Pecan Squares

Pecan Squares

Fill in the blank for me: “As American as _____________.”

Did you say “apple pie?” If you did, I salute you. That’s the expression. But I’m not here for apple pie today. I’m here to talk about an oft-neglected staple of American dessert cuisine: the pecan.

We never really think about something until it’s gone, which I learned with the pecan from my sister-in-law’s mother. She hails from Ecuador, and apparently, the pecan action there is rather lacking. She once told me that when she comes to the U.S., she gets her fill of pecans and chocolate chips. They’re not available everywhere. Remember that next time you turn down that slice of pecan pie!

Pecan Squares

In general, we try not to take things for granted because they don’t last forever. I was doing my D.C. summer thing today, walking the streets (as opposed to streetwalking, which is very different) and nosing in and out of shops. The problem is, so many of my favorite shops are now gone.

Pecan Squares

Let me take a moment to pay my respects to Cone E. Island, the ice cream shop near George Washington University. That place got me through graduate school, and now it’s gone. Countless bakeries and restaurants are similarly shuttered, replaced by large chains. I mean, do we really need another Chipotle? And today, I discovered to my horror that a favorite chocolate boutique was also closed.

Pecan Squares

It’s the way of the world, I suppose. Change. Do I keep having to be reminded that life is short and that all is temporary? I’d rather think that it will all last forever. But everything is in short supply, from sunny sweet days to pecans in other countries.

Pecan Squares

My initial plan was to bake pecan pie bars, but these are different. I’d call them pecan brownies, but that would be misleading, since there’s not any chocolate here. Essentially, there is a pecan shortbread crust that is topped with a brownie-like (I’m talking consistency) layer of brown sugary pecan goodness. No, I did not copy that tagline from a cereal box, though it sounds as if I did.

Pecan Squares

The bars are less sticky than traditional pecan pie bars and therefore more durable and portable. In this season of July 4th potlucks, you can carry these around without having to worry about everything falling apart. And you still get a crust. It’s a winner!

If you want to make your life easier, rinse out the mixer bowl after you make the crust and then just combine the filling ingredients by hand in the same bowl. It eases up on dishes and counter clutter. I hate clutter. My grandmother always taught me to clean as I bake!

Pecan Squares

In the end, you’ll have a perfectly American dessert that everyone will love and be grateful for. I bet you never realized that pecans shouldn’t be taken for granted, did you? Think about all the things you might take for granted and then take some time to appreciate them!

 

Pecan Squares

Ingredients

Crust
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Filling
2 eggs
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides. Coat liberally with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla, mixing until smooth. Add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in the chopped pecans by hand.
  4. Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.
  5. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until foamy. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, flour, salt, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  6. Pour the filling onto the baked crust and distribute the chopped pecans evenly over the top.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes until golden and set.
  8. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
http://justaboutbaked.com/pecan-squares/

 

Mir

I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks

    Ok. First of all, I’m really glad you are walking the streets and not a street walker. Your babies would not be impressed. Second, I had no idea that pecans shouldn’t be taken for granted because in NC they literally grow on trees. Third? There is such a thing as a traditional pecan bar? How did I miss that whilst living in the heart of the pecan orchards? Sorry for so many questions. 🙂 These pecan squares look delicious even if they are really not brownies and contain no chocolate.
    Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks recently posted…Chocolate Stout Cherry Tart with Honey and Vanilla Goat CheeseMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Ha! I do like to walk, though! In NC I’m sure they’re everywhere. Must be fun! There are more basic pecan pie bars, so I wanted to switch it up a bit. Thanks, Rachelle!

