I have been wanting to make these for a long time, but since David doesn’t like nuts in his food 99% of the time, I knew I’d be the only one eating them. I had to wait for an opportunity to share these with some people who would really appreciate them, so I waited until my parents were around and made these for them!
I love pecan pie, and chocolate pecan pie is even better, so I decided to add chocolate to the batter. I also omitted the lemon and orange zest. When I heard about these for the first time on Smitten Kitchen, Deb said that she wasn’t impressed with the shortbread crust, so I decided to try another recipe. After searching, I decided to use a recipe from The Joy of Cooking (I even made it gluten free with much success!). I really liked this shortbread crust and will probably be using it as my standard recipe from now own. The filling was incredible! It tasted wonderful even before it was baked- something I could just eat by the spoonful! The only change I would make is to add more chocolate, since I wished the chocolate flavor had come through a bit more. I reflected the change in the recipe below. We really enjoyed snacking on these at the beach. When you have a crowd to bake for, these would be a great option- you certainly don’t want these sitting around the house! They are the perfect indulgence, and I’m so happy that I finally tried them!
Chocolate Pecan Squares
1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped
For the topping: Combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and chocolate 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.
Filling adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Ina Garten
Source: The Joy of Cooking
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick of butter (it doesn’t really matter whether it’s salted or unsalted)
1 egg yolk
a little cream or milk–may need more or less depending on how the dough holds together
1 egg white, beaten
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together. Using your hands, a food processor, a pastry cutter, or two knives, work/cut the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture should look like cornmeal with a few larger lumps of butter.
Break up the egg yolk with a fork and add to the flour/butter mixture. Pulse for a few seconds at a time if using a food processor, or if making by hand, stir with the fork until the dough comes together in a ball. You may need to add a little cream at this point if it’s too dry.
Don’t overwork the dough–it will become tough. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes.
Pat the crust into a 9″ or 10″ pie or tart plate. Prick all over with a fork and chill for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, or until it starts to become lightly golden.
Remove from oven and brush the inside with the beaten egg white.
Return to the oven and finish baking until crust is golden.