Monday, August 16, 2010

Altruistic Baking

We went to a friend's house for a BBQ last weekend.  It was close to his birthday, so it was a 'quasi birthday party'.  I remembered (hopefully correctly) that he is a pecan lover, so I decided to find a pecan recipe to make and bring. What can I say??  I'm a giver like that.  I'll leave off the fact that I had a big bag of pecans in my pantry that I needed to use.  They were lovely, by the way.

So, I found the following recipe in my pink "Better Homes & Gardens" cookbook.  By the way, I strongly suggest this one if you can find it.  I've not had a stinker of a recipe out of it yet!

Chocolate-Caramel Bars

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 c. coarsely chopped pecans
1 c. flaked coconut
1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
20 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
2 TBSP milk
1 c. milk chocolate pieces or semisweet chocolate pieces

1. For crust, in a medium bowl stir together the flour and brown sugar.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Press crumb mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350 oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle pecans and coconut over hot crust.

2. For filling, combine sweetened condensed milk and vanilla; pour over pecans and coconut.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or until the filling is set.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine caramels and milk.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat just until caramels melt.  Drizzle caramel mixture over filling.  Sprinkle with chocolate pieces.  Cool completely.  Cut into bars.

Yes, my friends, these bars are as good as they look.  The crust is a brown sugar shortbread.  I used chocolate chips melted on the top, and I used a spatula to spread it and make a layer of chocolate.

It's a good thing I brought them to someone else's house.  I do not think I'd have been able to stay out of the pan.  You could mix and match the nuts and chocolate type, based on your preference, or what's in the pantry.

This one's a keeper for SURE!

On to the next baking adventure........

xo, Shell

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