We don’t get a lot of Halloween candy here in Bangkok. It’s something I’m really okay with…especially if it gives me an excuse to make some other festive fall dessert.
For the first time ever, Frank and I had ourselves a faux Thanksgiving. It was really just an excuse to make some of our favorite turkey-day dishes without the pressure of the actual holiday. Minus the turkey (because roasting a full turkey scares me). I did a few pieces of lemon chicken a la the Silver Palate cookbook instead.
Frank made enough mashed potatoes for days.
I made sweet potatoes, an impromptu stuffing, and my favorite squash and spinach gratin. The whole thing was so festive and fun that I’m thinking we may make it an annual tradition. It made for a fun date-night in and leftovers that we were happy to have all week.
But about those Pecan Squares for dessert. Let me just tell you that they are every bit as good as one would expect from the queen of all things butter and baked goods. The crust is soft and buttery and the topping has the right amount of give while still being chewy and rich and chock full of pecans.
Sure there’s little Halloween candy here, but I’ll take one of Ina Garten’s Pecan Squares over a Tootsie Roll any day.
- 1¼ pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs
- ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ 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
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 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.