Maple-Pecan Pie Bars

Pecans are definitely the star of these über-chewy bars, which feature maple syrup and a buttery oatmeal crust as supporting players. If possible, use grade B syrup, which will add more intense maple flavor and richer color.

CRUST

1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut up
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

FILLING

2 cups pecan halves, toasted*
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut up
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving edges slightly overhanging; coat foil with cooking spray.

2. Pulse 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar in food processor until crumbly. Add oats, flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt; pulse until mixture is blended and holds together when gently pressed. Press into bottom of pan.

3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until beginning to brown. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Scatter pecans over crust.

4. Combine all remaining filling ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 30 seconds. Pour hot filling over pecans.

5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is bubbly in center. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. While bars are cooling, run thin knife around edges (between foil and pan) to release any areas stuck to pan. Use foil to remove bars from pan before cutting.

16 bars

PER BAR: 295 calories, 19 g total fat (7 g saturated fat), 3 g protein, 31.5 g carbohydrate, 25 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 2 g fiber


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