Maple Pecan Squares

A few Christmases ago, I received the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book as a gift. There are tons of yummy-looking recipes inside. I have yet to make more than a handful of them, but they’ve all been delicious so far.

I had been looking for a recipe to make that I could package as a gift. I already had an assortment of cookies and wanted one non-cookie item. My husband suggested pecan pie, because he LOVES it and was just trying to get me to make it for him, but I remembered seeing this recipe in the book and thought I’d give it a try. It was a hit and has become a new family favorite.

 

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (cut into 3/4 in. pieces)

For filling:

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, letting it extend up the sides and over the edges. Coat it with butter. I’ve also used rectangular pans, just add a few more minutes of baking time.

Using a food processor combine the flour, brown sugar and salt. Pulse a couple times to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas.

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake the crust until the edges are lightly browned and the top feels firm when lightly touched (about 12-17 minutes). Set it aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, maple syrup and brown sugar, stirring together until the butter melts and the brown sugar dissolves. Bring it to a boil for one minute. Remove it from the heat and immediately stir in the cream.

Then stir in the pecans.

Pour the hot filling over the partially baked crust, spreading it evenly to the edges with a spatula or  “spoonula” (as Rachael Ray calls them).

Bake until the filling is set when you give the pan a gentle shake (about 22-25 minutes). Note that during baking, the filling will bubble A LOT, and it’ll start to simmer toward the end of baking. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until firm. At a minimum, let cool an hour and a half, but I try to let it cool overnight which makes it MUCH easier to cut without it breaking apart.

Carefully lift the whole square out of the pan by the foil.

Run a small knife around the edges to loosen it. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 25 small squares. I’ve found it’s best to use a non-serrated knife and to apply direct, evenly distributed pressure from above, NOT holding the blade at an angle. At first I thought that the pieces were too small, but these are very rich so it’s best in small doses; but you can, of course, make them as large or small as you’d like.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Enjoy!

Guest Mama Debbie is the mother of one adorable daughter, A. She’s a full time working mom who tries to squeeze in as much quality time as possible. She loves all things food related, to take long drives alone, read when she gets the chance, and to relax at the end of the night with her husband on the couch.

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