Ina's Pecan Bars

I love sticky, sweet pecans.

I make a pecan chocolate pie every Thanksgiving that is simple and delish.

But, I really wish someone would please bake me the pecan cream cake in this month's Saveur magazine! (I said please!).
I am not a layer-cake, frosting, baker type of girl, but this cake with the coconut and cream cheese, loaded with Southern pecans, has my mouth watering.

FYI: My birthday is December 23.

Instead, I made Ina's famous pecan bars. I like this recipe, 'cause she doesn't use corn syrup, instead she uses honey.
Much better choice.

She used to sell these back in the day, when she had a fabulous takeout shop in the Hamptons called "Barefoot Contessa".
They would sell out by the end of the day.

This recipe makes a lot. Enough to freeze. If you don't have an 18" x 12" pan, then bake them in two 9" x 13" pans.

If you are afraid of the butter quantity (and it is SCARY), then cut the recipe in half to make about 10 big bars!

Ina's Pecan Bars (adapted from The Barefoot Contessa):

1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes.

Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined.

Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 x 12 baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.

For the topping, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests 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.

These can be made ahead and frozen, so make them today and freeze them for Thanksgiving!

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I'm a southerner and grew up with pecan pie. These look like a very nice alternative. I can see why she sold out everyday.
I w0uld definitely make you that cake with the pecans and coconut. We'd have to split it in half! Love that also. White jeans be damned!
Anonymous said…
So decadent and (I'll bet)so delicious. These will definitely be added to my list of favorites.

Bea said…
we used to love the Barefoot Contessa gourmet shop back in the late '90s in the Hamptons, it was wonderful, and these pecan bars were the best! I will be making them for our Thanksgiving.
Thanks for the memories!

Ciao Chow Linda said…
Pecan pie was never my "thing" but I used to make a pecan bar years ago that was addictive - and this seems like a very similar recipe. I'll have to put this back in my repertoire.
AdriBarr said…
I love Pecan Pie. It used to be our special treat once a week when my friends and I who studied ballet together went out and each ordered a piece of Pecan Pie topped with either vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. (The choice was up to the individual dance student.) Of course, no dinner was involved, it was just our weekly splurge. These are like mini pies - purse size if you will! They sound wonderful.
Flora B said…
Okay these sound wonderful! But is that really 2 1/4 pounds of butter for this recipe? I'm not complaining I just want to make sure it is right. I will be making these!
Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!
Stacey Snacks said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacey Snacks said…
I have updated the recipe to say that you can cut the recipe in half.

Her original recipe makes A LOT!
Enough for two 9 x 13 pans, so they are great to freeze.

The link to the original recipe is in the post, and yup, that's a lot of butter, but that's probably why they are so good!

Joanne said…
If you come to NYC, I will absolutely make you that cake!!

Also, I think I've made these before! So good.