Monday, 7 December 2009

Caramel Pecan Bars

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If you saw my last post you would know that there is sickness in my household and unfortunately I have not managed to escape it. I think I was able to halt the severity of the infection with my soup but I still managed to come down with it a little. I have another problem too - cooking and eating are two of my passions and I would probably have to be on my death bed to stay out of the kitchen. So knowing that I’m not terribly well but still had this urge to cook something I attempted these Caramel Pecan Bars (from Vegan Cookies Invade). This is a fairly easy recipe and the results are fantastic. It results in a thick chewy caramel with yummy pecans stirred through it on a lovely biscuit base with a hint of cinnamon. These are awesome and well worth the 20 minutes of effort (not including baking and cooling time).
Crust
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Large pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup non-hydrogenated margarine, slightly softened
Topping
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (soy, rice, almond, etc.)
  • 1½ cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons melted non hydrogenated margarine
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with aluminium foil, making sure the foil completely covers the sides of the pan, with about 2 inches folded outside over the edges. Spray the bottom and sides of the pan generously with non-stick cooking spray
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry cutter or two knives held together to cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pour crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press down evenly and very firmly, making sure to press the mixture all the way to the edges of the pan.
Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes until very firm and very lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and non-dairy milk until foamy.
Stir in the dark brown sugar, brown rice syrup, melted margarine, vanilla and salt, until smooth.
Fold in the pecans and pour the mixture onto the crust, using a spatula to spread the topping evenly.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is rapidly bubbling. Place the pain on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes; then move it to the refrigerator to finish cooling and setting. Chill for at least two hours, or, even better, overnight.
To slide completely cooled bars, grab hold of the foil and carefully lift the whole thing out of the pan and onto a heavy cutting board.
Peel away the foil and cut bars with a heavy, sharp knife.
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This recipe comes from:

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats
by Terry Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Recipe can be found at The Daily Green.