Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Handle with Care

These are The Traveling Wilburys.  They contain George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison.

These are The Traveling Cookies.  They contain butter, sugar and pecans.

As long as you pack them well, they're good to go pretty much anywhere by USPS, and arrive as delicious as the day they left.  No special handling required.

Plus, unlike the Wilburys, they'll definitely stay together*.

Maple Pecan Pie Bars
Maple Pecan Pie Bars
by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes total
I made and sent these out** as emissaries in my second year participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap***.  I'd been challenged to make them by a friend a work who swears by the Maple Pecan Bars from Corner Bakery.  I mushed up recipes from a post on JustaTaste and an old clipping from Karo Corn Syrup.  The end result was awfully close to what my friend was craving, and exactly like a great pecan pie in a bar. 

For the crust:
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, cold, cut into pieces
For the filling:
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
  • 1/3 c. dark corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 c. chopped toasted pecans

For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350. Line a 10x15 baking sheet with foil, allowing some to come up and over the edges on all sides. You might need two pieces of foil for this. Spray foil lightly with baking spray, and set the tray aside.

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. With the machine running, add the butter pieces and continue to process until mixture resembles very fine, moist crumbs. It won't come together in the processor.

Turn the crumbs out onto the prepared baking sheet, and use your hands to gently press into a smooth, even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, until light golden brown.

While the crust is baking, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and maple syrup in a saucepan. Place over medium heat, and stir constantly until butter has melted and mixture is completely combined and smooth. Allow to cook for one more minute, then remove from the heat.

Whisk the eggs, cream, vanilla and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in about 1/4 c. of the warm sugar mixture. Add another 1/4 cup, whisking constantly.  Then, slowly stir the egg mixture back into the sugar mixture in the saucepan. When completely combined, stir in the pecans.

Pour the pecan mixture over the prepared crust. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until pecan mixture is bubbling.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Lift foil to get the cookies out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve. The bars will keep nicely in an airtight container.

* The Wilburys never actually broke up.  The group was hit hard when two of its founding members, George Harrison and Roy Orbison, passed away.  I have it on good authority that the remaining members still very much consider themselves Wilburys.
** I also sent these out.  They are a lovely melt-in-your-mouth version of Mexican Wedding Cakes, without nuts, inspired by this photo on Pintrest. Personally, I thought the Pecan Pie Bars were even better.

Cinnamon Dusted Melting Moments

Sift together 1/2 c. cornstarch, 1/2 c. powdered sugar and 1 c. flour in a large mixing bowl.  Add a pinch of salt, then stir in 3/4 c. melted butter and 1 tsp. vanilla, and mix until you have a firm cookie dough.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board, and divide into two pieces.  Shape each piece into a log about an inch in diameter, then wrap in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate until firm.  

Take the logs out, and gently push down so one side of the log is flat and the rest is rounded.  Carefully cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick.  

Bake at 350 for 10-11 minutes, until edges and top are just barely starting to turn brown.   Mix 1 c. powdered sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon together, then spread half of the mixture on another large baking sheet.  Transfer the warm cookies to the sheet with the sugar, then dust the tops with the remaining sugar mixture.  Cool and enjoy!

Click to Print this recipe!

*** I received festive frosted treats from Eat.Drink.Cleveland, perfect soft and chewy spice cookies from KelllyandAustin, and decadent chocolate surprise cookies (mini marshmallows!!) from Babcakes.  I so need to start juicing again...

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013


  1. I love your maple pecan pie bars. And what a great idea to ship them in mason jars.

    1. Thanks, Judy! The jars were actually empty Talenti Gelato containers. They were light but sturdy, looked cool, and fit a dozen cookies perfectly. :)

  2. These look really great! I'm so glad you stopped by my blog so I could see who got my cookies. I hope you like them and they didn't arrive as crumbs!! Looking forward to see what else you are cooking :)

  3. These Pecan Bars are so good, I would take them in lieu of compensation! and I have... still worth it!

    1. You are just trying to get out of the dog house for interrupting a very important meeting to forage for these in the fridge. But I forgive you. :)