Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rainy Day Chewy Pecan-Cinnamon Bars

It's another rainy day and you guessed it, I'm baking (what better way to spend time a rainy day...well, maybe curl up with a book, a very good alternative choice...or clean out a closet or cabinet, a very undesirable alternative choice...or...you fill in the blanks)!  These cookie bars are both chewy and crunchy, lightly sweet, and the cinnamon pecan flavor is delightfully distinct.  I had no idea what they would be like, but boy am I glad I tried them.  I highly recommend you do too!

Chewy Pecan-Cinnamon Bars

This recipe came from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Doubleday Cookbook; Complete Contemporary Cooking.  Both volumes have more recipes than I could try in a lifetime (well, maybe if I followed in Julie Powell's footsteps...inspired by the movie JULIE & JULIA (DVD)), but everything I have tried has been exceptional. 

Here is the recipe, from page 621 to be exact.

The ingredients are listed above.  You may be able to tell that I already sifted the flour.  I also separated the eggs, and in the process broke one yolk...yes, AND got some yolk in the whites...I just used a spoon (don't use your fingers...the oils keep the whites from whipping up) to get out what I could and hoped for the best.  OK, OK, I won't make you wait until the end of the blog post...the whites whipped up perfectly, no yolky interference (or I would have had a new 4 letter word for the day...you got it, yolk)!

I followed the recipe as described, except for one change and one addition that I decided upon before I baked them.  You will have to read on for those little pieces of culinary decision making and creativity. 

I love how the butter/sugar creamed mixture turns a beautiful yellow when you add the yolk.  
Adding the sifted dry ingredients gave the mixture little brown speckles!
Now the recipe called for a 14"x17" pan; I don't have one.  So I used the only cookie sheet I had (this would be culinary decision making) which was only 10"x15".  But I really don't know how this batter would fit into a bigger pan, because I had a hard time stretching it to the edges.  You will have to make your own culinary decision about this:)     
You may be wondering why I am using tin foil.  Truth be told, I always use tin foil with this cookie sheet, because the very first time I made cookies with my brand new cookie sheet, in my oven that I had not figured out runs about 75 degrees hotter than the knob indicates, the bottom of the cookies burned to a crisp and left very dark circular reminders of the event on the pan.  No amount of scrubbing will get it off.  So to ensure I don't taint the flavor of whatever I am cooking on the sheet, I use tin foil.  And now you know! 

Time to whip the egg whites...I learned some time back that it is a good idea to put your bowl in the fridge to get it cold before whipping up the whites (I but the blender blades in there too).  I'm not sure if this step is necessary or not, as this is how I have done it for as long as I can remember.  Another culinary decision you can make for yourself!
Worked perfectly for me...here are the foamy egg whites...

...TA DA, beautiful stiff egg whites!

It seemed there was not enough topping to spread it over each part of the dough (can't imagine it being enough if using the bigger pan), and...
...I thought I was making a meringue type topping, so as I spread it out, I made cute little peaks all around.
Then I sprinkled the pecans on top.  Here is where my culinary creativity comes into play...I said to myself, "self, wouldn't a little sprinkling of raw sugar over these pecans add just a touch of sweet crystally goodness to these bars?", and so I did just that, sprinkled a little raw can sugar all around the top. 

I put them in the oven at 300 degrees.  At 40 minutes, I thought they could still brown a little more and so I put them in for another 5 as the recipe indicates.  And then onto a cooling rack for 10 minutes.

I was surprised by what they looked like, because I had anticipated the topping would look more like meringue (maybe I did get yolked), but as I looked more closely at the edges where the topping didn't get all the way to the edge, I could see that the meringue was there.  Then I figured I should not have put it back in the oven for those extra 5 minutes...
I sliced the bars and then lifted them out of the pan with the tin foil and put them on another wire rack to cool completely (a side benefit to using tin foil on the cookie sheet).  
After tasting them, I would suggest 40 minutes is sufficient...the edges did get crispy like a cookie rather than a chewy bar...but they are still a tasty treat!

Yummy Chewy Pecan-Cinnamon Bars.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we are (Mountain Man tasted one and had to go back for more!).

PS...it's still raining.  And warm. 

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,


Christine said...

Good Lord girl! I'm drooling at the sight of these lucious goodies. I've got to lose some pounds before I get anymore sweets. The holidays were not kind to my waistline and now only 2 pairs of my jeans will actually zip up all the way. Alas the grandbaby & I will be taking lots of long walks with the stroller! Enjoy your weekend!

Lise said...

Isn't it a bummer that our waste lines have a tendency to grow over the holidays? Walks are a great way to combat those extra calories, especially with a sweet little grandbaby to stroll with:)

Dad/Pepere said...

Freeze two pieces for Donald and me! Hugs.

Lise said...

I'll do better than that, I'll make some for you fresh. I do believe they are one of, if not my favorite cookies!