Christmas is just seven days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!
For me, nothing is more New England than real maple syrup so when I’m longing for home this holiday season, this is one of my go-to recipes. 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