Saturday, August 07, 2010

Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Bars

I found this recipe in my 60th anniversary 4-H cookbook from my former club. Yes, I was one of those kids who was not only in school activities, but also involved in 4-H. I'm proud to say I learned A LOT about organization and leadership from 4-H, and my summers were always busy with projects, so I didn't have much time to get into trouble. 

I choose this recipe, because I thought it sounded interesting. Plus, it combines some of my favorite and savory treats: caramel, chocolate and pecans. 

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 c. pecan halves (I used chopped)

2/3 c. butter
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 c. milk chocolate chips (I think semi-sweet would be great, too!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all crust ingredients, except pecans, in large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed and crumbly. Press into a greased 9x13-inch pan, then sprinkle pecans over the crust.

Combine the caramel layer butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until  entire surface of mixture begins to boil. Let it boil for one minute, still stirring constantly. Then evenly pour over the crust. (NOTE: I found it hard to do this evenly, so I suggest using the back of a spoon to make it a little more even.) Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until entire caramel layer is bubbly. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Allow the chips to melt from the radiating heat, and if you wish, swirl the chocolate over the bars. (I found this hard to do, so I would just sprinkle them evenly over the bars.) Cool completely, then cut into bars. Store at room temperature in a tightly-covered container.

VERDICT: I liked this, but to me, I felt it needed more caramel. My brothers and parents didn't think so, so this must just be my prerogative. I will make these again, because even my pecan-hating brother liked the bars. He's 21-years-old, and just started eating pecan pie about a year or so ago, after having an aversion to them as a child (due to a Thanksgiving flu that he also gave to me-- the dummy). Anyway, I don't want to overdo the pecans with him, because they're my favorite nut to cook with.

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