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Alternative to Thanksgiving Pecan Pie: Pecan Pie Bars by David Guas

Are you starting to think about Thanksgiving or simply want a decadent dessert? Then you definitely want to make a batch of Pecan Pie Bars from David Guas's latest cookbook Grill Nation.

David was one of the chefs at the Chefs for Equality fundraiser I attended as a guest of my good friend Anna Empanada. I call her Anna Empanada because she owns DC Empandas with her husband Shawn and to differentiate her from my twin Anna ;)

Anyway............David gave us his cookbook at the event and I am really sad I don't have outdoor space that includes a grill because otherwise I'd be making quite a few recipes from his book.

Fortunately, some of the recipes, like this one for Pecan Pie Bars, don't require a grill.

Pecan Pie Bars
Makes 3 dozen
Copied with permission from David Guas

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut up
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 15x10" jelly-roll pan with shortening. Whisk together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut cold butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until eggs are light golden brown.  

2. Combine corn syrup, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve sugar; cool 5 minutes. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Gradually whisk half of hot syrup mixture into eggs; gradually whisk egg mixture into hot syrup mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Spread pecan mixture over crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours). Cut into 36 squares.

My entire condo smelled like brown sugar! It was intoxicating. I made a few changes to the recipe: mainly I used oil instead of shortening to prep the baking pan. Also, I used a different size of a baking dish and used pecan halves instead of roughly chopped pecans. I recommend you follow the recipe :) Because my pan was smaller than the size required in the cookbook, I had to bake the bars longer, which is not a huge deal. Using pecan halves made the job of cutting the bars a bit more difficult...but I managed.

I bet this would be great drizzled with dark chocolate!

This makes enough to share with friends and I'm pretty sure it would freeze well.