Salted Chocolate Pecan Bars
SHORTBREAD CRUST – INGREDIENTS:
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter – at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
SHORTBREAD CRUST – DIRECTIONS:
1.) Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and place on the middle rack of the oven. Toast for 7-8 minutes until the pecans give off a nutty aroma and have browned slightly. Set aside to cool
2.) Line a 9” x 13” cake pan with parchment paper, with an overhang on all sides.
3.) Whisk together flour and salt.
4.) With the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until super light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until blended. Be sure to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. It should still be crumbly.
5.) Transfer the crumbly dough into the lined cake pan and lightly press the dough into an even base layer.
6.) Bake for 28-30 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the top is firm to the touch. Set aside to cool.
PECAN FILLING – INGREDIENTS:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. fine sea salt
6 large EGGS
1 ½ cups dark chocolate chips
3 cups whole pecans – lightly toasted
1-2 Tbsp. sea salt flakes
PECAN FILLING – DIRECTIONS:
1.) Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla and salt. Allow the mixture to cool, then add the eggs and whisk until smooth. (Do not add the eggs while the filling is hot or they will begin to cook.)
2.) Layer the chocolate chips onto the baked shortbread crust, then layer the pecans on top. Carefully and evenly pour the filling over the top. Bake for another 24-28 minutes until the filling has set. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt flakes.
3. Allow to cool completely in the pan for at least 2 hours until the bars have set. Once cooled to room temperature, use the parchment paper to gently lift the entire slab out of the pan, then slice into a 6 x 4 grid to make 24 total squares and serve.
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