Glossy pecan toffee bars – because the Holidays are for indulging

 

Glossy pecan toffee bars are a Holiday indulgence. A buttery toffee thick with pecans layered on a barely-sweet shortbread base. They’re gorgeous but not over the top. They’re festive and beyond delicious.

All that to say: they suit the fun and festivities of the Holiday season in both looks and taste.

Glossy pecan toffee bars

I can’t believe that I was going to drizzle these bars with melted white chocolate.

I would have, but the white chocolate seized in the pan when I was melting it, so was eaten by my kids instead.

The toffee-coated pecans are so glossy and pretty on their own who would want to cover them?

They are rich and sweet — one iota more of anything might make you forget about the pecans and toffee, and that would be a shame.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. She dips each square in dark chocolate and if your body can tolerate that extra layer of sweet, then go for it.

Glossy pecan toffee bars

Glossy pecan toffee bars

Adapted from Ina Garten

Base:

  • 1 cup + 4 Tbs. butter, softened
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt

 Topping

  • 1 cup butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 lb. pecan halves

 To make the crust:

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt and stir into the creamed mixture. Stir just until combined.
  3. Press into a 9”x13” pan that has been lined with parchment paper. (Ensure that the parchment goes up the sides too).
  4. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. The base will be set, but this will bake again once the topping is added so don’t worry.
  5. Leave the oven on.

To make the topping & complete the bars:

  1. Combine butter, brown sugar and molasses in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Stir to combine as the butter melts. Raise the temperature to medium and bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes then remove from heat, stir in the heavy cream and pecans.
  2. Combine well with a rubber spatula then carefully pour, scrape and spread over the baked crust.
  3. Return to the oven for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting.

 

Are you a fan of pecans? Try our Pecan Pie Bars. They’re crazy delicious.

Pecan pie squares

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top left hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

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Almond butter cereal bars a tasty remake of the 1970s classic

Almond butter cereal bars

Remember cereal bars from the 1970s?

My mom made them all the time. She was forever on the lookout for big batch sweets because there were seven of us kids rushing in the door after school each day, famished and ready to devour anything on the counter.

Almond butter cereal bars

Mom used to buy these huge bags of puffed wheat cereal that were about half the size of our dishwasher.

I swear they took up a full seat in the car coming home from the grocery store.

I wasn’t much for eating puffed wheat or puffed rice with milk (too much floating and the sugar wouldn’t stick) but I loved the big batch cereal bars. A little chewy, they always seemed to last longer than a cookie and mom cut them into nice big squares.

It was likely cereal squares that I made to get my “Baker” badge in Brownies. They’re that easy. Just melt a few ingredients together in a big pot, stir in the cereal and press them into a pan. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool.

baker

The only hitch with mom’s recipe is that they used to stick together in the tin. A thin coating of dark chocolate on the top mostly takes care if that and it dresses them up a bit.

(Did you get your “Baker” badge in Brownies?)

 

There are so many kinds of puffed cereal available these days that you can make a different kind of cereal bar every week, if you like. Here’s a chewy gluten-free version with puffed millet:

Gluten free almond butter cereal bars with puffed millet

 

 

Almond butter cereal bars

Inspired by Aida Mollenkamp and my mom

  • 10 Tbsp. almond butter (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1/3 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 3 ½ cups puffed kamut, rice,  millet or quinoa
  • ½ cup (heaping) of dark chocolate pieces (chocolate chips or 70% bar broken into pieces)
  1. Like an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper or grease it well.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat combine the almond butter, molasses and honey or maple syrup.
  3. Stir until it comes to a gentle boil.
  4. Let it bubble for 30 seconds to a minute then add the vanilla, salt and pour in the cereal.
  5. Stir well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Scrape the mixture into the prepared plan.
  6. Press lightly to spread and flatten.
  7. While they’re cooling on the counter, melt the chocolate in a heavy pot, in the microwave or in a double boiler.
  8. Spread melted chocolate over top of the squares and refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
  9. Cut into squares.

Best eaten within two days.

Do you prefer your cereal squares crispy? Try our Crispy almond butter granola bars

crispy granola bars 2

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top left hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Here’s to eating well, everyday,

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