  2. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    I love the looks of these squares, Mir! And every now and then you need to step away from the chocolate. Sounds like the perfect crunchy treat!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Chocolate Covered Cherry SmoothieMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I hate stepping away from the chocolate, Gayle! But rules is rules. 🙂

  3. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    When I was a kid, my cousins from Korea came to visit for a summer and went crazy over certain foods that they, either had never tried before, or like your sister-in-law’s mother, can’t get it in abundance over there. . they went back to Korea that summer with like a ton of beef jerky and candy bars. Ha! and I feel the same way. . it’s sad when you see a local business shut down and they open another Starbucks. . sad sad. This is why, if I ever have the choice, I support the small businesses!! anyway, enough of that. . these pecan squares!!!! Hooray!!! YES! and love that you made these today! I need these for my cookout on the 4th!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Slow Cooker Pork with Mashed CauliflowerMy Profile

    1. Mir

      See? I wonder what they have in Korea that I really want and can’t get. But they chose well. Beef jerky and candy bars ROCK. I really love the small businesses, too. They’re so much more fun to support!

  4. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    A world without pecans? I would not be happy with that – I think I would end up travelling to a different country for them too. Pecans are hands down my favourite nut, they just have so much sweetness to them, so obviously I am loving the sound of these. Maybe a nice Sunday afternoon treat.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Honey and Chipotle Salmon with Chunky Avocado Salsa by DanniiMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I’m so glad you’re a pecan fan! I like them, too. I also like Sunday afternoon treats!

  5. Manali @ CookWithManali

    I love pecans, they are one of my favorite nuts! And I absolutely love baking with them, the squares look fantastic Mir!
    Manali @ CookWithManali recently posted…Almond Milk Rice PuddingMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Manali! I like them, too.

  6. mira

    These are awesome Mir! Can’t live without chocolate chips and pecans 🙂 I prefer pecans over walnuts. I know what you mean, so many nice places around here are gone… and replaced with I guess more profitable ones 🙂
    mira recently posted…Arugula Smoked Salmon And Cucumber SaladMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Big businesses take it all over, Mira. I guess it’s the way it goes. But pecans are forever!

  7. Michele @ Two Raspberries

    LOVE pecans! these bars look awesome! your desserts always look so ooey gooey and moist, totally perfect! 😉 have a great weekend!
    Michele @ Two Raspberries recently posted…Best Ever Healthier Chocolate Brownies – Vegan – GF – Soy Free – Refined Sugar FreeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      You too, Michele! I’m a big fan of ooey gooey. 🙂

  8. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    Where we live now has nothing original, so it’s chain world. When I go home I love seeing all the old comforting shops…and I get sad when they go the way of Pottery Barn. I love these bars, pecans are my favorite!
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Cherry Peach Dump CakeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Chain world is right, Dorothy. It makes me sad. I feel for all those business owners who have AMAZING shops that shut down!

  9. Mary Frances

    No pecans? Ok … I will enjoy them doubly in her honor. I can never turn down pie again, eh? I like this plan! And these bars look incredible! Rich bar desserts are my jam and that crust to filling ratio is on point.
    Mary Frances recently posted…Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream SandwichesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Mary Frances! Crust to filling ratio is SOOOO important.

  10. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    Okay I feel you with the changes in DC. I’ve only lived here for 18 years (hey, but it’s my whole life!) and every time a local pizzeria gets replaced with a Starbucks, I cry inside a little. I love pecan bars and can’t imagine living without them OR chocolate chips! A travesty! These look great 🙂
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted…No-Bake Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Oreo PieMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I’m so over Starbucks, Medha! I’ll be very sad if all of my landmarks close.

  11. Jasline (Foodie Baker)

    The generous pecan topping is making me hungry, they look really delicious!

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Jasline! I gave them all away. They were dangerous!

  12. Trish - Mom On Timeout

    Pecans are hands-down my favorite nut. I would down that whole stack in seconds flat they look so good! Perfection Mir!
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted…Sriracha Almond Crusted Chicken StripsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Trish! My favorite nut is the almond, so maybe I should try it with those. 🙂

  13. Harriet Emily

    These pecan squares are beautiful Mir, I love pecans and they always taste amazing with caramelly, sweet flavours! Your post has definitely inspired me to be more thankful for all of the food and produce I have such easy access too. I completely know how you feel about all of the shops closing down too. I find it so saddening, it’s far more exciting to go to an independent store and try something different, then always go to the same big chains!!
    Harriet Emily recently posted…PESTO PASTAMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Harriet Emily! We never think about what we have until it’s gone, right?

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