This was one of the LA Times' Top 10 recipes of the year. As soon as I saw the article I was salivating. Then, in an almost eerie confluence of events*, I happened to find myself with:
a) Stacks and stacks of extra homemade graham crackers
b) An obligation to provide dessert for a cocktail party at school**
c) Enough willpower not to dump the completely inferior Nanaimo Bars*** off at the party and instead eat every single one of these myself****.
Julienne's***** Graham Cracker Bars
Rich and chewy, deeply toffee flavored, with an amazing crunchy crust.
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. flour
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
Heat the oven to 350. Using a hand or stand mixer, blend the crumbs, sugar, salt and flour together, and then add the butter, mixing until moist and well blended. Press the mixture firmly and evenly over the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Topping and assembly
2 1/2 c. brown sugar
4 extra large eggs
2/3 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 Tbs. butter, melted
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. pecans, chopped
powdered sugar, for garnish
While the crust is baking, in a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, eggs and butter to blend. Add in the vanilla, salt, and baking powder and continue whisking until well blended. Stir in the pecans. Spread the mixture over the prepared crust, and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is dark-golden on top and jiggles slightly when tapped, about 20-25 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely. Sprinkle cooled bars with a light dusting of powdered sugar, then cut into squares and serve. The bars can be made 1 day ahead and stored in an air tight container at room temperature.
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* That fortune cookie was spookily on the money.
** You gotta love an elementary school that throws a cocktail party for a visiting accreditation committee. Shameless!
*** Didn't I say you should stay tuned? It was in the footnotes.
**** I only ate three right away, but I did keep all the little edge bits as a stash for later.
***** I have never visited, but this is a restaurant in San Marino which is now a "must go" outing for the Foodie Girls on the basis of this recipe alone. As soon as I bit into my first bar, I immediately ordered the cookbook. If the number of pages I tagged to try are any indication, this one will be firmly ensconced on my cookshelf in no time.