As soon as I saw this recipe I thought..."these are perfect for my blog, and my mouth". Since I myself have always had a butter obsession, to the point where I drool thinking about eating entire sticks of butter, I thought, a recipe with nine (yes I said nine) sticks of butter sounded too crazy not to make. But when making a dessert, I don't believe in cutting back. I like making desserts that are as amazing as can be, whether with a ton of butter, or without. These just happen to be with, and take a lot of work, money and ingredients, but are worth it.
This pan of bars can be cut into one inch pieces, as they are very rich (due to all of the butter and honey in the pecan mixture). I made mine larger, but they can easily be cut after refrigerated at any time. They can easily be put into tins to give as a gift. I am giving mine to some family for a housewarming party tomorrow. I separated two rows of them with parchment paper.
At first I thought that lemon and orange zest were unnecessary, but once I added them as the recipe described, I realized they added a bit more flavor to the pecan topping and wouldn't skip out on them.
This recipe says not to let the filling go underneath the crust, but it's kind of difficult if you use a baking sheet as I did. You see, the baking sheet was too small to begin with, by (covers eyes) two inches, and the sides were not quite one inch in height, so it was difficult to work with. You MUST put something under the pan in the oven, because there is a lot of drippage over the sides.
This was after I put a lot of them in a tin for a gift. Yes, there are a lot of these, and they are very rich! A tip I would give, this shortbread recipe on the bottom of these bars isn't my favorite. I would use salted butter instead of unsalted and more sugar than the recipe calls for.
Adapted from Ina Garten
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 sticks salted butter, room temerature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup good honey
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
For the crust
Beat the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18 by 12 by 1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. It will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool.
For the topping
Combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and zests in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream and pecans. Pour over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve.