seeing on that Friday)); The time has come for colds, and overcoats. Which is why I’ve made my first vaguely autumnal recipe of the year; Pecan & Caramel Blondies. (Since this I’ve done a ton more and they’ll be coming up over the next few weeks).
Our oven is fixed. This is the best thing that has happened since I moved to London (OK, that’s a lie, but what you gonna do about it?). I can now bake things to my heart’s content. And by bake things, I mean cook pizza. To say it’s been broken I’ve still managed ok, once I got the hang of the temperature. I managed to make a Pumpkin Spiced Loaf and a Victoria Sponge for my flatmates birthdays. The sponge came out better as I’d had the practise with the Pumpkin Loaf. After the loaf I had a large amount of pecans left over. So spent some time flicking through some suggestions on Tastespotting (I spend far too much time on that site, it’s brilliant/it makes me hungry). I eventually landed on this recipe, for Maple & Caramel Pecan Pie Bars.
Proper Pecan Pie has been on my list for a very long while, but to do it properly I’ll need to do it when I’ve got more time as I want to make sure the pastry is absolutely spot on. These bars use a very, very, basic base that isn’t quite pastry, so it can be thrown together quickly and doesn’t need chilling etc. In fact I chucked all of this together despite getting in from a burger place with my workmates at about 8.45.
Make sure you don’t overbake the base. You are going to be putting the whole thing back in the oven once you’ve added the topping so the last thing you want is for it to be overcooked or burnt. Another thing I must confess is that I bought the Salted Caramel from the shop. I wouldn’t usually, for instance you can find my recipe for caramel here. But as I explained, due to time constraints and doing this on a bit of a whim I didn’t have time.
Maple Pecan Pie Bars
Author: The Bearded Baker
- 128g all-purpose flour
- 75g brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
- 115g unsalted butter, very soft
- 1 large egg
- 75g brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
- 80ml maple
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt, optional and to taste (consider omitting if nuts are well-salted)
- 200g pecans (I used raw, unsalted, whole pecans; use halves and pieces, salted and roasted, or your favorite type)
- about ¼ cup salted caramel sauce (homemade or storebought), for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 180°C(160°C fan assisted). Line an 8x8 tin with greaseproof paper. These get sticky.
- For the crust, rub the butter into the flour and sugar, rubbing/cutting in until there are no large lumps.
- Turn the mixture, which will have started forming in a dough, into the base of the prepared tin and, using a spatula, flatten it out evenly across the base.
- Place in the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for around 15 minutes, until it has coloured slightly. Don’t overbake as it’ll be going back in the oven.
- While it’s baking make the topping. In a large bowl combine the sugar, syrup, vanilla and egg. Mix in the pecans and set aside.
- Once the crust has baked gently spread the topping over the top and place back in the oven. Make sure they are spread evenly.
- Bake for between 16-19 minutes. When you try gently shaking the pan the mixture should be set.
- Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before you drizzle the salted caramel over the top.
- Slice and serve.