Chew This! Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest column features not one but TWO delicious recipes for foolproof bar desserts! My “Pecan Pie Bars” and my “Rice Krispie Treat Brownies” are both fabulous and perfect for your Holiday table!

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature is all about my recommendation for a different cookbook when it comes to baking and different types of flour! Send me a message, call or text me – even email – with your questions and I will be happy to help! 765-520-8332 or blaisethebaker@gmail.com

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!

Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 3rd 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Dessert Bars are perfect for Holidays
Blaise Doubman

Lately I have been testing and developing recipes using the “bar” method, whereas you create some type of dough, and or filling, and bake in a large 9×13-inch pan and cut into bars once baked and cooled. You can take just about any type of cookie dough recipe and transform the cookies into “bars” by using this method, and when pressed for time, it is so much easier to spread into one pan instead of dolloping up each cookie. Same goes for cakes! People ask me all the time if you can take a recipe for a cake, calling for two 8 or 9-inch pans, and bake it instead in a 9x-13-inch pan. Yes, you can! This method of baking got me thinking about different types of pies that could be made into “bars”, as well as brownies that could be “bars, yet brownies”. Yes, this is how my mind works most of the time. Ha! The results were fantastic!

I started with the pecan pie bars. Pecan pie is my favorite pie on earth and my favorite recipe is that of a traditional, old-fashioned pecan pie that I shared with everyone several columns ago, right here! I do have a recipe in my cookbook for a “Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie” which is tasty and delightful too, but for my bar recipe I wanted to stick with traditional. I made a crust recipe, placed it into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan, baked the crust, made the filling, baked the filling, allowed it to sit awhile and chill and the results were fantastic! Better than a traditional pecan pie because transformed into “bars”, the pie suddenly becomes a portable food. Portable pecan pie, how bad could that be? When developing the Rice Krispie Treat Brownies I wanted to combine the two, brownies and the cereal treats, but could not think of a way of holding them together. Then I thought about marshmallow cream and it worked! The combination of and texture of the brownie with the crunch of the cereal treats and the marshmallow sandwiched inside really makes for something fun and different. I would recommend trying both of these desserts to serve to your family and friends at your Holiday table!

Pecan Bars and Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

Each of these dessert bars are the perfect make ahead dessert! Whip up a batch of both, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to three days. You will find that after both of these dessert bars chill they are not only easier to cut and serve, but the flavors really have a chance to come together. The Rice Krispie topping on the brownies can also be made with Cheerio cereal or Frosted Flake cereal. Each makes one 9×13-inch pan and serves about 20-25 people depending on the size of pieces cut for each. These are deliciously rich desserts!

For the Pecan Bars…
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, soft
½ cup white granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups white corn syrup
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecan pieces

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. In a large bowl beat together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and salt. Slowly stir in the white all-purpose flour and mix until it becomes a soft dough. Press the dough into the prepared pan with clean wet hands. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

To make the filling, combine the beaten eggs, white corn syrup, light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract and pecan pieces in a large bowl. Whisk this together until small bubbles appear in the mixture. Pour the filling over the warm crust and place bake into the 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes. You will know when it is done because the filling will be firm and not jiggly. Remove and allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating. Chill at least 4 hours before cutting and serving the bars. Serve alongside vanilla ice cream if desired.

For the Rice Krispie Treat Brownies…
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, soft
2 cups white granulated sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 jar (7.5 oz) Marshmallow Fluff
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups Rice Krispie cereal

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Beat in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract. Fold in the unsweetened cocoa powder, white all-purpose flour and the salt. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until the edges pull away from the pan. Once bake remove and allow to cool completely.

Once cooled, frost the top with the Marshmallow Fluff, spreading evenly along the top and sides. Place into the refrigerator while you finish making the topping.

To make the topping, combine the peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips in a large microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir until melted and glossy. If you need to microwave more, do so in 30 second intervals. Once melted and glossy, add in the Rice Krispie cereal and stir well to combine and coat all of the cereal. Remove the brownies from the refrigerator and top with the topping, spreading evenly.

Wrap with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.

