Well, we are officially into Holiday season! I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and ate to your heart’s content. My family ended up with tons of leftover sides, but barely any leftover turkey, interestingly enough. My mother did have enough to make turkey stew out of, however, which was delicious as always.
This time of year is always considerably busy for my family – my grandmother, my cousin, and I all have birthdays within a week of Thanksgiving. I spent the past 5 days at home, celebrating all of our birthdays and feasting on turkey, of course. My birthday isn’t actually until tomorrow (Monday, boo) – I’ll be turning 23. The age 23 always reminds me of that Blink 182 song “What’s My Age Again?” with the line “Nobody likes you when you’re 23”, haha. Hopefully that won’t really be the case, but it’s still strange getting used to the fact that I am done with college and really in the “real” world now.
The recipe I have today is one that I found on The Comfort of Cooking. I’ve always loved pecan pie, but learned it typically contains a huge amount of sugar and calories. A slice of traditional pecan pie can hold up to a third of one’s daily calorie intake – ouch. These pecan bars come in at under 200 calories a bar, so you don’t have to feel quite as guilty about eating one (or two). Cutting back slightly on the amount of sugar and serving this dessert in bar form rather than a slice of pie helps make these treats more diet-friendly. I made them for Thanksgiving and my family members really seemed to enjoy them. They would also make a great addition for a holiday party or Christmas dessert.
adapted slightly from The Comfort of Cooking
makes 24 1 1/2-inch bars
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 10 Tbsp/5 oz. cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup*
- 8 Tbsp/4 oz./1 stick butter
- 4 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
*If you prefer not to use corn syrup or are unable to due to dietary restrictions, cane syrup or brown rice syrup may be substituted. These can be found in the baking aisle or health foods aisle of your local grocery store.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a pastry cutter or pastry blender, combine flour, granulated sugar, salt, and 10 Tbsp butter to make the crust. If you don’t have either of these tools, you can actually perform this step by squeezing the butter and flour mixture between your fingers until it resembles small crumbs. Watch this video to learn more. This is the method I used.
- Press the crust into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until crust starts to turn light golden brown.
- To create the filling, combine 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup corn syrup, and 1 stick butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil, stirring gently, and remove from heat.
- Pour 1/4 of the filling into beaten eggs. Stir, and add egg-sugar mixture back into saucepan to combine. Stir in 2 1/2 cups pecans, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
- Pour pecan filling on top of crust, spreading evenly. Bake for 32 – 34 minutes, or until set. Let cool completely before cutting.