10 ounces unsalted butter, divided
1⅓ cup light brown sugar, divided
2 cups flour
9 ounces (2½ cups) pecan halves
The directions sound overly detailed, but they come out just as promised.
Adjust a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350° F. Prepare a 9- by 13- by 2-inch pan as follows. Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Turn the pan upside down, and, with your hands, press down on the sides and corners to shape the foil to fit the pan. Remove the foil. Run a bit of tap water into the pan to moisten the inner bottom surface. Pour out all but about a tablespoon of the water (the water pan helps to hold the foil in place). Then place the foil in the pan and press it against the bottom and sides. Do not butter the foil.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat until smooth
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar, being sure to press it down to fill the measure
and beat to mix. Add
- 2 cups sifted unbleached flour
and beat for a minute or two, until the ingredients form tiny crumbs that will hold together when you press the mixture between your fingers.
Turn the mixture into the prepared pan. With your fingertips spread the mixture to form alevel layer. Then, with your fingertips and with the palm of your hand, press down firmly on the mixture to form a compact layer.
- 2½ cups pecan halves
touching each other – flat sides down – all in the same direction, to cover the bottom layer. Line them up neatly, but keep them touching (as in the photo). Let stand while you prepare the topping.
In a one-quart saucepan, place
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed down
Stir over high heat with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a hard boil all over the surface. Continue to stir over the heat for 30 seconds longer.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot mixture all over the pecans, trying to coat the entire surface. You need to drizzle it all over the pan slowly rather than attempting to dump it in one spot and spread it out with a knife or spoon. The latter technique will not work; trust me.
Bake for 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand until cool.
Refrigerate for an hour or more. Then cover the pan with a cookie sheet. Turn the pan and cookie sheet upside down. Remove the pan and peel off the foil. Turn the cold and firm cake right side up on a cutting board.
First mark the cake into quarters using a ruler and toothpicks. Then, with a long, heavy, sharp knife cut the cake into quarters. Then cut each piece in half, cutting through the long sides. Finally, cut each piece into four strips. (We suggest you cut into much smaller pieces, they’re very rich.)
Wrap the bars individually in clear cellophane or place them in an airtight container with wax paper between the layers. You can also place them on a serving tray and cover with plastic wrap. We use wax paper to separate layers in an airtight container and freeze. Defrost overnight. These must come to room temperature before serving.
Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of Great Cookies.