These bar cookies rank as just about the best, richest, and most special I have ever tasted, which says a lot considering they don't have any chocolate. The original recipe comes from a magazine which I'm sorry I can't identify, because I have only a photocopy of the magazine page. It's of recent vintage, less than five years old. The magazine in turn credits "the Mountain Home Lodge in Washington state" for coming up with the bars.
These treats, basically a shortbread crust topped with pecan pie filling plus pecans and dried fruits, will be very sweet if you follow the recipe exactly. Sugar is called for in the crust, and sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla in the custard. You might hold back on the last 1/4 cup or so of one of those sweeteners, or skimp a bit on the vanilla. Also, the original recipe asks for only one-third cup of dried fruits, which seems not nearly enough; I used a full (6 oz., I believe) bag of tart cherries and half a bag of cranberries.
The bars are rich and delicious, and -- again, in the original recipe -- only deceptively difficult to make. Never mind all the folderol about lining your pan with tin foil and then greasing that, and lifting the bars out of the pan with the foil. Lightly butter a 15 x 10 x 1 jelly roll pan,and then pile the shortbread dough into it and pat it out flat.
Northwest pecan treats
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 and 1/4 cups dark corn syrup
- 1 (and 1/4) cups sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 Tbsp melted butter
- 2 and 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
- 1 bag dried tart cherries
- 1/2 bag dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, two knives, or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse meal or small peas. (It should start to feel rich but not greasy to your hands). Pat it into a greased jelly roll pan, and bake it for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the same bowl, combine the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. When the crust has prebaked, sprinkle the pecans and then the dried fruits over it and spread them out evenly.
Pour the custard slowly over all. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set.