Fall is on the air and it’s time to think of warm and inviting foods, hence, amazing pecan squares! The pecan nut with their crunchy texture and buttery flavor make for an interesting ingredient to include in a number of dishes, and they look pretty on the plate too. Native to America, these delicious nuts are steeped in history in our country. Now whether you say pee-can or peh-kahn, they are probably one of the most sought-after nuts and can be tossed in just about anything. You can stuff them in peppers with goat cheese or toss them in a salad for some crunch. Pecans pair beautifully with caramel too, so just add a handful on top of a caramel cheesecake for a flavor-packed bite every single time. Or spruce up an ice cream with a splash of bourbon and candied pecans in the summer.
If you’re a fan of pecan pie, you’re going to love these pecan squares. You can make these chewy delights all year long. A buttery shortbread crust and rich caramel-pecan topping make them truly over-the-top! Therefore, the perfect hostess gift, to treat your co-workers, or bring to potluck dessert over the holidays.
The pecan squares are a cross between a cookie and candy. They are wonderful to cut up in fours and mix with other pick-up desserts.
Chewy Pecan Squares with Wildflower Honey
- 1 1/4 lbs. Unsalted Butter - at room temperature
- 3/4 C. Sugar - granulated
- 3 Eggs - large
- 3/4 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- 4 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour*
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Salt*
- 1 lb. Unsalted Butter
- 1 C. Honey - wildflower
- 3 C. Light Brown Sugar - packed
- 1/4 C. Heavy Cream
- 2 lbs. Pecans - coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust, beat the butter and the 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. Remove from the mixer.
Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18x12x1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. The dough will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour until the dough is spread out very evenly throughout the entire sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool completely.
For the topping, combine the butter, honey and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. It is very important to cook for the 3 minutes, as this is bringing the boiled mixture to a candy-like consistency. Remove from the heat. Carefully stir in the heavy cream and pecans. The mixture will rise up, so be prepared to stir until the mixture starts coming together.
Pour the mixture 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. It does cook after the squares come out of the oven. Keep this in mind when taking out of the oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate into cold. Cut into bars and serve.
*I prefer unbleached flour over bleached because I have found that bleached flour sometimes carries off-flavors and can taste flat.
*Use non-iodized salt since iodized salt can have a chemical taste.
*This makes a large recipe and can be divided by two for a smaller amount, if desired.