Spicy Sweet Southern Squares

November  9, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 15-20 depending on size of bars.
Author Notes

Pecan Pie is my absolute favorite dessert. I created a bar version a couple of years ago that I think is easier to eat and travel with, and it looks a lot better. It's a rehash of many different Pecan Pie recipes I've used over the years, plus my own addition of cayenne and black pepper. My one big tip is to use a Food Processor to chop the pecans. You need to get two distinct textures, extra fine, and rough chop. Also, feel free to adjust the cayenne and black pepper amounts to your liking. The amount I suggest adds just enough to make it interesting. —Abduffy

What You'll Need
  • Crust
  • 1 cup Whole Pecans
  • 2 cups Crumbs from crushed Ginger Snap Cookies
  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter Melted
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Crumbs from crushed Graham Crackers
  • 2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  • Filling and Topping
  • 2 1/2 cups Whole Pecans
  • 1 teaspoon Canola or other light flavored oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Finely Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 Sticks of Unslated Butter Melted
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon (I like Maker's Mark)
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 cup Bitterweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 teaspoon Shortening
  • 1/4 cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 teaspoon Shortening
  1. Crust
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  3. Grease bottom and sides and put parchment paper on bottom of 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet
  4. Roast Pecans in oven until browned and nutty smelling (approx. 8 minutes.), stirring once halfway through roasting.
  5. Place roasted and cooled Pecans in food processor and grind until very fine crumb like texture.
  6. Combine processed Pecans in bowl with Ginger Snap crumbs, butter, and salt. Mix Pecan mixture until combined with fork.
  7. In separate bowl, combine Graham Cracker crumbs with brown sugar and stir.
  8. Press Pecan mixture into bottom of baking sheet.
  9. Sprinkle Graham Cracker mixture on top of Pecan mixture.
  10. Bake in oven for 15 minutes, or until crumb mixture starts to brown.
  1. Filling and Topping
  2. In large bowl combine Pecans with oil, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
  3. Roast Pecan mixture on separate baking sheet until browned and nutty smelling (approx. 8 minutes.), stirring once halfway through roasting. Once cooled, reserve 1/2 cup of whole nuts and chop into halves.
  4. Chop remaining Pecan mixture in food processor until they resemble a granola like texture. Set aside.
  5. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
  6. In large bowl combine the brown sugar and corn syrup, beat with stand mixer on high until soupy consistency. Set aside.
  7. In another bowl combine melted butter, salt, vanilla, cornstarch, and bourbon. Mix together with spoon and set aside.
  8. In another bowl beat eggs at highest speed in stand mixer for approximately 5 minutes. It should be foamy and bright yellow in color. Set aside.
  9. Put sugar mixture into eggs and beat on high for an additional 2 minutes.
  10. Put butter mixture into egg/sugar mixture and beat on high for an additional 2 minutes.
  11. Place 1 cup of the chopped nut mixture on top of your pre-baked crust.
  12. Top the nut mixture with the 1 cup of bittersweet chips.
  13. Pour liquid mixture onto the chocolate and nuts mixture.
  14. Top this off with the remaining cup of chopped nut mixture. Let sit for about 1 min so the chopped nuts will settle.
  15. Top the finished mixture off with the remaining whole nut halves.
  16. Place in preheated oven in center rack for 10 minutes.
  17. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for 30-40 minutes. It will jiggle slightly in the middle but will be firm everywhere else.
  18. While the squares cool, combine remaining bittersweet chips with 1 teaspoon of shortening in microwave safe bowl and set aside. Combine white chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of shortening in microwave safe bowl and set aside. Top both bowls with plastic wrap and cut slit in center.
  19. Microwave both bowls at 50% power for 1 minute and remove. Stir both with fork and place in microwave for an additional 30 seconds and stir. Both bowl mixtures should be soupy in consistency.
  20. Drizzle both chocolates over cooled bars and let sit until chocolate solidifies.
  21. Cut bars as large or as small as you would like. I prefer 3 x 3 inch pieces.

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