When I was in high school, I had a friend who would make the most delicious cinnamon-sugar pecans for an after-school treat for us. We all know how I love pecans and cinnamon, so you know I adore these.
Recently, I began thinking about those pecans and how very good they are. On a whim, I thought I would incorporate them into some baking. I wanted those sweet pecans to be the star, so I added them to a simple bar that would let them shine.
The bars themselves are very straightforward and streamlined. A little less sugar and no cinnamon, as you’ll get plenty of both from the pecans.
The cinnamon-sugar pecans are very easy to make. You’re going to want to eat some of them. That’s not only permissible, it’s encouraged. If you have a little less volume to add to the bars, they’ll still be delicious. Or, just toss in a few extras when you’re making them in anticipation of generous sampling.
When the pecans cool off and are ready to be chopped, I recommend chopping them on a cutting board with a sharp knife. I routinely use a very handy nut chopper, but the manual method works better for these.
I try not to throw out these kinds of accolades very often, but I must say that these are one of my favorite bars. They’re just sweet enough and bursting with cinnamon and pecans. To me, they work as an anytime treat, from morning to evening.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add pecans, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine.
Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until pecans are toasted (about 8 minutes).
Spread pecans out in a single layer on parchment paper or aluminum foil to let them cool.
Once pecans are cool, set aside 16 pecan halves. Coarsely chop remaining pecans.
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set side.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Stir in chopped pecans.
Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Place reserved pecan halves over the top of the batter. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until edges are brown and a pick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack before cutting into bars.