Ask and Answer: Sheila Cole Dellinger would like to know what recipes or cookbook I would recommend for someone who has allergies against regular all-purpose flours. Shelia, I would recommend “Flavor Flours” By: Alice Medrich. You can find this cookbook available online and wherever books are sold. Alice is a genius in the kitchen is known for her extensive work on pastries and chocolates. Recently she has been winning awards and gaining followers for her newest venture into diverse types of flours, ranging from almond, coconut and rice flours.

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Chew This! Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie

Happy “Chew This!” Monday… Yes, my column came out yesterday in “The Courier-Times”, but the link did not post until this morning. I apologize for the inconvenience. This recipe is worth the wait though! It is my recipe for “Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie” with a secret ingredient you many not have been expecting – ground cinnamon. Try it and let me know if this pie becomes a Holiday staple at your table – like it is for mine.

Old-Fashiond Pecan Pie

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, July 17th 2016 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Traditional Pecan Pie is America’s Favorite Pie
Blaise Doubman

Did you know that pecan pie is “America’s Favorite Pie”, as determined by numerous online polls? It comes as no surprise to me, because pecan pie is one of my absolute favorite desserts of all time! I’ve had my fair share of them too! I’ve tried buttermilk pecan pie, chocolate chip pecan pie, citrus pecan pie and custard-filled pecan pie, but nothing beats the original classic that so many Americans love eating – the old-fashioned pecan pie, just like their mothers and grandmothers made. Between my Grandma Barbra, my Grandma Deloris, and myself, I’m not sure who has the biggest “sweet tooth”. It would be a close call, let me tell you. This pie has been served in my family for years and years. It wouldn’t be a pitch-in, a Holiday or any kind of event, without this classic dessert staple.

In developing this recipe, I didn’t want to stray very far from the original that I so fondly remember from my childhood. I knew that I wanted to use my Grandma Barbra’s crust recipe – my absolute favorite and “foolproof” method of making pie crust – but the filling I wanted to add in something a little special. That’s where the ground cinnamon comes in. It gives the pie a little “warmth” and really pairs nicely with the pecans and sugary filling. It isn’t overpowering, but it’s there, and adds just that perfect little something that slightly updates a classic.

Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie

Traditional pecan pie needs corn syrup, it’s just a fact. You can substitute dark corn syrup, instead of the white, but the flavor will be slightly darker, with a more pronounced flavor. I have made pecan pies before, without the corn syrup, and instead used a mixture of maple syrup, molasses and heavy cream, but the finished flavor just wasn’t anything near what I was looking for. If you find that the bake time, could still use more time for baking, please add an extra fifteen minutes to the baking time, being careful not to over bake the crust. Allowing the pie to cool to room temperature, before placing it in the refrigerator, also will help set the pie filling.

For the pie crust…
1 cup white all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
½ teaspoon salt

For the pie filling…
2 cups pecan halves
3 large eggs
1 cup white corn syrup
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the pie crust first, by combining the white all-purpose flour, solid vegetable shortening and salt in a large bowl with a fork. Stir and mash together the ingredients until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Next, add in the ice water and mix together until a dough forms.

Once the dough has been formed, form it into a ball and place on a sheet of floured parchment paper. Take another piece of floured parchment paper, place on top, and roll the dough out to the size of your pie dish using a rolling pin.

Carefully remove the parchment paper from the top and flip the dough that’s on the parchment paper, dough side down, into your pie dish.

Remove the parchment paper, and carefully smooth out the dough. If there’s an excess dough on the sides, remove. Don’t worry if part of the dough rips or tears, there’s an easy solution for that. Just wet your fingers, and press the dough back together. This is what some people know as “water glue” for your pie dough. It works every time.

Once the dough is in the pie pan, using a fork, poke holes all over the bottom crust.

Place this in the preheated oven for exactly 27 minutes, then remove and cool slightly.

To make the pie filling, whisk together the large eggs, white corn syrup, brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, melted butter, salt and ground cinnamon.

Place the halved pecans inside the slightly warm pie shell evenly.

Pour the whisked mixture evenly over the pecans.

Take a large baking sheet, and place a piece of parchment paper on it. Then take the pie pan, placing it on the parchment lined baking sheet. This will prevent any pie overflow from going onto the floor of your oven.

Place in preheated oven for 50 minutes.

If you notice the pie browning quickly, tent the pie, or just the crust, with aluminum foil.

Once finished baking, remove and allow to cool. Refrigerate and serve. Store refrigerated.

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