Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Bars

Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Bars from The Candid Appetite

Chocolate-Dipped Pecan Bars

From The Candid Appetite
Makes 16 medium or 32 mini bars

For the crust:
1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

For the topping:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup honey
1½ cups light brown sugar
½ tsp. grated lemon zest
½ tsp. grated orange zest
2 tsp. bourbon, optional
3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
4 cups (1 pound) chopped pecans
2 cups dark chocolate, melted (optional) for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. For the Crust: Drop the softened butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Whip on high for about 5 minutes until the butter is light and fluffy. Slowly stream in the granulated sugar and continue to cream for another 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix well. In a small bowl whisk, or sift, together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add it to the creamed butter and sugar and mix on low until just combined. Press the dough into the prepared baking dish until the crust is in an even layer. The dough will be slightly sticky so lightly sprinkle your hands with flour to help you press the dough. Bake for 15 minutes, just until the crust is set but not browned. Remove from the oven and all the crust to cool. In the meantime making the topping.
3. For the topping: Heat a large heavy-duty pot over low heat. Add the butter and melt, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon so as to not brown the butter. Stir in the honey, brown sugar, and the lemon and orange zests. Raise the heat and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes, making sure to stir constantly and carefully. Be extremely careful when mixing this caramel as it is very hot. After 3 minutes remove the pot from the heat and stir in the heavy cream, bourbon and chopped pecans. Pour the topping over the cooled crust. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator, this will make cutting the bars a lot easier. After they have chilled, cut the bars into even pieces.
5. If you are dipping the bars in the chocolate, place the dark chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Microwave the bowl in 25 second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Dip one end of each bar and place back on the parchment paper. Put the pan in the fridge for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to harden. Serve and enjoy!

Get more dessert recipes from The Candid Appetite.

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