So...it's less than 24 hours till the big day and all that time you thought you'd have to throw together a traditional pecan pie is nowhere to be found. You've got the ingredients in the house but the thought of making pie dough, rolling it out, crimping it, blind-baking it and making the filling is just too much to bear. Well no worries, because these Easy Sticky Maple Nut Bars are practically as good as any pecan pie I've ever tasted and they come together in about 1/3 of the time. Definitely doable last minute!! And that my friends is something to be thankful for indeed!!
Rich, buttery and packed with both toasted pecans and walnuts, these bars are like miniature pecan pies. People will go wild for them! There's just something about the irresistibility of sticky nutty sweet things, right? They're totally my diet downfall!! Thankfully (or sadly, depending on how you look at it) these don't yield a huge amount, so you won't be left with a pile of high-calorie treats screaming out to you every time you pass the kitchen. But while they are around--watch out!!
You start by making a simple shortbread-like crust, which you then cover with an equally simple double nut maple syrup concoction. And then all you do is pop it into the oven for about 8 minutes (I told you it was easy!!)
What emerges are sticky, nutty, chewy, buttery bars that just can't be beat both for their amazing taste and for the ease at which they come together!!
So...our boys are both home from school so I am going to take advantage of that rarity and "digitally detox" (as they say in my daughter's school) and not post anything more until next week when we will hurtle into the holiday season!! Meanwhile have a happy, healthy, safe and delicious Thanksgiving!!
Easy Sticky Maple Nut Bars
Makes 16 bars
Prep Time for Crust: 5 minutes; Bake Time for Crust: 25 minutes; Prep Time for Filling: 5 minutes; Bake Time for Filling: 8 minutes
For the Crust
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk
For the Filling
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and butter an 8x8-inch square metal pan. Set aside.
2. To make the crust: Place the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk and milk together. Drizzle the mixture into the flour/butter mixture in the food processor bowl and pulse just until the dough clumps together but is still dry. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a regular electric mixer or mix it all together by hand--just don't overmix.
3. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press the crumbs onto the bottom and halfway up the sides. Bake for 25 minutes, until the crust is set and pale golden. Transfer to a rack and cool but leave the oven on.
4. To make the filling: Place the maple syrup, brown sugar, cream and butter into a heavy medium pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the nuts and vanilla. Pour the filling over the cooled crust, spreading the nuts out evenly and bake for about 8 minutes, until the filling is very bubbly.
5. Let cool on a wire rack until completely cool. Then, cut into bars and serve. This can be made one day ahead and left uncut. Then cut and store at room temperature.
Note: Recipe adapted from the Epicurious Cookbook by Tanya Wenman Steel.