I don't like pecan pie. I don't like pecan bars, pecans in my cookies, pecans in my anything, really. But really? These are unreal. The first time I had them was when my amazing colleague and office partner made them for our holiday party last year. I saw them on the plate and appreciated them for their holiday appropriateness but quietly turned my nose up at them until the party was over and I was simply eating to burn off stress (don't try this at home). Anyway, they stopped me cold and I couldn't believe how delicious they were. Not too sweet, perfectly balanced and very special. They are absolutely loaded with butter and sugar and corn syrup for goodness sake. These are not Everyday Cookies. These are not even like bacon as a sometimes food. These are very special occasion treats, but at least an annual or semi-annual must. Furthermore, they are super easy and fast to make!
Pecan Bars (Gluten-free)
For the crust:
1 c flour (for gluten-free, I used equal parts oat flour, rice flour, sorghum flour and garbanzo flour)*
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 c light brown sugar
1/4 c toasted and chopped pecans**
6 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
For the filling:
4 T melted butter
1/2 c light brown sugar
1/3 c light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 T bourbon or dark rum (I used rum- yum!)
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1.75 c toasted and chopped pecans**
*I loved the oat flour here, but really encourage you to choose any flour combination you have access to. You could use an all-purpose blend or your favorite custom mix. I will likely up the oat flour next time to half-cup and see what strikes me from there.
** I found that at Trader Joe's, they sold a bag of chopped raw pecan pieces that was exactly 2 cups!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9in square baking pan with two layers of tin foil, positioned at 90degrees to each other and long enough to be used as "handles" to lift the bars out of the pan. Spray the tin foil with non-stick cooking spray if not using non-stick foil.
In a food processor, put the first 5 ingredients and pulse to mix. Then add the butter and pulse a little more. This should take the shape of maybe coarse corn meal. Pat the crust into the bottom of the pan and pat until firm. Bake for 20 min until golden brown.
While the crust is baking, whisk together everything else, except the egg and pecans. Then whisk in the egg. Pour the filling on the crust, then sprinkle with the pecans. Bake 22-25 min until the top is browned and bubbly/slightly cracked. Cool for about an hour. Lift the tin foil out of the pan and cut into bars.