Pecan and Honey Bars

honey walnut bars

Cookie bars are the perfect accompaniment to either an intimate gathering or with your afternoon cup of tea.  Crisp on the bottom and gooey on top, they’re decadent and delicious.  I love to pair these with a cup of our Ambrosia brew.

Ingredients:

Shortbread:

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Pecan Caramel:

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup pecan halves plus 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Make the Shortbread:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper, allowing 1″ overhanging on the long sides.  In the bowl of a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment), mix the butter with the flour, sugar and salt at medium speed until a crumbly dough forms (it takes about 5-6 minutes).  Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Bake the shortbread 25 minutes until golden brown.  You will have to rotate the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking.  Place on a baking rack to cool completely.

Make the Pecan Caramel:

In a medium saucepan melt butter over moderate heat.  Whisk in the honey, both sugars, salts and the vanilla.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel reaches 220F on a candy thermometer (2 -3 minutes).  Carefully add the cream and cook until the mixture reaches 238F (3 – 4 minutes).  Stir in all the pecans and cook until fragrant, toasty, and slightly thickened (additional 5 minutes).

Pour the pecan caramel over the shortbread and let cool completely.  Lift onto a cutting board using the parchment paper.  Cut into bars and serve.

These can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 5 days.

 

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