The past few days in the Denver area have been crisp, high-altitude blue skies and fiery yellows and reds as the leaves on my neighborhood trees change color and drop in piles along the sidewalks. The weather folks forecast snow by week’s end in the city, and while I dread the frigid mornings waiting for the bus downtown, fall has been fantastic by this Southern lady’s standards. And I do live a mile about sea level in the northern hemisphere, so snow and cold is kinda the protocol around these parts.
As the days turn cooler, I’m inclined to bake. Today’s recipe, Double-Layer Coconut Pecan Bars, hails from my new favorite easy baking cookbook from Food52. This is the third recipe I’ve tried from the cookbook, and I’ve been consistently impressed with its reasonable ingredients list and easy-to-follow directions. The best part? These bars are off-the-hook delicious, buttery with just the right amount of bitterness from the pecans to temper the sweetness. I brought a dozen squares to work, and my colleagues made short work of them by morning’s end. For folks who like pecan pie, these bars will help you get your pie fix with minimal effort.
Double-Layer Coconut Pecan Bars
(a Food52 Baking masterpiece recipe)
Makes 24 small bars
– 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
– 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
– 1/2 cup (40g) unsweetened shredded dried coconut
– 2 TBS all-purpose flour
– 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
– 1 cup (115g) pecans, chopped
– 1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. (I also inserted a square of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan to help with bar removal.) Set aside.
2. To make the shortbread, use an electric mixer or a wooden spoon to cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
3. Stir in the flour, beating until just combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, and press it evenly into the pan. (I also used a fork to pierce the shortbread dough to prevent it from puffing too much.)
4. Bake for 20 minutes, until the shortbread is golden brown.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, vigorously mix the eggs and sugar until well combined. Toss the coconut with the flour, and then add it to the egg mixture, along with the vanilla, pecans, and salt.
6. Spread the topping over the shortbread, and bake for 20 minutes longer, until the filling is browned on top and slightly puffed. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. (These bars lasted 24 hours, so I didn’t even refrigerate them.)