Well… it began with those toasted pecans.
And then an innocent bubbling of ooey gooey caramel sauce.
And really, we could have stopped there. Called it a day.
But then there was silky dark chocolate.
And I sighed, deeply. Deeply.
And then there were flakes of coconut.
And again, we could have been just peachy at that very moment.
But then there was that one, chilly and lonesome round of flaky, all butter pie pastry.
And my heart smiled, winked, and whispered to my cholesterol, C’mon.
But then there was the way the very tops of these squares formed a whisper-thin crackle of a crisp. The way they shattered at the very hint of a bite, like brulee.
And there was that convenience thing, too. The fact that slicing them into squares just begs for an upturned, empty palm.
Oh…and there was sweetened whipped cream, too. Stiff white peaks on alert just in case my heart needed to be jolted back to beating.
And it did.
And it still does.
These squares are divine.
German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
First, we’ll make the crust. Every time I make a recipe that requires me to use pie pastry, I double it and wrap the extra dough tightly in plastic wrap, followed by foil, then freeze it for a rainy day when I’ll need pie crust again (which, for me living in Seattle, happens quite frequently). This is so handy, since no one wants to make pie pastry every time they need it. You can also just use store-bought pie crust, but if you do, please use Pillsbury Just Unroll! dough from the refrigerated biscuit section of the grocery store. It’s by far the best of the pre-made varieties.
Ok, so first you should preheat the oven to 400°F. Now, roll your pie dough into a 1/4″ thickness and place it inside a 9″ square baking pan. You just want to cover the bottom, so feel free to fold it over, press it down, and place extra scraps into the corners. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Prick the dough with a fork a few times and bake for about 20 minutes, or until beginning to turn golden in color.
Pour a half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips over the crust and allow them to melt. As they melt, spread them gently with a spatula.
While the crust bakes, you can make filling.
In a medium bowl, whisk one egg. Set aside.
Now, in a small pan, whisk the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat until the mixture melts and becomes silky smooth.
Slowly drizzle this caramel mixture into the bowl with the beaten egg, whisking constantly. This is what’s called “tempering” the egg. You add the hot mixture slowly, while stirring, so that the egg doesn’t begin cooking from the heat of it. The egg acts as a thickening agent here.
Stir in the coconut and pecans until well combined. Pour the whole mixture over the crust, spreading it into an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the center seems set. Cool completely before slicing. As is the case with all pecan pies, they must must must cool to room temperature and sit for a while to solidify. Otherwise, you will be left with gooey caramel that doesn’t hold together. I chilled mine after they had cooled to make them even easier to slice neatly.
Garnish with whipped cream.
German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
(recipe slightly adapted from Silvana Nardone)
1 9″ pie crust- homemade or store-bought (recommended: Pillsbury)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cups chopped pecan halves
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the pie dough to 1/4″ thick square; press firmly and evenly into the bottom of a 9″ square baking pan. Prick the dough with a fork a few times to prevent the dough from bubbling while baking. Bake for 20 minutes, or until beginning to turn golden in color.
Pour chocolate chips over the hot crust, allow to melt, and spread gently with a spatula.
Make the filling: Whisk the egg in a bowl. Now, in a small pan set over medium heat, melt the butter, salt, brown sugar, and corn syrup until combined and silky. Slowly drizzle this mixture into the beaten egg, whisking constantly. Add the pecans and coconut and stir. Pour onto the crust and spread it evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the center is set. Let the bars cool completely in their pan, set on top of a wire rack, before slicing. Garnish each square with whipped cream if desired.