If you’re from New England, the arrival of spring means it is maple syrup season. And despite a rather disheartening study that was recently published in the Washington Post, I for one prefer real maple. Whether it be poured over pancakes and waffles, eaten as candy or used in cooking, I love the taste of maple syrup. So if you are one of the Americans–or other internationals–who buck the trend of preferring real maple syrup over maple flavored corn syrup why not try this recipe for maple pecan shortbread bars?
The recipe is adapted from Cuisine At Home and brings together the rich buttery flavor of shortbread with toasty pecans and of course, maple syrup. With its sweet and nut filled filling, these bars are reminiscent of a maple flavored pecan pie. If you prefer and it is readily available, feel free to substitute maple sugar for either or both of the brown sugars. You can also use toasted walnuts instead of pecans. Regardless of which nut or sugar you use, be sure to use real maple syrup in the filling. Anything else is simply not acceptable. So bake up a batch of these tasty bars today and celebrate the start of a new season.
MAPLE PECAN SHORTBREAD BARS
For the crust:
12 sticks unsalted butter plus more for the pan, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:
1 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly coat an 8 inch square baking pan with softened butter; line the pan with parchment paper then coat the pan, sides and parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. Dust the pan with flour, shake out the excess then set aside.
- To make the crust, using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the flour and salt and mix until completely incorporated.
- Press the dough into the prepared pan making sure the crust reaches the corners.
- Chill the pan in the refrigerator for 1/2 an hour.
- Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
- To make the filling, using an electric mixer, beat the syrup, sugar, eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt in a medium sized bowl until frothy.
- Stir in the nuts until combined.
- Pour the filling over the crust and bake until brown and set, 35-40 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and corners of the pan to loosen the bars.
- Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Yields: 9 bars